Get the Franklin Street Tumblr Theme

Very early on in the process of setting up the new Some Random Dude, I mentioned that all work done on and for this site would be made available as open source and/or free. It is something that I feel very strongly about and am deeply committed to following through on for as long as this blog is active. As a small first gesture, I am offering up the theme used for the Some Random Dude Tumblr site. Feel free to use it, alter it and improve upon it as you see fit. If you do not have a Tumblr account yet, I highly suggest that you get one — it is a genuinely great service. Continue reading “Get the Franklin Street Tumblr Theme”

Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts Album is About MUCH More Than Music.

If you have been reading this blog for even a moderate length of time, you are most likely aware of the unusually high amount of Nine Inch Nails articles on this site (seen here and here to name a few). Considering the general theme of this blog, I could see how this could be seen as strange to many. Still, I tend to write a lot about how digital media (which design-technology intersects with) is changing not only mainstream media, but the society which consumes it – which in turn impacts how we do our work. For the past two years, Nine Inch Nails has really been on the frontlines of pushing media away from the consolidated, copyright-heavy, corporate-run model to a distributed, grassroots, artist-run model.

Last night, Nine Inch Nails released Ghosts I-IV, an independently-produced album that is available for download for the price of $5. There are 36 songs in this album, so that $5 looks even more reasonable than ever. For those of you into the tangible, CDs can be purchased as well. Additionally, 9 songs are available completely for free – no questions asked. While this is distribution model is new, it is not new – we have seen it with In Rainbows and Niggy Tardust, each with their own little tweaks on it. However, make no mistake, Ghosts is unlike any other album distribution we have seen.
Continue reading “Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts Album is About MUCH More Than Music.”

My, How Far Flash Video Has Come

For the few people out there still questioning the validity of Flash video as the best, if not only, solution for the web, you have to watch this. Make sure to click the ‘Maximize’ button in the top-left corner in order to see what I mean. Flash applications built in Actionscript 3 allow for a fullscreen mode – allowing things such as video to be viewed in a much more traditional, theatrical manner. Surprisingly high-quality video can now be easily viewed over the web with no server-side streaming software – allowing anyone with ample bandwidth to provide video to its audience.

This ability for rich media experiences to be delivered on the cheap is one more reason that: 1) Flash (or perhaps another future rich media delivery system) is going to become an even more integral part of the web/browser experience, and, 2) The TV, in its current form, is becoming more obsolete by the day. We all saw this coming, I am just utterly blown away at the pace that it is occurring. If you thought the public liked web video before, just wait until the next batch of video players to hit the scene that take advantage of all the features Flash 9/Actionscript 3 have to offer. It will make the current phenomenon look pitiful in comparison.

Via Flex RIA

This American Life Coming to Showtime – The Only Real Reason To Own a TV Nowadays

This American LifeMany of you who know me are well aware that my wife and I do not own a TV – nor do we plan to get one in the foreseeable future. However, after hearing the radio show This American Life was coming to Showtime as a TV series, I personally felt the slightest twinge to jump on the boob-tube bandwagon. It is no surprise to me that a channel such as Showtime would create such a series – frankly, anything resembling This American Life would never survive on network or basic cable TV. On a side note, I find it hilariously predictable how much better the website is for the Showtime version of This American Life than its public radio equivalent. To be expected I guess.

My wife and I have been long-time fans of this show and wish it the fullest of success on TV. Honestly, I could just as easily see folks swarming to it as I could see people not getting it and quickly moving on. Being so far detached from the culture of television at this point, I am not sure if I understand the medium enough anymore to be able to make a valid prediction. Still, I cannot express how happy I am to see a TV network willing to take a chance on something well worth it. As Ira Glass has made very clear, the radio show is not going away – the two will exist together. My hope is that some of the progressive methods that public radio and This American Life have instituted – free podcasts, audio downloads of programs, etc. – will be brought into the Showtime program as well. I know that one person cannot change a whole industry, and a very established industry at that. Still, my hope is that a little bit of public radio will rub off on this one show. Perhaps TV execs will then notice that fans react well to the attitude public radio fosters – you know, putting the priority of distributing the medium to the wide audience possible over pulling in the highest profit. I guess we will see…

Creative Payment Model For Indie Film – Big Media Could Learn a Lesson

Things like this get me really excited…

Very few of us enjoy the close-boxed mentality of big media. The whole mindset essentially flies right in the face of how the web works and continues to ignore how society interacts with media. I just ran across an example of how media 2.0 and the internet’s open model has seemed to influence an independent film titled Revoloution.

The premise is quite simple – moviegoers can watch the movie for free and then decide how much they wish to pay after they have finished watching it. We all have gone to movies and have felt quite robbed from the experience. Many people do not frequent theaters as often because it is not worth the gamble to spend a sizable chunk of change on something they may not like. Big-business media will almost assuredly never sign onto something like this for various reasons – one being that their product is, well, bad. Hollywood is already losing money, this would just speed up the process. Nonetheless, this model could be a much more beneficial model for aspiring filmmakers to garner an audience and begin to create buzz on a particular piece of work.

I could see a more hybridized version of this type of payment where less is paid up front and a ‘tip’ is requested after the movie is over. If I only had to pay $4 to $5 to get into a movie, I might just start going to movies again. Additionally, if the movie is decent, I definitely would provide a tip. Of course this model is more risky than the pay-up-front model, but with declining ticket sales, they may want to consider taking a few risks and getting creative. One thing I do know, hiking up the price of tickets is not going to work.

For more details on this experiment, watch the video below:

Much of the media online is free without even the slightest hint of payment. Even for the lucky (and talented) individuals publishing high-quality work exclusively on the web, compensation still is a challenge. However, people are making it and some are doing quite well for themselves. With the rise in popularity of web media with its low overhead and much less profit, big business is going to need to rethink payment models and the content they are willing to spend millions on to produce. (Many) people know crap when they see it – sadly, the majority of all media (internet or not) falls into that category. However, on the web, I do not have to pay $15 or sit through 20 minutes of commercials to see it.

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Daily Delicious – Design Like You Give a Damn

Yes, many of us know the phrase “Design Like You Give a Damn” from the book published by Architecture for Humanity. Well, the radio program To The Best of Our Knowledge just had an amazing program on this very subject. As you can expect, the founder of Architecture for Humanity was featured in it. The program went into many different examples of how design can help solve many of the global problems we face while improving the overall quality of life for the inhabitants of this world. The entire hour was quite inspiring and well worth the listen, no matter your walk of life.

The topic of how design can make the world a better place is definitely not new – however, more people seem to actually be interested nowadays. For most of its existence, design has been grossly misunderstood. With our generation receiving the torch (whether voluntary or not) from the “Me Generation”, I find it highly hopeful and motivating that topics such as these are gaining more interest.

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