Blog 3

This blog assignment posed some challenges for me because I didn’t know much about downloading.  I didn’t know a thing about free editing software, the Web 2.0, the Creative Commons licensing, or the GNU project.  When I claimed to be “okay” in computer literacy in the beginning of the course, I meant literacy in navigating the internet, Microsoft word, Power Point Programs, etc; I really did not consider anything beyond that scope.  Therefore, when I began this assignment, I was a little stumped. I do not download things at home, nor do I spend time editing videos, pictures, or music, so this was totally new to me.  I feel my research has presented me a ton of information, and I think I have found some half decent downloading programs for some of the purposes mentioned above.  However, I am excited to read what others post because I am sure some of my classmates will have great websites to share!

I began my search with the basic: Googling “free website backgrounds”.  I found a site that looked reputable, and that was easy to navigate, and I really liked some of the designs the site had to offer.  I think I will be using this site again in the near future.  Moreover, I could use some of the backgrounds for my blog site as well. Here is a link to the free website backgrounds and blog backgrounds.

 A site I found for video editing is here.  I liked this site because it displayed the top 5 free video editing software programs, and I thought this was a good guide for someone like me, who really does not know what they are looking for.

On a side note, I noticed in my search for free software a lot of programs looked to be free, but they really weren’t free.  On several sites, the demo version was free, but in order to continue to use the product, it had to be bought.  I also noticed that on the sites containing downloads that weren’t really free there were software “boxes” for the product.  Like the box you would buy from a store to buy the software program.  They offered consumers the free trial, but then they wanted you to purchase the product and the software. One site I found for site I found that looked to be totally free for the PDF editor was the Hammer site.

However, I did not know the purpose of PDF editors. So I did a little more research and learned PDF editors are helpful in writing annotations, adding text, changing text (fonts, etc) adding/deleting pictures, copying and pasting text, graphics, and pictures from PDF files. That makes much more sense.

Then I located a website that had 11 top photo editor sites for windows, with reviews, layouts, features, and “notes” on ways to be careful online when following a link to a “free” download. It seemed as though the site really had the consumer in mind.  Again, I liked how the editors were listed, and showed options, for people like me, who need to learn what the products have to offer.

Audacity seemed like a good audio editor, and their site included a little blurb on “free software”.  When I began this project I was thinking free software as in: zero dollars from my pocket, but the audacity website also posed the idea that free software also means freedom of speech. Whoa. This is true.  Audacity claimed, “free software gives you the freedom to use a program, study how it works, improve and share it with others”. I kept this in mind as I continued my research and found another interesting site that expanded more upon the idea of “free” downloads. Some brief points from the website include:

“Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.

Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes”.

This is very important for writing on the web, because it allows us to be active, rather than participants with the software (this was a big section considered by Landow from our earlier readings).  It gives us the option of using the software in not only work, but in play (I can think of a good friend who uses editing software for his music hobby).  With this freedom, we can distribute our works and our creativity to a community, and we can benefit others, as mentioned above.  We are not restricted to the developer’s purposes, we can create and redefine the programs for our specific uses.  And this is really cool when we think about it. It takes away the limitations.

Moving on, I had no idea what “2.0” meant, so I did a Google search.  I was lead to Wikipedia, which was a great place to start, and from my new understanding, “2.0 was the version of Windows that succeeded Windows 1.0 and began to allow Windows applications to overlap each other unlike its predecessor Windows 1.0, which could display only tiled windows. Windows 2.0 also introduced more sophisticated keyboard-shortcuts and the terminology of “Minimize” and “Maximize”, as opposed to “Iconize” and “Zoom” in Windows 1.0” (wikipedia.org). I also learned that the second generation of the World Wide Web was a movement away from static web pages, to dynamic, sharable content, and social networking  (wiktionary.org).  A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or change website content (which is what we want!) in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them. Web 2.0 websites allow users to do more than just retrieve information. Moreover, users can own the data on a Web 2.0 site and exercise control over that data (wikipedia.org).

The next part of the assignment led me to question, what is Creative Commons? Creative Commons is a “nonprofit organization that works to increase the amount of creativity in ‘the commons’ — the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, and remixing”. So my next question was about copyright laws, where do they fall into play? I found Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright, instead “they work alongside copyright, so you can modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs. We’ve collaborated with intellectual property experts all around the world to ensure that our licenses work globally.” (all this information was found at this website).   This in turn couples the new advances and creativity options developed in Web 2.0.

Lastly, I had to find out what a GNU project was.  Basically, “every computer user needs an operating system; if there is no free operating system, then you can’t even get started using a computer without resorting to proprietary software. So the first item on the free software agenda obviously had to be a free operating system.  The word “free” in “free software” pertains to freedom, not price. You may or may not pay a price to get GNU software. Either way, once you have the software you have three specific freedoms in using it. First, the freedom to copy the program and give it away to your friends and co-workers; second, the freedom to change the program as you wish, by having full access to source code; third, the freedom to distribute an improved version and thus help build the community” (all this information was found at this website).

The face of GNU

Therefore, all three areas we looked at, the Web 2.0, Creative Commons licensing, and the GNU project are closely related.  Without the Web 2.0 advancements, we would not have the ability or the functionality of using and navigating software programs so easily.  Through the software that we use we are able to be creative, share ideas, be active rather than passive participants with the Web, and in turn we benefit the community as a whole.  The Creative Commons and GNU project allow us these freedoms of creativity and access to software without copyright issues.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Hey, Jill! Great post! You really did your research and you offered quite a bit of helpful information. I didn’t know before reading your post that the “free” in “free software” meant freedom, as opposed to free of charge. I, too, came across the GNU, Creative Commons, and 2.0 definitions that you did and those really helped me understand the significance of these things when writing for the Web (because I had the same dilemma when starting this assignment–I didn’t know what those words meant either!). I came across Audacity, too, but I never even saw Hammer when I googled PDF editors; I’ll have to check that one out.

    All in all, you supplied our little learning collective with some good links to helpful sites and synthesized your research with clarity and authority. Thanks, and good job!

    Reply

  2. It seems we share the same kind of frustration with regard to this subject.

    It seems like you really did your research. A lot of what you put out is very helpful and despite my own research I did not come across some of the websites you suggested so– that is good news. Thank you.

    Reply

  3. It was helpful to read your blog before I started to write mine. Good research, well written, and very thorough.

    Reply

  4. Good Job! And other stuff. No but really… I stole some of your ideas.

    Reply

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