Australian Creative.

Bullying in the arts

Added on by Tom Cramond.

According to a 2011 survey in the UK, workplace bullying is more widespread in the arts than even the armed forces.

There is undoubtedly silence around the issue. Perhaps it's because people make allowances for what they see as artistic temperament, when in fact it's just a lack of human decency. Perhaps there's some hero-worship going on; and it may be that in an area where more people want to work than there are jobs, there is more room for exploitative behaviour.

Can artistic vision/passion/drive lead to a hostile work environment? And if so, are we more willing to put up with it because of its creative intent?

Strongbox and Aaron Swartz

Added on by Tom Cramond.

I'm fascinated by the life of Aaron Swartz and the work he was able to complete before in tragic suicide earlier this year. Today The New Yorker launched a new service called 'Strongbox' that allows anyone to provide documents to the newspaper in a completely anonymous and untraceable fashion

In truth it is such a shame that such a service is needed, especially with President Obama's hostility towards whisteblowers and a number of news organisations. Aaron was one of the good guys, a great loss for so many online and off.

"Aaron Swartz was not yet a legend when, almost two years ago, I asked him to build an open-source, anonymous in-box. His achievements were real and varied, but the events that would come to define him to the public were still in his future: his federal criminal indictment; his leadership organizing against the censorious Stop Online Piracy Act; his suicide in a Brooklyn apartment. I knew him as a programmer and an activist, a member of a fairly small tribe with the skills to turn ideas into code—another word for action—and the sensibility to understand instantly what I was looking for: a slightly safer way for journalists and their anonymous sources to communicate."

It's heartening to see modern digital technologies being used to preserve and protect free access to information and accountability. I desperately hope it proves to be a success, if for nothing else than a fitting memorial to an extraordinary human

Dear Gina

Added on by Tom Cramond.

A new tumblr offering 'sage wisdom and practical advice from everyone's favourite richest-woman-in-the-world'

Dear Gina,
I’ve recently come into some money and want to use it in a way that is of the most benefit to society, as I feel that the staggering social inequality in this country is the unjust result of an evil system perpetuated by the basest elements of human nature. Do you recommend donating to an existing charity or establishing a benefit or institution of my own?
Dear Blake
Please write in English next time.

Very funny.

Why 6/2(1+2) is unanswerable... sort of

Added on by Tom Cramond.

Seen that Facebook maths problem being posted around? It turns out the fights about the correct answer may have some grounding:

So that brings us back to 6 ÷ 2(1+2). There are three ways to think about this problem—and none is incorrect. (If you don’t believe me, plug it into a few different calculators, or even check out Google, where commenters have argued over Google’s calculator answer.)

 TL,DR: BIMDAS/PEMDAS is correct, but so are the other methods

All I could do was run

Added on by Tom Cramond.

Filmaker and foreign correspondant Olly Lambert on the emotional toil his latest work camped in with the Syrian Rebels has taken on him:

I felt a terrible expression contort my face: I was pulling back my lower jaw and cheeks, my top teeth were bared, and my eyes were wide. I was still filming, but was aware that my face had contorted into a look of horror. The weirdest part was that I was relieved to be horrified, to be human among all this inhumanity, and not just some robot with a video camera.

 I really do urge you to take the time and read this extraordinary piece of writing about what could only be described as hell on Earth.

In addition, PBS has posted about 30 minutes of footage from his upcoming PBS/ BBC documentary. 


Watch this.

Marriage, define it

Added on by Tom Cramond.

The Stock Market vs. the Labor Market

Added on by Tom Cramond.

Carn the Yarn

Added on by Tom Cramond.

Preview vs Release

Added on by Tom Cramond.

Following a number of scathing reviews for the intial release of the OUYA Android gaming console, the company has responded in a statement to claiming the console is not yet ready for reviews:

"We will be making Ouya review units available in early to mid-May so that you are able to review the more complete consumer experience and prepare your coverage in time for the June 4th retail launch," a representative said. "To clarify for you--Ouya has sent no review units out to press. Any reviews you have seen online are a result from individuals who received early backer units from supporting our Kickstarter."

Although I can't find exact numbers, the company has begun to ship out thousands of kickstarter edition products to it's many supporters, yet at the same time claim that console is not ready for commercial release. Whilst this may make sense in an abstract sense, I just don't think this forced distinction holds any water in the real world. Developer previews of unfinished hardware and operating systems are commonplace in the gaming world and are necessary for development and testing. By comparison the OUYA is being sent to thousands of paying customers, not to test software but to be used as gaming machines, complete with consoles final hardware.

This move is somewhat understandable as the high profile kickstater campaign has forced the company into this early release of the product - but the question remains, will it do more harm than good? Has the funding model that enabled the creation of the device also created a set of expectations that are next to impossible to deliver on and which may ultimately kill the product?

As we work our way through the new world of crowd sourced funding these issues highlight rather dramatically the potential downsides inherent to the funding medium - particularly in regards to the management of consumer expectations. The OUYA may yet be a success, but it's development thus far can serve as both a source of inspiration and concern for other kickstarter creators.

The development of any creative product takes time, often much more than initially envisaged and when you add in thousands of eager investors in your product these set timeframes have the potential to lead to disaster.