June 11th, 2012
Today, I saw a link to an article by the person who coined the term “open source” about “Evaluating the Harm From Closed Source”. It is a well thought-out reasoning on how to evaluate the ethics of the harm done by proprietary software. Since I don’t get a chance to opine on philosophical issues here as much lately, I had to pass it along.
It is however a secular perspective. While “remember[ing] that the goal of all your ethical rules is the reduction of harm, and act[ing] accordingly” encapsulates that secular ethical perspective, I believe it is only part of the Christian ethical perspective. For Christians “do no harm” may be part of the answer, but adding “do good” as Christ did for us adds additional ethical weight to the argument. We shouldn’t be just hoping to limit harm to our (cyber-)neighbors, but seeking to edify, encourage, support, love and commune with them as well.
Adding food for thought and continuing the conversation on how to rethink ethics in a digital world.
January 22nd, 2012
So, this article is months old now (sorry I’ve been really busy with family stuff). But I still wanted to pass on this article from The Economist titled “What Would Jesus Hack? Cybertheology: Just how much does Christian doctrine have in common with the open-source software movement?” It turns out that I’m not the only one that has seen the similarities in the values of the two…
August 18th, 2011
I recently ran across this 3D artist’s perceptions about moving from commercial to free, open source software. I appreciated what I believe to be an objective analysis of the costs and benefits of commercial and open source software. Sure, the commercial software has some nice features that you’ll have to live without…but do those really affect your artistic expression? Probably not. How much do you gain by moving to free, open source alternatives like the time you gain for artistic work when you don’t have to analyze the financial costs of upgrades, plugins and other up-sells that keep subtracting from your personal or professional budget? I’m guessing most non-profits and churches identify closely with the author’s tension caused by “[wishing] to conduct business in a legal, sustainable fashion amidst a struggling economy”.
There are many very full-featured free, open source alternatives to all of the mainstream art and production software. Give them a try…you just might find that free is freeing in more ways than just in your pocketbook…
June 16th, 2011
Ran across this article from Collide magazine. The author asks a lot of good introspective questions about church services and what that means about priorities. Of course, why limit that to only your church services? Why not ask that about other parts of the church including your IT strategy? About the type of computers and software you use? What do you elevate? And what does that say about your church? Does it say exclusion or inclusion? Does it say selfishness or sharing? Once you know what it does say about your church, it then follows on to ask the original authors question: what should we be elevating? When you ask and answer those questions, my guess would be that more Christians and churches would be using (and creating too) more open source software and sharing more of their content with Creative Commons licensing. But that’s just a guess.
June 2nd, 2011
Hey everyone, I haven’t been posting much lately as we’ve been busy getting my wife back to health. For those interested, she has been responding very well to treatment. Thanks for your prayers!
Every once and a while I come across a post that is just good to pass along without much commentary. Here’s one by BlenderGuru about creating title animations in Blender. If nothing else, it will show you a glimpse into the huge feature set and completely reworked user interface of Blender 2.5. Multimedia has become an integral part of many churches, so why not try out Blender and save your church some dollars by avoiding expensive production software (and hardware)?
Creating a Sizzle Title Intro In Blender
January 12th, 2011
Just saw this pointer to a couple video compilations showing some of what is possible these days with Blender 2.55, the open source animation, compositing, and many-other-things-multimedia software. If you’ve been wanting to do some more advanced stuff, but can’t take the financial hit of After Effects or Cinema 4D (or anything else really) it would be worth it to try out the latest Blender. It’s not for the faint of heart though, it’s a serious program with serious power. Take a look!
January 4th, 2011
As one of the originators of the free software movement, Richard Stallman has an interesting analysis of the current WikiLeaks situation. Since this is very related to my series on Rethinking Ethics in a Digital World, I encourage you to seriously consider some of the points Stallman brings up. While some would write him off as an extremist, I believe it’s hard to argue with the analogy he plays out showing how much privacy, control and freedom we have given up in our society as a result of the move into the digital age. When it comes down to it, these become ethical issues about censorship and human rights in a digital world which have always related directly to our God-given rights and freedoms as an individual creation of God.
What are your thoughts on Stallman’s argument?
December 7th, 2010
Several weeks ago, someone at the ChurchCreate blog sent out a link to free and good commercial use fonts. One of the main sites they referenced was The League of Moveable Type where you can download several high quality and completely open source fonts. Very cool!
Post back here and let me know if you use them in a project…
November 30th, 2010
I just wanted to welcome Lightworks into the open source family of software. It is still in process of being fully open-sourced, but the first step has happened and you may now freely download the same application used to edit Pulp Fiction, The Departed, Centurion and Shutter Island. Not a bad resume, I think. Right now, Lightworks is Windows-only, but since there isn’t an easy to use non-linear video editor on Windows in the open source world, it’ll be great to add that support.
Let me know your thoughts if you end up checking it out. I will be waiting until Linux is supported which will hopefully end up on their road map eventually. But, still a really great addition to the suite of tools of pro video editing. Thanks, Lightworks!
November 15th, 2010
The Kdenlive team recently posted with tips on using your HDDSLR footage with Kdenlive. I know a lot of the church community is using DSLRs in their video workflow because of the high quality and low price point compared to anything else. Kdenlive is a very capable (but still maturing) non-linear video editor that compares to FinalCut Pro, Vegas, Premiere, etc. Hope this helps!