Designoteca.com is live

Henrique (his personal website) is a good friend with a solid, consistent passion. He likes open design, co-creation and participatory approaches. And this is why Designoteca.com exists. Designoteca is a an open design repository, connecting designers and producers, with a strong focus on digital fabrication.
Henrique dedicated the past few months, along with the good help from Heraldo and a bit of my input, to make Designoteca happen.

Designoteca home page

Designoteca has been online for a while, but just last week released the new paypal enabled functions. You can now effortlessly upload a design, establish your price and immediately be ready to start licensing your designs. And the whole thing helps you select the right type of license, from the Creative Commons catalog.

On the website you can upload editable and non-editable file types, set up a description, indicate which technology should be used to fabricate your products and even use tags
to group similar ideas. It really has come a long way.

The whole idea is that anybody can give shape to their own ideas, and be able to make a living from them. In order to help people getting into digital fabrication, Designoteca has introductions to the topic, what processes and software one can use to model and produce her ideas. And has the site grows, it should become a meeting place for people to work on similar projects, each one contributing with a part. Right now, e.Moped the open source electrical bicycle is asking for help, maybe you can drop by and lend a hand?

There is a lot of talk at Designoteca.com on how to make it better, so if you got suggestions, fire away!

Piracy control and the rise of Openness

Heads up: I´ve been reading Kevin Kelly´s “What Technology Wants” and I thoroughly recommend it. Some of the ideas I discuss here (such as the importance of language for progress) are discussed in his book. 

Language is arguably the single most important human invention. It freed us from being isolated in our own minds and opened the doors for sharing, debating, teaching and learning. It allowed us to pool our experiences together and participate in the making of culture. It was the invention that led to other inventions and their successful spreading.

Yet, today, we see a strong movement to wall up Intellectual Property and to better defend it against piracy. PIPA and SOPA have been dropped for now but I would not be surprised if these media-corporation-backed laws were to emerge again, with slightly different provisions. ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) can be used to frame, from a legal point of view, generic drugs as counterfeit drugs. It could also potentially allow for the search of laptops and media players at border controls (There is some discussion on this one). Right here in Portugal, police traffic patrols are checking vehicles for pirated media and everybody is warned not to have anything suspicious on their car.

Continue lendo “Piracy control and the rise of Openness”

Transparency forces value creation

I´m going to come clean on this one: I´m not the best at joining social media. Definitely no early adopter, that is. This being said, you are warned that what I´m about to say is probably no big news for the super involved type of person.

So, after deciding to go public, start a blog and start really using twitter, I´ve become aware of the effect of transparency and how it is great incentive to create value. If you share the list of people and institutions that you follow, it is “crazy easy” to figure out if the things you say are mere repetition or the creation of your own synthesis.

I´m using the twitter/blog/internet at large example, but I feel this can be expanded to pretty much everything. When people can see the references you consult, it is possible to gauge your contribution. Academic research projects are very much like this, for example.

One of the main advantages of the current time is the easy access to information. One of the main disadvantages of the current time also happens to be the easy access to information.

I´ve seen plenty of me-too content (hell, it is quite possible you see this post as such) and it is a pity. It strikes me a missed opportunity and the equivalent of pretending to be something you are not. We all have unique points of view on a few things, especially when we free ourselves from following the bandwagon.

It is our unique combination of experiences, skills and interests that makes us interesting.
Copying the gurus cannot lead to anything novel.

So, it might be better to start aggregating all those streams you follow into your unique story. This is advice I´ll be trying to follow to the best of my ability.

And by the way, am I being captain obvious? Sometimes one thinks of things that are later dismissed due to “being damn evident” and later when someone else gets accolades for similar thoughts, we get royally pissed off.

IP needs protection, not genocide.

Just this week with the #SOPA and #PIPA protests, we realized that Openness and Intellectual Property (IP) are often a difficult mix. It seems that something must be done to protect IP, but whatever we do should not be cutting the air supply of everything else.
Don´t kills the bees while trying to scare away the flies.

For an artist, I suppose that having access to more ideas matters more than having bullet-proof protection for her own creations. This principle of disproportional punishment serves not creators, but just distributors of content. Excused from all responsibilities except providing a medium for presentations, middlemen fence their zoos while neutering the entire wildlife on the outside. That´s a whole lot of ball chopping.

Continue lendo “IP needs protection, not genocide.”