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Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Canada

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Top Ten Films of 2008

Chris Campbell

un_conte_de_noel.jpg2008 was another good year for film with many solid entries and it was probably one of the easier years for me to come up with a list of favourites for the year and to carefully consider what should and shouldn't be on the list. Here in roughly descending order are my top ten films: Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale), Synecdoche, New York, Visioneers, Frozen River, Tell No One, Rachel Getting Married, Be Kind Rewind, Man on Wire, Milk, and Slumdog Millionaire. If there are any themes that run through the films maybe it would be love, family, relationships and obsession, which is the stuff our lives are made of. The films looked and sounded gorgeous and were filled with beautiful moments and great performances. Read on for the reasons why these are my favourite films of the year and for the runners up that almost made my list.

Touched by an iPod

Chris Campbell

When I got my iPod with video a few years ago it changed the way that I related to the music that I listened to. While it had video capability, I never really used it for a lot of video. But it became my constant driving companion and preferred way of listening to podcasts. The iPod has always been a remarkable example of minimalist design, but with the iPod Touch, Apple takes it to the next level.
My combination birthday / Christmas present this year was a 32 GB iPod Touch and I absolutely love it. The applications are great and the wireless connectivity is changing the way I do a lot of stuff online. The first application that I purchased was the Premium version of Twitterific, which I use all the time. I keep up to date with my feeds with NetNewsWire and with Apple's Mail I check my Gmail. I'm writing this on my iPod (obviously) with the WordPress app, but I'm eagerly anticipating the iPhone version of MarsEdit. I haven't done a lot of actual productive stuff yet (aside from staying up-to-date with email and news) but I think that I'll be doing a lot more.

Creative Commons is Six

Chris Campbell

Creative Commons Sticker on My MacBook ProIt's hard to believe, but the Creative Commons project is 6 today. The project grew out of the battles over copyright and just after the licenses were released I wrote about it and all the content on this site has been under a Creative Commons license since then. That's over 350 posts that anyone is freely able to share as long as they give me credit and don't use it for commercial purpose. The genius of the CC project is that it appeals to our generosity in making it easier to share and find things that we can legally use to create new works. One of the things that initially made me excited about sharing photos on Flickr was the ease at adding CC licensing to your uploads very easily. Now I'm sharing 7,333 photos that are all under an Attribution-Noncommercial license, so if you want to use any photo you can if you give me credit and don't sell it. There are almost 13 million photos on Flickr with the same licence and millions more under other CC licenses.
To put my money where my mouth is, I've also joined the Creative Commons network which gives me an OpenID and a page that lets people know about the works that I've licensed (as well as a t-shirt, a sticker, and a cool USB stick with songs by Jonathan Coulton on it). If you create work I would encourage you to think about licensing it and if you look at photos, or video, read things online, or listen to music or audio, you can search and find almost anything that you legally share, remix and reuse. It's a wonderful new world thanks to the Creative Commons project and I'm proud and happy to be part of it.

What to Do When Your Computer is Away

Chris Campbell

Best. Present. Ever.The screen of my MacBook Pro (an aluminum one with an LED screen) is unfortunately one of the ones that is defective so it needs to be sent out. Luckily it's been intermittent, and I've got an external monitor at work and one at home, so when it does go out, I could still work. It's going out for repair tomorrow which means that I'll be working with a MacBook. Using Foxmarks and del.icio.us keeps my bookmarks organized, and with Sxipper I manage my logins, so I just had to backup my passwords to use them on the temporary computer. Over the past few months I've been using Time Machine with an external drive, so everything should be backed up, but I've also been burning DVDs as well as copying files to another external drive. So my documents are backed up and most of my mail is through Gmail, so it shouldn't be too much of a pain. NetNewsWire is great to use since it syncs and I won't notice any difference in my newsreading. But the biggest challenge turned out to be what to do with my iPod and how it syncs with iTunes.

small, specific, and real

Chris Campbell

leafinweb.jpgWhat makes something compelling in any form, mediated or not? Popularity means an audience but in that crowd, people form the connection.

Memories are not big. They are made of glances, touches, sounds, tastes, and smells. Shared transient moments that resonate in our heart.

Stories we love have details that are unique and individual. They're the seeds inside narratives that grow - a time, a place, a person.

Authenticity is vital. We crave the truth on many levels and when someone shares something, they are vulnerable and it is a leap of faith.

Twitter started me thinking about this as it forces you to cram things into a very small and specific box of 140 characters.

Constraints boil things down to what is essential in the same way that maple syrup is formed from boiling the sap from the maple tree.

We connect with things that are small, specific, and real. It's the essence of good storytelling as we share mediated bits of ourselves.