In the early days of Youtube, uploaded videos were limited to 10 minutes in length. Over time, users in “good standing” had their limits increased to a full hour. Last night when I went to upload a video to Youtube, I discovered that my limit had been decreased back down to 15 minutes for “repeated copyright violations.” Youtube was kind enough to provide a link to the multiple claims against my videos (there were 10). Here were the infractions:
- I received one infraction for uploading a video of Mason singing Weird Al’s “The White Stuff” to a karaoke version of The New Kids on the Block song “The Right Stuff” at his 3rd grade talent show while dressed as an Oreo Cookie. The complaint said that this video contained copyrighted New Kids on the Block music, which it did not.
- I received an additional three infractions for three more videos I recorded at the talent show. The fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teachers each came out and performed a song: “Candy Man,” “Thriller,” and the theme to Green Acres. That’s right. Youtube does not allow videos of middle-aged women singing the theme to Green Acres. In retrospect, maybe that’s for the best.
- I received one infraction for uploading a video of Susan and Morgan playing “Michael Jackson: The Experience” on the Nintendo Wii. Youtube complained that this video contains copyrighted Michael Jackson songs in the background. Note that this video did not contain any footage of the game, and all the music you could hear in the clip was underneath the sound of Morgan yelling and Susan laughing. Also note that a search on Youtube for “Michael Jackson The Experience” returns 532,000 results.
- I received one infraction for uploading a video I shot while out looking at Christmas lights. Again, the background music was the problem. A Christmas song was playing on the radio in the background as I shot the video.
- I received two infractions for uploading videos of Guns and Roses performing live in Las Vegas that I shot with my cell phone. I cannot argue with that one as I agree that those songs are copyrighted, but I’m still a little baffled. Searching Youtube for “Guns and Roses live” returns 1,420,000 results. Also, someone recorded the entire concert and uploaded it to Youtube. Search Youtube for “Guns N Roses Full Show” and you’ll find 648,000 results, ranging from the early 90s all the way to 2012.
- I received one infraction for my video “Out of Space,” in which I showed off my collection of arcade games. In this video, Phil Collins’ “Take me Home” was playing in the background on the radio.
- I received two infractions for my Literal Music Video version of “The Cars -- Drive”. In a Literal Music Video, people replace the lyrics of songs with new lyrics explaining quite literally what’s happening in the song. Here’s one of the wittiest and best examples:
That particular video has been deleted and re-uploaded at least a dozen times. Inspired by that video and others, I made my own for the Cars song, “Drive”. Because it pained me to delete it, I took a screen shot of mine before removing it:
98,615 people watched that video. Based on the feedback I got, most of them laughed. A few of them, based on my singing, told me not to quit my day job. (That was never the plan.) This video received two complains, one for the music (again, it was the karaoke version, not the real version) and a second one for the video itself.
Note that in none of these cases was I making any money off of any of these videos. I did not have “monetize” clicked nor did I have any ads on any of my videos. The video of Mason singing “The White Stuff” had 58 views; the ones of his teachers singing had fewer than that.
Youtube offered me a few alternatives to correct these videos: change or remove the audio, dispute the claims, or delete the videos. For the videos of my home arcade and the Christmas lights, I removed the audio. If you end up watching those videos, turn on some music in your house. (Not too loudly — Youtube is listening!) For all of the other videos except for one, I deleted them. There’s no since in leaving a video of Guns and Roses performing on Youtube with no audio, especially when there are half a million better versions of them playing on Youtube!
The one video I challenged was Mason singing in the talent show. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think whoever owns the copyright to the New Kids on the Block can file a claim against a video in which that song does not appear. Maybe I’m wrong; we’ll see. For the time being though, my rights have been reinstated and I can now again upload videos!
I came up with this idea a month or two ago and it’s been rattling around in the back of my head ever since.
Hey, look who’s up there rappelling off of the loft down into our living room — it’s G.I.Joe*!
(It’s not really G.I.Joe. Or maybe it is. It’s three random military figures I bought at Vintage Stock for a couple bucks each. The two guys standing above were $1 for 2 and came from Family Dollar.)
Morgan was my partner in crime on this project. She and I poked three holes into a small piece of cardboard and ran black yarn through the holes, tying knots in the end of the yard and securing the ends with pieces of tape. With that done we wrapped the other end around our rappelling soldiers and dropped them over the edge. Whee! The two “guards” standing at the top are standing on small, rolled loops of tape.
My guess is that this particular display piece will remain in place until either Susan or the cat removes them. We’ve already found one of the two guards down (“Medic!”), an apparent victim of a random cat attack. We’ll see how the others fare over time.
For my next episode of You Don’t Know Flack, I’ll be covering the topic of recording podcasts. I’ve written a loose outline for the show and I have lots of opinions to share on how I do things, but they’re just my opinions. If you currently record a podcast, I’d like to include your opinions as well. Here’s how you can contribute!
Record a brief (no more than five minute) audio segment offering some podcast-related advice. Your target audience is people who are interested in starting their own podcast but haven’t created one yet. During your segment you can talk about any aspect of podcasting. Some useful topics might be:
- Hardware or Software suggestions! What kind of mic/computer/software do you use?
- Technical advice! What do you do to make things sound good?
- Show topics! How do you pick them? How do you plan them? Do you script things out or wing it?
- One host vs. multiple hosts! Again, what works best? What do you enjoy?
- Promoting your podcast! How do you get the word out?
You can tackle one of those topics, all of the topics (if you talk quickly!), or something completely different. Got any production tricks? Have you found a good way to organize your shows? Have you found something your listeners like (or don’t like)? This is a great opportunity for you to share your knowledge and insight with up-and-coming podcasters. (And, it’ll be some good promotion for your own shows as well as I’ll be plugging them on my show!) You could share some things that have worked for you… or maybe some of the things that didn’t work! It’s up to you!
To participate, you can do any of the following things:
01. Record a segment. The segment should be no more than five minutes in length, and in either mp3 or ogg format. Anything up to 25mb in size can be e-mailed to my gmail account. If you don’t know what that address is, I’ll give you a hint: it starts with “robohara”.
02. Phone it in! You can leave your suggestion on the You Don’t Know Flack voice line at 405-486-YDKF. The quality won’t be nearly as good, but at least people will hear what you have to say!
03. Send me an e-mail. If you don’t have the time to record anything, you can always simply e-mail me something.
The goal is to record this show next Monday, which gives you three work days and the entire weekend to come up with something. People want to hear from you! Don’t let them down! Don’t let me down!
Despite a few people’s suggestion to leave it as is, I always envisioned the case being painted the same color as a real Commodore 1541 disk drive.
To chose the paint color I used the rather unscientific method of strolling through Walmart’s spray paint aisle and picking one by memory that looked close. Commodore 1541 disk drives tended to change color over time, which actually worked to my advantage. I gave the case a light hand sanding with some 200 grit sand paper and shot it with a couple of coats.
After that dried, I taped up the case…
…and shot the front, darker brown square. On a real drive this is the face plate of the drive.
After that dried, I removed the tape and this is what the case looks like.
And, on top of a real drive.
I don’t have the skill set required to add functioning LEDs to the outside of the case (and wouldn’t want chance screwing it up by drilling holes in it) so I may add non-functioning red and green “dots” to the outside of the case (I was thinking “small, flat, round, clear LEGOs” possibly?). I also plan on printing out the small badge that goes on the front soon as well.
I first set up a Hallowindow display back in 2010. If you’ll recall, Hallowindow is a set of videos created by Mark Gervais that are designed to be projected on to a window during Halloween! I checked Mark’s site this year and saw that Hallowindow 5 had been released, so I decided to purchase that one as well, and set up another Hallowindow display this year!
This is the setup from inside the house (in my Star Wars room, no less). I purchase the digital download versions of Mark’s videos, but you can also buy them on DVD. Since I use the digital versions, I play them on my laptop using VLC and route the video out to a projector. In front of the window I hang a white sheet. The main video montages come in both “regular” and “reversed” formats. If you’re doing rear projection (like I am), you’ll want to run the reversed video clips. (Or, you can mirror-flip the videos in VLC as well.) VLC also has the ability to use and loop a playlist, so that’s what I do. (Protip: dig down in the video settings and you can turn off the displaying of the file name whenever a new video starts!) The only thing you can’t see in this picture is I am routing the audio from my laptop to a stereo tuner and out to two small speakers that I have placed in the window sill.
Above you can see why the reversed versions are important. From outside the house, the text displays the right way.
Just so I don’t have to keep running upstairs to stop/start things, I remote into the laptop from my desktop and do things remotely. Once we had everything up and running it was time to run outside and take a look!
The effect outside is quite impressive. The darker it is, the better it looks. The last time I did this we had dozens of people standing around outside, some of them watching the entire 10+ minute video loop. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.
Here’s a test video the kids and I shot from the front yard, doing a quick audio/video check. Looks good — expect to see Hallowindow up and running Halloween night!
Little Charlie Manson never met his biological father, a 23-year-old con man named Colonel Walker Scott (Colonel was his first name, not a military ranking) who skipped out of town the moment he discovered 15-year-old Kathleen Maddox was pregnant. Not long after her son was born Kathleen married William Manson, another man who exited Kathleen’s life almost as quickly as he entered it. By the time little Charlie was 5-years-old he was shuffled off to live with an aunt and uncle after both his mother and another one of his uncles had been sent to prison for strong armed robbery. After Manson came home crying from his first day of first grade at a new school, his uncle sent him back to school on the second day wearing a dress. When Manson’s mother was paroled from prison a few years later, the two of them lived in dirty hotels while she worked as a prostitute.
When pitting nature vs. nurture, Charles Manson never had a chance. Described by everybody who ever met him as an incorrigible youth and a habitual liar with violent tendencies, Manson spent the majority of his teen years locked up in reform schools where he was beaten or raped (or both) on a daily basis. He got picked up for stealing cars and committing multiple armed robberies by the age of 13. When his aunt and uncle felt sorry for him and had him over for Christmas dinner as a young teenager, he waited until they left the house and stole his uncle’s gun.
Unlike Helter Skelter, the best selling true crime novel of all time which focused on the Tate/LaBianca murders (and written by the prosecuting attorney), Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn is the biography of Charles Manson. It is perhaps the only thing I have ever read about Manson that made me feel any empathy toward him.
More than anything, Manson points out dozens of pivotal points throughout Charlie’s life. While in prison, Charlie gets housed with pimps who teach him the best way to pick girls and brainwash them. Also while in prison, Manson attends the classic Dale Carnegie course “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Most of the techniques Manson used to mentally control members of the Family came directly from this course.
After having spent more than half of his life incarcerated Manson gets released from prison and lands smack dab in the middle the Haight-Ashbury hippie heyday. By then lost souls from all around the country were flocking to San Francisco looking not just for peace, love and drugs, but someone to show them “the way.” Manson did just that. And while things may have gotten a little out of control, they didn’t get violent — at least not for a while. (Spoiler alert: eventually they do.)
Throughout 700 pages, Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson takes readers through the life and times of Charles Manson, from several years before his birth through his countless encounters with the law, his court trial, and of course, “Helter Skelter,” Charlie’s prediction of an impending race war. Author Guinn performed dozens upon dozens of interviews, some of which (like Manson’s cousin he lived with and half-sister) had never previously agreed to be interviewed. Understandably, many of the people interviewed for this book prefer to avoid the limelight and being associated with the infamous Charles Manson.
One of the recurring themes throughout the book is that, above all, Charles Manson wanted to be a rock star. Most of the Family’s efforts early on were geared toward making that happen. Based on Manson’s lifelong history of criminal behavior it’s hard to say whether getting signed to a record label would have changed the bloody outcome of history, but you never know. The failure of Manson’s music career is only one of multiple factors that eventually culminated into the murders that took place in August of 1969.
Some of the most detailed and frustrating stories in the book come during the police department’s investiagation into the Hinman, Tate, and LaBianca murders. Despite the fact that all three crime scenes had some variation of the word “pig” written in the victims’ blood on the walls, investigators failed to link the three crime scenes together. A “Black Panther” sign left at one of the crime scenes was overlooked. Police arriving at the Tate household carelessly destroyed fingerprint evidence. A man and his son found the murder weapon (a .22 pistol) and turned it over to police; four months later the police announced they were still looking for it, despite the fact that the man and his son had called investigators back twice urging them to recheck the gun they had already turned in. Merely weeks after the Tate/LaBianca murders had been committed and despite the fact that everyone involved had told at least one other person or group of people (many of whom had in turn told other people), police could not crack the case. When a female inmate told a deputy her cellmate (Susan Adkins) had confessed to her that she had committed the murders and asked to call investigators, her request was denied. When she pleased with the deputy to call on her behalf, that request was denied too. When the inmate eventually called the LAPD and told them her story they told her it was a county case, not a city case, and they hung up on her. When they called the county, they said they would send someone out to speak with her that day. They didn’t. Throughout all of the investigation all of the Family members were in jail (including Manson himself) on unrelated charges — mostly for possessing weapons, drugs, and stolen cars. Four months after the murders were committed, police stated through a newspaper article that they were still looking for the killers’ discarded clothes. It took ABC news reporters 10 minutes to find the bloody clothes based on the information provided in the article! It is truly, truly amazing that the police were able to ever arrest and prosecute anyone for these crimes, despite their best efforts to bungle the investigation at every turn.
I wasn’t born until four years after the Tate/LaBianca murders were committed. Other than through Helter skelter my only exposure to Charles Manson and the Family has been through a few documentaries, books, and jailhouse interviews. The one question I’m not sure will ever be answered is how much of his own tales does Manson himself believe. Whether Charles Manson truly believed he would find a bottomless pit out in the desert where the Family could hide in until Helter Skelter blew over, who’s to say?
Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson is the most complete book I’ve ever read covering the life of Charles Manson. I can’t think of a single detail or fact I’ve ever read about Manson, the Family, or those horrible murders that isn’t covered in this book. The book does a good job of explaining where Manson came from and how he and a bunch of brainwashed followers ended up bringing abut an abrupt end to the Summer of Love.
I am writing to inform you that effective immediately, my son will no longer be delivering newspapers for the Daily Sun. Additionally, I have grave concerns regarding the safety of the route he was assigned that I would like to bring to your attention.
I initially allowed my son to take this part time job due to its relatively straight forward route and small number of customers. Despite only having ten customers (on a street with 20 houses), my son must cross three busy intersections. Despite having crosswalks, cross traffic does not stop or even yield. My son has been run over multiple times by men on motorcycles and women in convertibles. Throughout the neighborhood, my son has to frequently switch between riding his bicycle on the sidewalk and directly in the street. In the street my son has been involved in more than one head on collision. He has also ruined more bicycles than I can count by driving into drains and open manholes. The sidewalk is not much better; it is littered with fences, fire hydrants and other obstacles.
While logic dictates that the sidewalk would be a safe place for a child to ride his bicycle, clearly in this neighborhood it is not. The sidewalk is constantly overcrowded, filled with punks on skateboards, women with shopping carts, and breakdancers. To avoid hitting a man with a purple mohawk riding a unicycle, my son swerved into the street and struck a man using a jackhammer (with absolutely no safety cones or warning equipment set up to warn others). When he returned to the sidewalk, he was run over by an unmanned lawnmower.
The residents of the neighborhood are as unforgiving as they are careless. My son is only given ten newspapers for ten subscribers. This is not acceptable as he must constantly use the papers to thwart burglaries and defend himself from other dangers. While additional bundles of paper are scattered around the neighborhood (presumably from previous paperboys!) most of them get used to repel all the stray cats and dogs that constantly attack my son. At no point did anyone mention to me or my son that his route would be filled with so many abandoned houses, some of them bearing gravestones. When my son missed delivering a single paper to a single subscriber, they cancelled their subscription. When attempting to deliver them a paper the following day, the homeowner backed over my son with his Hearse.
To be honest, I am quite surprised that anyone in this neighborhood subscribes to, let alone reads, a daily periodical. In an attempt to deliver newspapers the denizens of this town have attempted to set off bombs near my son’s path and chased him with remote controlled cars in an attempt to cause him to crash. He has been knocked off his bike more than once by winos and chased by both tornadoes and the Grim Reaper. The Grim Reaper! Yesterday he was forced to break up a fist fight between two grown men by hitting them with a newspaper!
After hearing all these tales from my son, I recommended that he work on his bicycle skills. He told me at the end of the neighborhood there is a training section filled with moving ramps and targets. My son said he did really well in the training area and was awarded bonus points. I don’t know what bonus points are worth. I know that our insurance will not accept them as deductible payments toward our multiple insurance claims, and they apparently cannot be traded in for bicycles.
Seven times this week my son has been struck by errant car tires rolling in and out of people’s driveways and down the street. I have never heard of anyone being struck by a car tire before, let alone seven times in the same week. This is absolutely ridiculous and I will not stand for it.
Please accept this letter as an official resignation for my son. I believe it would be in your best interest to warn future paperboys about the potential hazards lurking along this route. It would also be a good idea to provide pads and/or a helmet to any future paperboys. They’re going to need it.
Yesterday was the first day I reported to work in 26 days. I found where I normally sit without the use of a GPS, but only barely. The week before the furloughs began I was in Arizona attending a Microsoft Server 2012 class. I drove home the following weekend, but the fifteen or so hours in the car did a number on my back and so I stayed home in bed on Monday — after all, they weren’t really going to furlough us the following day, were they? And if they did, surely the federal government would recognize my personal contributions to our agency’s IT program and would declare me essential personnel. I sat around waiting for a personal call from the President.
And then it happened. I mean the furlough part, not the personal presidential pardon I was hoping for. I found out via CNN that I had been furloughed. The guidance delivered to us was pretty simple: don’t report to work or use any government equipment or resources until you are told to do so.
So, we didn’t. And the first couple of days were pretty fun. You can scroll back through my posts and see what all we did. I recorded some podcasts. We went to some garage sales. went to the movies. We sought out places offering discounts to furloughed employees (there weren’t many in Oklahoma). Then we started hearing rumors that we might not receive back pay, and as I mentioned in my previous furlough post, we went on “lockdown mode” and quit spending money. Susan spent some money at Aldi’s; I spent some at the liquor store. I built a personal movie theater out of a cardboard box, stopped showering and changing clothes, and started wearing a Boba Fett helmet around the house. Things got weird there for a little bit. At one point we heard we were getting back pay. At one point we heard we were no getting back pay. At one point we heard we might be getting partial back pay. The only thing we knew for sure was that the bills hasn’t stopped coming in, but the money had.
We found out that the furlough had ended the same way we discovered it had began, via CNN. Thursday morning was a cluster of confusion with very few people knowing for sure if they were supposed to report to work or not. I checked Facebook to see what my co-workers were doing. Based on an informal survey it appeared 1/3 of them were headed into the office, 1/3 of them were waiting for formal notification, and 1/3 of them play too much Candy Crush.
All’s well that ends well I suppose. We are getting back pay, so that’s good. I mean, it’s bad in the fact that we got paid for time we didn’t work, but as I joked on Twitter, “I dislike getting paid for time I didn’t work, but I dislike being late on my bills more than that.” I still don’t know if we will be getting a normal paycheck next week or if the furlough back pay will be delivered to us on the check after that. If that’s the case, we will have gone essentially a month with no income. (EDIT: Today we were informed that our back pay should arrive next week — hurrah!) With talks of this potentially happening again in January, we’ll be better prepared next time. Live and learn I guess. The thought of going for weeks without a paycheck was enough to push some of my co-workers into primping their resumes and several of them were on the verge of sending them out. To be honest I am surprised that everybody i work with returned to work, and if this happens again in January I do not expect a 100% return rate.
Whenever I mention the furlough to non-co-workers they want to discuss the pros or cons of Obamacare or give their opinion on whose fault this was. And while those are all things that can and should be discussed, we weren’t thinking about them at all over the past few weeks. All we were worried about was making next month’s car and house payments. I seems we will be okay, but there was a small window in time in which we weren’t 100% sure. We still have a few weeks of letting monies settle back into their proper piles, but it looks like, at least this time, everything’s gonna be alright.
I currently own two cases for my Raspberry Pi. One is the gigantic red plastic case that came with it. The other is one I made out of a plastic Pop-Tart I bought at Big Lots. You can see both of those cases here.
Enter my friend Aardvark. Aardvark is a very talented guy who plays guitar and once made a remote controlled phone. Aardvark also does CNC milling, and when he saw my terrible attempt at making my own Raspberry Pi case, he decided to take a stab at making one for me. The day after we had this conversation, Aardvark sent me the following picture:
Now truth be told, I would have been the happiest nerd to simply receive an aluminum box with the Commodore logo on it and use that as a case, but Aardvark had bigger plans. “I need a few pictures of a Commodore 1541 disk drive,” he said, and so that night I took a few and mailed them to me. The next day, I received the following:
With those rough designs, Aardvark went to work and did his thing. The next picture I received was of a rough Raspberry Pi case without any access holes cut out.
To cut the holes, Aardvark said he needed an actual Pi — and so I mailed him one. Paid for it with Paypal and had it shipped directly to him. With the Pi in hand, ‘Vark was able to make the necessary cuts for all of the Pi’s ports. I don’t presume to know how any of this is done. I’m pretty sure black magic is involved.
Thursday when I arrived home from work there was a package waiting for me from Aardvark. Could it be? It was! The case is held together with four tiny flat-head screws. I opened the case and dropped a Raspberry Pi into it. Perfect fit!
I was surprised at how small the case was, but the Pi fits perfectly inside. Here’s the 1541-Pi case assembled, sitting on top of a real Commodore 1541 disk drive.
Food for though: Commodore 1541 floppy disks hold roughly 180k of information. The SD card hanging out of the front of the Raspberry Pi in this picture is an 8gb card which can hold approximately 48,000 Commodore 64 disks.
This weekend I hope to slap a coat of traditional “breadbox brown” paint on the 1541 Pi case, finishing it off. There’s just enough room on the front to add a couple of small red and green lights as well. Old habits die hard. :)
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Aardvark for this awesome case. I feel compelled to tell you that Aardvark would not accept any money for the case. He only made two of them, and I own half of them. Personally I think ‘Vark should start a Kickstarter to get his own CNC mill for the house. If he does, I will keep him in business for many years to come!
I love watching Mason’s gears turn. Last night he walked into the living room on a mission. “I need a cardboard box. I’m building a personal movie theater.” Susan found him a box, and a few minutes later he reappeared with this on his head:
The box has a small opening into which you can place an iPod/iPhone. Mason sat around the living room for a few minutes last night watching YouTube videos with a box on his head before he went to bed. It was the most ridiculous thing ever.
After he went to bed, I decided to make my own.
Mine as you can see had to be a bit larger to accommodate an iPad. My original design required the viewer to insert his or her head up into the box. The first modification I made was turning the back of the box into a “flap” to make viewing a bit more comfortable. I also added a box containing a case of soup cans to the top of the theater to weigh it down to keep the cat from flipping the box over and smashing my iPad. These are the types of things we theater owners have to think about.
Inside the theater there are three rows of seats. They’ll hold 3 3/4″ (aka “Star Wars scale”) figures but for my test run this morning, it was a solo viewing.
With the lights out you can still see the outline of the chairs. I plan on covering them with fabric later tonight. Not really. Well, maybe.
The debut of the theater was a success, so much so that Mason was almost late for school. After the debut showing of “The Empire Strikes Back,” the theater showed one Three Stooges short and one episode of Woody Woodpecker. The theater is now closed so that I can add an external set of computer speakers to pump up the theater’s sound system a bit. You can also rent out the theater for $1 per movie. All proceeds will go toward our furlough fund.