Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Download - The True Story Of The Internet "People Power"

The turn on the 21st century brought about a new role for the internet; peer-to-peer file sharing, a.k.a. P2P. P2P came around in the late 90s abd required users to scour the internet looking for the files they desired, usually music files in the form of MP3s. This was a long process that required time, patience and a knack for navigating the internet.

That all changed when Shawn Fanning, a Northeastern student, created Napster. Napster was the first P2P file sharing program that allowed users from around the world to connect to each other and share the music that they had with others for free.

However, this made the big record labels pretty upset, and eventually a lawsuit against Napster was filed. The lawsuit from the record industry claimed that Napster was allowing for people to steal songs that belonged to the artists and record labels, and they wanted Napster shut down immediately. The world watched as the 9th Circuit Court ordered Napster to close its doors and labels the file sharing of copyrighted files illegal.

Even though the record labels won the battle over Napster, their profits are still falling and P2P file sharing is still widely used. New programs such as Limewire, Kazaa and Vuze have all succeeded each other to prove to the world that people and programmers don't care too much for what the 9th Circuit Court and the record label industry says.

My take on the matter is that in order to steal something, you must take something owned by another without permission. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stealing as: to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as a habitual or regular practice.

Since P2P file sharing is the process of copy bits of information and giving them to another person; no one has had anything stolen. The first person to share the song presumably purchased it legally and then gave a copy of it to someone else. Nothing was stolen, no one is short a product - actually a new product has been created.

The person who created the new file is the sharer or more perniciously, the computer - not the record label, nor the artists and record shop. The record labels got mad because people were tired of buying way overpriced CD's that you couldn't return when you found out the rest of the songs on the album were no good. They lost in the game of business and the internet and the people won; the court simply sided with big business (as usual). But again, despite the record labels and court decisions, file sharing is still on the rise and the music industry profits are still on the decline.

The information above was taken from Download - The True Story Of The Internet "People Power," and also from personal experience.

The Internet & People Power

The internet is increasingly all about people power. Young revolutionaries have paved the way for anyone to be a backpack journalist or an at-home producer. John Heilemann makes us aware of this in the documentary he hosts called 'Download: The True Story of the Internet'. The segment 'People Power' made me more aware of things I had heard much about earlier in the Internet's history. The other videos on how certain browsers and websites came to be were very interesting as well.
In most cases these revolutionaries didn't have to be up there with the rocket scientists, no. They just had to attend an ivy league school, have an idea that could change the course of the internet and tons of time to execute it. Shawn Fanning who created Napster said he just wanted his friends to have an easier way to download music. Before Napster came along they would have to skip their classes just to get the tracks they wanted. I don't think I ever had Napster due to all of the controversies when I was first introduced to the idea of music downloading, but I do remember having WinAmp, LimeWire, etc. After seeing all of those fail I am incredibly thankful for Macs and torrentz in general. Shawn Fanning will continue to be a legacy in the realm of music downloading, but he had a string of bad luck. Although downloading music for free can hurt the artists I still download music in hopes that I will be able to contribute to the artist by purchasing merchansdise or attending shows, but nobody wants to purchase an album and have it turn out to be a bunch of crap.
Also sites like YouTube and Digg gave people the power to not only be heard, but seen. There are so many outlets in which we have the freedom to express ourselves on the internet, through Google especially (ahem, as I write this blog post through yet another Google owned site.)

People Power

People Power is one of those videos that makes you stop and think about things that you already thought you knew about, but now it's time to think again. Confusing, yes. Interesting, definitely.

The video surrounded different web services: Napster, facebook, MySpace, and some of our other created-in-a-dorm-room Silicon Valley friends, and how they gave the power to the people.

When we think of the Internet, we don't (or at least I don't...) think about how it's "run by no one, but shaped by everyone." I just see it as a portal to communicate with others, I always have.

I received my first computer at age six. It was slow, I it ran Windows 95, and we had TISD dial-up Internet. I thought it was the bee's knees. I used it for forums, online games, and mIRC where I would talk to people about movies and TV shows. I've since added IM, e-mail, MySpace, facebook, and now research to my Internet repertoire. Unfortunately, I wasn't a part of the Napster revolution.

The video focused a lot on Napster, Shawn Fanning's thought-to-be ingenious creation. John Heilemann, in between his head bobs, awkward body language, and unnecessary cloans of himself, dives into the story behind the man who created one of the biggest controversies in modern media. If there's one thing I've learned after taking history at Texas State, it's that you can't blame people in the past--they didn't know any better. How was Fanning supposed to know that this amazing file sharing program was extremely illegal? He just wanted what every other kid in college wanted (and still wants, by the way) cheap and/or free access to great music. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to find the tunes you loved on the radio-- and the station never seems to tag the song and artist after the good music. Do I understand why Napster was illegal... yes. Would I use it now if it weren't... um, yes. Luckily, more innovative programs like Spotify, and LastFM have come along to fill the void in a more legal fashion.

After Napster, Heilemann split his focus between MySpace and Facebook--two similar websites with two very different missions. Both gave the power to the people, meaning it was up to you to mold your site to your liking.

We take all of these phenomana for granted. How did we get information before the Internet; how did we communicate quickly and over distances before social media and text messaging; what will the next pioneers create for use to use? I have no idea. Probably won't know until I see it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Download: The True Story of the Internet

The single most important part of the video for me was the development of Mosaic and the Web. Jim Clark and the Illinois students had no idea of the power they were constructing. They were not looking for profit at the beginning and I believe this is what made a difference. I don't think they would have been as creative had they searched for ways to get rich first. Until Jim Clark showed up, profit did not cross their minds. They were just working hard at something they were passionate about.

The dealings of Microsoft and Bill Gates didn't surprise me. Microsoft proved they used to/are very good at distorting the truth, buying companies out and lying. I must admit that I can see the resemblance between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and how they looked for perfection and did not accept anything less. Nevertheless, the ruthless approach in managing their companies have proved them right.

I can clearly imagine them sitting around the pizza parlor and I almost wish I was there myself. I agree with Jacqueline though, do I have to go to an Ivy League school to come up with a revolutionary idea? The start of Mosaic reminded me of The Social Network.

People Power

I thought this video was really interesting. I'd definitely like to watch the others after the semester is over. The most interesting part was the rise and fall of Napster. I barely remember when Napster started in middle school. I didn't use it, but I think my brothers did. I sort of remember when Napster had to shut down in the early 2000s. It was great to watch how Fanning programmed everything and built an empire. Too bad it was shut down, but at least it's part of Rhapsody.

I enjoyed learning about digg's history and how the website worked. I've never visited the site, but now I understand it works similar to reddit or pinterest. After perusing the site, I noticed there's a wide array of news stories, it the site wants to appeal to all types of people. I just may be digging some stuff really soon. As in after finals.


Power to the People: An Informative Documentary

     Because of the Power to the People portion of the larger documentary, Download: The True Story of the Internet, I now have a better understanding of how popular social networking tools such as Napster, Youtube, and Facebook, came to be. I enjoyed how the video opened with John Heilemann speaking about how "The deepest human impulse, the most profound desire and need, is communication."
     I certainly agree. As humans, we are social creatures and therefore we want to communicate with each other. The interviews with social technology innovators such as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Chad Hurley, responsible for YouTube, and Shawn Fanning, creator of Napster, and Jay Adelson , CEO of Digg. Until I viewed this video, I had never heard of the news site called Digg.
     Now, I am encouraged to check this site out because the news posted has been discovered by fellow internet users like me. It amazed me to learn that one of the most helpful and controversial companies, Napster, was started by an 18-year-old. I always thought that Sean Fanning was much older. This instance proves that young people can make a difference if they combine their creativity with hard work
Personally, I wish that music could be free. But after hearing that the movie business, music business, and book business would go out of business if free sharing continued, I fully understood why companies must charge for music and other products.
     Essentially, this portion of the documentary aided me in my further appreciation for modern social technology.

Monday, November 28, 2011

People Power

People Power, the last section of the documentary Download: The True Story of the Internet, discusses how YouTube, Napster, Digg, Facebook and other innovations have created the 2 way participatory democratic media we have today. In the video John Heileman calls it "Our Media" meaning the power of big media to decide when and where we communicate and for how much has been given to the people. The TV industry is accesible to everyone because of Youtube and people can broadcast themselves. The mission is to change the world through web enabled people power.

For example, Digg showed that a blog can be on the same plane as the New York Times and it is up to the people to decide. Facebook maps out relationships people have because we care about what are friends are doing.

The movie touched on how people take for granted the huge changes the web has made in our daily lives. I know I especially take for granted how easy the web has made it to access music at any time. I really liked the example that the documentary used. It explained that in the past people would listen to a song on the radio, go look for a record store and dig through the shelves to find the song they liked. You would have to purchase the entire CD then listen to the one song you liked on your CD player and soon find out the rest of the CD was crap. Many people like myself didn't question this. Thats just the way we expected it to be. However, as we all know now this is no longer necessary.

Tunes were later put together with the PC and web. This was the beginning of the music revolution. Mp3 compressed data and people began distributing and accessing mP3 online. After this came the idea of CD burners. IBM thought people wouldn't use this but they were very wrong. I remember almost all of my friends burning CDs all through high school and many still today.

Napster enabled peer to peer using and sharing of music. Napster was the fastest spreading software everywhere. It turned users to active and not passive audiences while creating genuine web communities. I can remember this idea of sharing music being very controversial but I really didn't understand why.

The Recording Industry told Sean Fanning, the creator of Napster, that the trading of these copyrighted songs was illegal. It was like stealing thousands of CDs from the shelves. Napster was taken down however, it broke the distribtion monopoly of the recording industry.

I found it interesting that artists such as Dr. Dre and Metallica were so upset by this music sharing. I had no idea the Metallica drummer confronted Napster and made it such a huge deal with presss everywhere. Metallica brought a documented list of all their fans sharing their music and demanded that they be banned from using Napster. I never realized that this bothered artists so much. I knew that they weren't a fan of it and would rather have their fans buy their CDs however, I thought that with all the money they make, this wasn't a big issue for them.

Although Napster had to be shut down, this did not stop music sharing. It encouraged start ups like iTunes and YouTube. Today, YouTube is my main source for listening to music and I would be lost without it. However, I am not too scared that YouTube will have to be shut down like Napster since Google bought it. For YouTube, the posting and sharing of copyright material is not a big threat to big media. It is now the idea that people can entertain themselves and rather watch themselves on video.

People Power

Download: The True Story of the Internet is a video series that seeks to share the story of the internet and all of the features of the web that have come to be common place. From the Google search engine to the social media phenomena that is Facebook, the video takes an in depth look into the pioneers of the internetas we know it.

The video series as a whole is fascinating, but the final segment, People Power, is especially interesting, as it deals with web 2.0 technology and the companies that made it possible. Sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Digg use technology and innovation to give users an interactive online experience that was unprecedented at the time the companies started. These sites, and many others like them, truly empower the everyday internet user and give them channels to express their own unique voice.

I generally take for granted the abilities that I have because of this innovation. I am able to communicate with my friends across the country, share bookmarked websites that I am interested in, and post home-made videos. These things make life easier and vastly more entertaining, and it feels as if they are a necessary part of everyday life. However, after watching the video series, I've come to realize the long, and often difficult, process that innovators like Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook and Sean Parker of Napster had to go through in order to lay the foundation for all of the things that I use casually.

These men had brilliant ideas, that were not always received as such, that shaped the way we use and think about the internet and its capabilities. I can only hope that others will continue this trend of innovation, perhaps even people that I personally know.

People Power

The video Download: The True Story of the Internet shows it wasn't too long ago that none of these social media's existed. It was news stories and music singles that were getting chosen for us. We didn't get to decide what was the most important news story or what song was the best off the album.
That has changed since the emergence of sites like Digg have been giving people the power. Napster was also the first music site that allowed producers and other higher ups to show which song was most popular of a band before the record came out.
The thing I liked learning most about this video was Digg. I had heard of it before, but never really checked it out. I've always tried to make it a point to know what's going on in the news and a site that allows me to see what is the most popular with other people is something that interests me very much.
Innovators such as Chad Hurley, Shawn Fanning, and Mark Zuckerberg have changed the whole landscape and future of the Internet, television, and how to market products. It is a new younger generation that did not get much respect because of their youth but have since taken over the playing field. That gives me confidence knowing that I shouldn't be underestimated just because of my age and that I can do whatever I was just as long as I work hard for it.

Broadcast Yourself

Host John Heilemann gave us further insight on an additional segment for Download: The True Story of the Internet. People Power reflects on the power of the Internet and how social media has become a revolutionary. It emphasizes how extraordinary online communities are/have become over the years and how sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Napster surfaced. I enjoyed the interviews with various CEOs such as Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Chad Hurley( YouTube) and Shawn Fanning (Napster). I really liked Chad Hurley's philosophy behind the development of YouTube and how he believes everyone, "has the opportunity to be heard, have the power," with a platform such as YouTube. I knew YouTube was bought by Google for quite a bit of money but I had no clue it was a $1.65 billion dollar purchase (amazing). I also liked the comment of Digg's goal being "on the same plain as the New York Times and it's up to the people to decide the power".
For those who have seen The Social Network, you got to see a fictional portrayal of the other co-founder of Napster, Shawn Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) but I really enjoyed hearing what Shawn Fanning had to say. I remember when Napster first came out and I remember seeing the MTV News segment of Metallica first filing a lawsuit with the company. I thought it was interesting hearing Shawn Fanning's recollection of that day and how he was such a fan of the band.It's extraordinary to me to think that was only a couple of years ago and to see the P2P downloading "phenomenon" that has developed since. It's also fascinating to me to see a simple idea explode such as Napster and Facebook and it gives someone like me, a soon-to-be college graduate, inspiration for the future. These entrepreneurs are perfect examples of how drive, ambition and a focus can get you far on the web. Communication is "constantly changing"and I'm excited to see what the future brings.

No One Friend Should Have All That Power

While watching the "Power People" section of Download: The True Story of the Internet, I couldn't help but notice a trend in the usage of the verbs "participate," "create," "communicate" and "interact." I think these words stood out to me because I always think of the Internet as being very "me-centered." The Internet helps me release my message. The Internet helps me find the information I want to use.

Physically, I usually release and find information when I am alone at my computer (e.g., while I type this very sentence). Technologically, however, the information I find and the platforms I release my messages on were all developed by a greater online community. John Heilemann, host of the documentary, described how these online communities have developed over time by giving a voice to the common man.

Shawn Fanning gave rise to the peer-to-peer network architecture with his invention, Naptser. Napster created one of the first web communities that encouraged social interaction between its users (Side Note: I think the video did an excellent job of depicting Metallica during the Napster trial). The creators of YouTube added to this idea by allowing their users to actually generate their own content, and users on sites like Digg rated the content and spurred its popularity. The founders of YouTube and Digg gave a voice to the masses; knowing average people were more likely to trust the opinions of their peers than corporations. Thus, the "Medium of the Little Man" was born.

Primarily social sites like Myspace and Facebook gave a voice to the opinions the common man really cares about: Our friends. The "social graph" concept is built around the relationships we share with those friends. It is now easier for us to share our content with complete strangers and friends alike through these different networks (Side Note: It was kind of strange to finally hear Tom Anderson speak after seeing that goofy default Myspace picture so many times. Extra Side Note: I kept hoping the video would tie Sean Parker in; so I could compare him to Justin Timberlake).

Although some networks are built around making money, altruistic sites like Craigslist and Wikipedia simply believe in setting communication free. Regardless of what their motives are, these sites have all contributed to evening the playing field for the common man and allowing him to be an author in the book of our rapidly-changing digital world.

Monday, November 21, 2011

People Power 2.0

People Power, hosted by John Heilemann, is one video within a series, Download: The True Story of the Internet, highlighting the power that people have in the new age of the web 2.0.

I found this video fascinating, and actually ended up watching the three other videos in the series. I have always been curious about how people have these mammoth ideas like Facebook, YouTube, Napster, and how they come to be. The video did a great job of showing the path from the need to the development of the idea. I really enjoyed the Napster portion of the video, considering that was a story I was familiar with in middle school, and hadn't heard much about since. I like that the had Shawn Fanning speak for himself, and that the video didn't just rehash the story of Napster.

I think the more important concept of the video though, was the power that the Internet has put in the hands of consumers to produce content that they want to see. You no longer have to wait for a site to be built that has hundreds of classified ads on it, or is an online dating profile or a way to share music, you can just create it.

The video introduced the work of people who came up with ideas like YouTube and Digg and sites that are huge in popularity and legal implications. This video has helped me to understand that with great power comes great (legal) responsibility, and some of the struggles that these companies have faced over the years.
I was surprised to hear that giants like YouTube almost didn't happen due to issues with copyright and that the were "stealing" content. The CEO of YouTube, Chad Hurley, said that if they didn't have the backing of Google that they would not have been able to continue with YouTube, due to legal implications! Can you imagine a world without YouTube??? I can't.

I liked this video because I felt like it supported the idea that, to have a good idea, doesn't require tons of money, or a huge team of people, it just requires that you are a college kid, working out of a dorm room at Stanford University. Kidding, but seriously, do all good ideas come from Stanford? Really, though, its about AMBITION people, Ambition. Stand behind your idea, make it meaningful and people will want it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Amanda and I are going to do our final project on the Texas State University Common Experience: the first amendment. We plan on interviewing students and faculty about their understanding of the Common Experience, and their personal feelings on freedom of speech on campus. Do students feel that their voice can be heard on campus? We plan to find out.

The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaption by Jonathan Hennessey uses visuals to depict the constitution and freedom of speech. We also want to see how students and faculty reacted to the inclusion of a graphic novel as the theme for the Common Experience.

San Marcos Open Mic Nights (Multimedia Project)

Brianne Richardson and I will be exploring the world of San Marcos' open mic nights. Specifically, we will try to conduct our interviews as a look into the psyche of the participants: How do they find the courage to do what they do? Where does their material come from? What is their creative process like? Why do they do open mics? What is the atmosphere like? How does performing in front of strangers differ from performing in front of people you know? We would like to answer all of these questions and more for our site.

We hope to cover poetry, stand-up comedy and live music. We will shoot most of our interviews and performances at venues around San Marcos like Cheatham Street and Sean Patrick's.

The Untold Story of the Houseless: Austin, TX

There are thousands of houseless people in Austin, I say houseless because a cardboard box can be a home, what they need are houses. Anyways, among these many thousands of down-trodden souls are many thousands of stories that are rarely heard by anyone who might actually be reading this blog. The most of these stories that we hear are told in sound bites on cardboard signs; "god bless you," "anything helps," and the occasional, "why lie, I need a beer sign."

In this web series documentary, we will explore the world of the houseless and shine light onto their stories. From the streets of Austin we will lend an ear and a lens to capture what these men and women have to share. From Army vets to hippies and the mother and father who have lost their jobs, we will let these people tell their story and you are invited to be a part of this experience.

Produced by Chris Blackmon and Matt Wood

Sights and Sounds of Christmas!

Nicole and I have chosen to highlight the Sights and Sounds of Christmas festival for our multimedia project. Sights and Sounds encourages volunteerism, supports local business and has many attractions for the growing family demographic in the San Marcos area. We feel it would be an great opportunity for a project because not only does it do the things listed above, but the festival also increases commerce and brings visitors from all over the state of Texas to the area. We think it will be a fun and interesting project that we could take in several directions. Look forward to hearing your thoughts in class!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When the levee breaks. (working title)

Sam and I are doing our final project on students who are devoted to music and performing but opted not to pursue a music major. Students often are superb musicians and have never had music theory homework, performed at recitals or even visited the music building. They might all have different reasons for pursuing another degree, but they all share the same passion: music. Our project will help share their backgrounds, stories and performances, and how they fight to keep music waters in.


Multimedia Final Project

Kelli and I have decided to focus our final project on Austin Farmers Markets. We chose this topic because we wanted to inform others of why farmers markets are beneficial and why it's beneficial to buy organic, local foods. Some sources we would interview would definitely be local customers and hopefully some farmers so we can have both perspectives that will hopefully all tie together for our story. Our 5 pages will probably be Home, About Farmers Markets, Why shop local, Events and Foods in Season. The video of the marathon runners is definitely inspiration of how a topic should naturally tell a story without having to be breaking news so hopefully the footage we gather about the Austin Farmers Markets will do the same.