Adventures in Podcasting: Laser Time


For this assignment, I wanted to write about a show I discovered recently that I have become completely enamored with. This show is clever, charismatic, and covers things you would expect but not expect. If you love classic cartoons, television, and other pop culture from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and other days past, Laser Time is the show for you.

The episode I listened to for this analysis was “Live Action/Animation Hybrids.” It really engaged me and so I was excited to write about it. For as silly as the subject matter is, I was very impressed with how professional the setup and structure of the show was. They implement music and soundbites from the media they talk about, which keeps listeners engaged and gives them a quick point of reference. Each episode is driven by its host, who provides plenty of obscure and fun trivia.

From the first episode I listened to, I was completely taken aback by host Chris Antista’s smooth, consistent radio voice. He is well-versed in radio style and knows how to keep a conversation going. As a radio/podcast host myself, I really want to meet him someday and hope that some of his immense skill will rub off on me! The variety of co-hosts he had on with him were all lively, and had interesting points and experiences to share about each of the subjects brought up.

Rather than having commercials, Laser Time uses interstitials to promote other shows in their network, such as Vidjagame Apocalypse and Cape Crisis, which specialize in video games and comics respectively. After doing some additional research, I learned this is because the team behind Laser Time runs the shows out of their own pocket (and from fan donations). They also release other content -including videos, livestreams, and blog articles- on a weekly basis via their YouTube channel, Twitch account, and website.

Through this structure and content, I think Laser Time is an excellent exemplar of the podcast format. I highly recommend it to anyone in need of a new podcast for their downtime.

Orphan Works

Orphan Works are original works of authorship, like scripts, books, paintings, films, etc, where the copyright information is unknown or can’t be found. In order to use most works of art, the copyright owner is needed by law to grant permission for someone else's use of the work. Therefore, the orphan works have caused problems for decades, because artists (rightfully) want credit for their creations, but when an owner is not easily found, it may be declared an orphan work when it isn't. Sometimes this happens purposely. However, most of the laws and controversies apply only to twentieth century art, as works created before 1923 are exclusively in the public domain and therefore allowed to be used for libraries, academia, etc.

Right now, anyone who uses an orphan work without permission runs the risk that the copyright owner may bring an infringement lawsuit for damages, except when there is a specific exception or limitation to the copyright. Wrongful use, even by accident, can cost a substantial amount of money, and it's often not something people want to take a risk on.

The person who has taken this risk is Google's CEO, Larry page. As part of their mass-digitization project, they have been working on scanning the 150 million or so books in existence and putting them on Google Books. However, this has caused many problems and it's probably the biggest controversy surrounding the subject. Google has gone to court and lost many times for the project. Google claims that all of the books are orphan works, but quite a few have been found to have copyright owners. Google had been publishing these books knowing that the owner was out there. The most famous was Google's six year fight against the Authors Guild, where U.S. Circuit Denny Chin ruled against Google's Book Settlement in 2008. A year later, Google tried submitted and amended version, but it was again rejected at the prospect only protecting a work by the copyright owner opting-out. It is speculated that if Google were to re-amend the settlement with an opt-in program instead of an opt-out feature, Chin would be more likely to accept it.

There are many who believe that the orphan works laws and accompanying fear is a waste of the information they offer and possibly debilitating to the quality of the work itself. If the copyright laws were lightened, then the many works that are restricted because of their orphan status, would be available for use by the pubic. But, that would also make thwarting the laws easier.

Ultimately, Congress has the power to pass or amend copyright laws. There are organizations such as the Copyright Office and the Copyright Registrar who advise Congress. Their most recent round table in Washington was March 10-11, 2014, and they accepted comments from the public until April 14, 2014. However, because of the controversial subject, the bills have been put on hold by Congress multiple times.

Eventually, some kind of mass-digitization contract will have to be agreed on. We live in a digital age, and many people are upset with the orphan works are currently handled.

Works Cited:

Net Neutrality


-Questions behind net neutrality ask what degree of control you ISP (Internet Service Provider) should exercise  over your internet connection.

-For example, rather than charge you one flat rate to access the internet, ISPs could instead create a teired model where you pay for access to certain sites.

-While ISPs might advocate this kind of pricing scheme, others want the Internet to remain a more free environment where newer, smaller companies aren't put at the disadvantage against tech giants as a result of tiered pricing.

-Internet service providers should provide with open networks and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks.

-ex) Your phone company ahouldn't decide who you can call and what to say on that call. CONTENT


-Net neutrality poses the question of who can regulate what on the internet? The internet is considered a public utility, and with the introduction of a public utility, questions of regulation and competition come into play

-As different internet service providers began providing internet access, competition between businesses followed. This encouraged ISPs to block or slow content that was being accessed by other ISPs. Net neutrality pushed against this.

Standards and Implications:

-As of Feb. 26, 2015 the standards and implications of net neutrality are the same. Net neutrality implies a free and public internet that can be accessed by anyone with network access at any time, equally within the same connection.

-On Feb 26, 2015, the FCC approved Tom Wheeler's proposal that gave internet users the strongest protection and freedom possible.

-The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulates the standards for net neutrality. The FCC is an independent agency of the US government, created by Congress, to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all territories of the US.

The Future:

-Hard to say. The regulations will be published soon in the Federal Register and become effective 60 days after publication. But opponents have indicated they plan to challenge the new rules in court. Some Republicans in Congress are pushing open-Internet legislation that would actually supersede the FCC rules.


Works Cited

Let's Talk Digital Millennium Copyright Act

In order to understand the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we need to explore a little history. In 1996, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (which is an agency of the UN) met to create several treaties concerning copyright law and intellectual property. In 1998, those treaties were presented to Congress, which created the legislation called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to satisfy two of those treaties. It was signed by President Clinton and went into effect in 2000.

The laws contained many detailed provisions, but here are some main points. It set rules to stop people from avoiding technological protection and copyright. It set limits on how liable online service providers were held for copyright infringement posted by a user. It confirmed the first sale doctrine, which states that the owner of a copy of a work has the right to dispose of that copy. It updated archival laws, so that the owner of a copy of a work had the right to make another copy purely for archival purposes. It also mandated further studies on the effects of the mandates and electronic commerce.

The DMCA was an important step in copyright law, as it essentially transitioned it into the Digital Age. It was intended to balance the promotion of electronic commerce and piracy prevention laws aiding copyright owners with existing limits on the exclusive rights of copyright holders.

The DMCA laws had to meet the requirements laid out by the WIPO. The standards of the DMCA are determined by the government, as it is law. It is a collaboration between the U.S. Copyright Office and the Department of Commerce. There was also input from the Librarian of Congress prior to passing the law, who created rules for exceptions to copyright law under fair use standards. However, the DMCA places much responsibility on service providers to adhere to DMCA takedown notices, or else they will be held legally responsible for the violating content.

There is much controversy surrounding the DMCA, even to this day. From the start, many people felt that it leaned too far in favor of copyright holders, therefore limiting innovation and fair use.

Many companies that search for violation of their copyright use robots to scan websites. These are extremely flawed; they often scan file names and metadata, rather than the content of the actual site. Therefore, they issue DMCA takedown notices for websites that actually do not violate copyright at all. For example, last August, Total Wipes Music Group sent Google about 15,000 takedown requests. It was discovered that many of the pages it targeted were based on the robot’s search for the word “coffee.” Total Wipes later said that this was caused by a bug in the system, but regardless, this just exhibits the flawed nature of the systems being used to detect copyright infringement.

In fact, in the last month alone, Google received over 32 million takedown requests. For service providers, it’s safer to comply with DMCA regulations and remove the content, rather than risk being held responsible for copyright violation. Many protestors cite a huge lack in human oversight on these notices. Instead, DMCA notices are based on the “good faith belief” that the content truly violates copyright. In reality, many of the URLs targeted actually have nothing to do with the content they’re said to infringe upon.

This lack of oversight also takes on a more malicious turn in a recent court case involving WordPress. Earlier this month, Automattic (the company that owns and their journalist Oliver Hotham won a two-year court case involving censorship through the DMCA.

Two years ago, Hotham conducted an interview with a press officer from an anti-gay rights group called Straight Pride UK. In his blog post about the interview, which was posted on WordPress, Hotham included quotes from a response sent to him by Straight Pride UK in a document titled “Press Release.” Straight Pride UK got a lot of backlash from Hotham’s blog post, so in response, they claimed that his post violated the copyright of the press release, and threatened to send a DMCA takedown notice. Hotham took the post down voluntarily, but he and Automattic investigated DMCA laws and eventually took Straight Pride UK to court for sending a DMCA notice when they knew that it did not actually violate any copyright protections. Automattic won the court case, and was granted $1,000 in damages.

As for the future of the DMCA, it will continue to be crucial to copyright protection online. However, it needs to undergo some reforms in order to be more effective. Some of these reforms should come from within, and some from without. The original goal of the DMCA was to evolve along with digital technology, and it has fallen behind. It needs to recognize more instances of fair use than it addresses in its original form. It should also create standards for valid issuing of DMCA notices, so that original online content cannot be targeted, either accidentally or with malicious censorship.

There should also be reforms from the outside, particularly in regards to service providers. Google provides a Transparency Report that is open to the public. This is how Total Wipes’ abuse of DMCA notices was discovered. Third party users read the report and noticed the abuses. I think that more service providers will follow in Google’s footsteps and make that content open to the public. I also hope that the skyrocketing instances of bogus DMCA charges will alert service providers that they need to include more human oversight of DMCA takedown requests in order to ensure they’re all valid.


Final Project: A Home for My Creative Collaboration

Ok, I’m going to warn you that my final project portfolio takes a little bit of explaining on the background info.

Last semester, I collaborated with some friends on an audio-visual project we called Voices in the Wilderness. We started with the idea that people often interpret and react to poetry and other written works in different ways because we all read and experience them in different settings, and bring different prior experiences and memories to the table.

So we decided to experiment with creating another common factor: the visual element. We all wrote several poems and found common themes between them. This inspired the order into which we organized them, as well as the visuals we chose to display. My friend David filmed all the visuals, and we collaborated with some Emerson voice actors to read the poems.

The final result was posted on YouTube, but from the start, we wanted to create more than just a YouTube page, but an entire home for it on the internet. This is what I hope to create with my final project.

I want to have a home for the video, as well as bios for the writers and voice actors. I would also like to provide text for the poems we included.

This semester, we’ve started working on a second installment, with another writer added to our group. I’d like to provide updates about that process and eventually add that final project to the site.

Additionally, my friend David has turned this project into an Emerson-sponsored final project within his own studies. The curator for Emerson’s art exhibits in the Tufte building loved our work, and he and David are now creating an installation in the City Place alleyway. There will be sculptures of ears installed in the planting beds, with QR codes attached to the poles in the alley, which will allow people to listen into our voices. David has also proposed his idea to President Pelton as a project that could be expanded in the Emerson community with additional art installations around campus, and President Pelton has shown enthusiastic interest.

Therefore, I’d like to also provide updates on the website about David’s portion of the physical installment of the project. In its final manifestation, the website will be a resource for hearing our collaborative work, and also serve the purpose as acting as a partial portfolio for both the writers and voice actors.

My perspective in this project is that of a writer, editor, and artist of this work. Our target audience is largely Emerson students, as the upcoming installation is outside our campus, but it is also open to the public, so any Bostonian who walk through the alleyway is also a target. (It’s right outside the State Transportation Building.)

As for the specifics of the website, I would like to remove the “www.” But I’m not sure what the ending of the domain name will be yet. I think it would be best to publish randomly; that is, I’d like to publish when we have specific, important updates in the project to post about.

I think that I’ll be doing most of the writing, but I’d also like to open it up to the other writers in the project to give different perspectives and voices. I also would like to accept comments, because people might give us suggestions and inspiration for future themes and installments.

I want to create a beautiful website that measures up to the quality of content that we’ve already created in our words and visuals (and are continuing to create in our second installment). I want to create a home on the web for a project I’m really proud of!


Oh yeah, and here's a link to our project, currently on YouTube!

The Home Page of the Internet

I know. This title sounds ambitious. But stay with me.

I was grappling with a lot of different ideas for my final project. I considered a portfolio, and a blog, and some other things, but at the end of the day I just really wanted to have fun with this project. With this in mind, I started brainstorming how I could make this happen, and what sort of website I could make for the benefit of my own amusement…

I began to think of all of the routines that I go through whenever I open up my Chrome browser. I immediately jump to facebook, then hop over to youtube for any subscriber updates or new videos, and then end up on reddit and imgur to surf the front pages there.

I then started to think about how inconvenient it is to have to keep opening a new tab or how I need to get off of my current page in order to surf a new one. I then came to a strange idea:

A personalized homepage for the user! On this page, maybe the user can enter in different websites that they browse or subscribe to, and it could consolidate all of them into one easy page for the user to browse instead of having to open up multiple tabs or refreshing their current page every time they need to go to a new website.

Our current age is all about simplicity and consolidation. We want to arrive at an answer or destination in the fewest possible steps. So why do we confine ourselves with so many different tabs for websites? Could we just have one site that remembered our favorite choices and brought them to us easily? This is the sort of website I want to create.

The input interface could possibly resemble seehearparty

And the relay of information and subscriptions could maybe derive a list-like quality like how youtube or reddit do it.

Maybe this is too ambitious to work, but I like to think it's a pretty cool concept!

Final Project: A Portfolio/Blog Combo

For my final project, I want to create a portfolio to showcase my work for future readers and employers. However, I have no design experience, so my website would be only writing. The problem with that is that I don't have enough writing that is ready to be published to fill a whole website.

To solve this problem, I am going to combine a personal portfolio with a blog. I've been trying to start up a blog, and I think this will be the perfect chance to do so. Not only will it make my website more interesting because I would be talking about a lot of different subjects, but it would help me create a presence online if I ever manage (hopefully) to write a book good enough to publish.

Since I plan to work with different types of writing, I don’t want to use a traditional blog layout. I want the home page to feature just the newest piece or piece I happen to be really proud of with a link to the category it’s in. This way, I can feature my more serious work along with the blog. As for categories, I think I'm going to separate them into fiction, personal essays, articles, and blog posts. The blog posts would consist of movie or book reviews, cooking, pop culture, travel, and other subjects, because I don't really know what my niche is yet. I also feel that even though I could loose some people who are really into certain subject, I could potentially gain a larger audience by broadening the subject. It would also give me the chance to practice different types of writing. If my blog is really interesting, then people would see more of my stories and articles.

Cassandra Clare is the author of several young adult fantasy series. Her website’s design plays on her being an author and the fantasy elements of her writing. As a fantasy-lover, I love the design because it reminds of the genre and it works well with what she does. Her design is very specific, I like that it stands out so much while staying clean and easy to navigate. I want to come up with a memorable design as well.

Heather Fesmire is a writing and publishing graduate student here at Emerson that did graphic design for her undergraduate. In her portfolio, she combines the her work in design, writing, and multimedia in a simple, but attractive website. It has a good basic structure and I like how the main image stays on every page. I'm not a fan of the font or the white background, but I love the quotes she has in each section.

Lauren Kate, another young adult fiction author, has her website set up different from Cassandra Clare. The first page is her blog, but there is a link on the top navigation bar to the website for her . The home page of the novels site reflects her most famous series, but has all of her work neatly and a link back to her blog. I think this is a great way to give focus on her blog as well as her books. Also, the novel website has the black and white picture in the background, which I really like, as I talked about in my last blog post.

UPDATE: I think I'm going to focus on traveling instead, and not post my personal portfolio. I will write about the places I've been, places I want to go, posts photos, given tips and tricks, and different ways to travel, like volunteering, etc.

Sometimes I play the guitar

…so I thought it would be cool to design a website that promotes my music. I'm in the very beginning stages of recording my second album with a fellow Emersonian as my producer, but as far as getting my music out into the world, I have accomplished very little other than my (relatively boring) Soundcloud and Facebook pages. Oh, and Bandcamp. I have a Bandcamp too. All the cool kids were doing it.

But what I really want is to have a link that I can put on a business card that would take people to my site, where you can hear tracks, download albums, maybe read self-indulgent blog posts about the influences of feminist literary theory on my songwriting because that's totally something I would do. I think this would also be a good way of encouraging myself to listen to a wider range of music for the purpose of blogging about it: a networking tool as well as an incentive to broaden my horizons and reach further with my musical antennae.

As far as inspiration, I don't think any musician has a site quite like Bjork. The abstract, planetary sketches rearrange into words or images when you hover over links to different sections in the site. There's also some wacky stuff done with fonts here. I don't think I'd go for anything as intricate as this site, but the immersive theme is really well done; I want to create something thematically consistent.

A popular feature on musicians'/band's sites seems to be a page from which you enter the rest of the site: examples include Sigur RosAndrew Belle, and Ingrid Michaelson. I think that's a nice feature to have; it gives a significant first impression without overloading the user with information from the get-go.

One site (and band) that I adore is alt-J. When browsing the sites of some other favorite musicians, I was a little overwhelmed by the number of tabs offering different places to visit in the site; alt-J's site instead features a single scrolling page that, as you scroll down, reveals a header with different navigational options. That really grabbed my attention. The order of information really works for me too: all you get on that first page is social media links, then news highlights, then a few tracks to listen to. It's enough for a good overview of the band, but if you want more information, it's there to be found in the revealed tabs as you scroll.

This is exciting for me! I'm looking forward to giving my music some actual attention and effort for the first time.

I Wish I Was Youtube Famous But For Now I'll Make a Portfolio

The topic of my final project for this semester is going to be a portfolio. I have played around with a lot of other things I’m interested in for the past week—like a blog where I can post all my feminist rants AND makeup tutorials at the same time (confession: I actually just want to be youtube famous)—but a porfolio is more practical. I want to go into design. I want to get work, and I want to have everything I’ve done in one place. I want to have something fancy and pretty and easy to distribute to employers. A portfolio would benefit me the most and would be fairly easy to keep up because it only requires updating when I’ve created new material. I can become youtube famous once I have at least a five-figure salary.

I actually got the inspiration for a portfolio from visiting a friend’s website. Allison Trujillo (who goes by “Truj”) is not only a resident EmCeleb, but she’s also very successful already, and she hasn’t even graduated. Having an online portfolio makes it easier for her to export her work—and to send employers links to particular sections, if she needs to—and it makes it easy for people to find her on the internet.

Allison Truj's homepage Graphics page


Above you can see Truj's homepage, and then a page in her "design" category. The clickthrough arrows and consistent branding create a directed flow that makes you feel like she's walking you through her résumé herself.

In doing research for this project, I also came across some other portfolio examples that I liked—Adhemas Batista is a graphic designer from Los Angeles whose website is mostly pictures with a heading that has pretty much all the personal information that you need to know to get in contact with him. I’m not crazy about the way big red bars appear when you scroll over the images, but having them all clickable and bigger on your screen is inviting and fun—and it helps that his work makes you feel like you’re in Candy Land and you just want to explore more.

Moranpalmoni and Ed Harrison are really similar. I don’t know much about them personally—I just found them during research—but both of these websites have pictures as the main focus. Moranpalmoni is an architecture company that uses full screen pictures to create space within the webpage, which makes their product seem more real just by clicking on their page. And Ed Harrison has, again, what I like about Adhemas Batista’s website—clickable pictures as the main focus, and a header with all relevant information. The portfolio speaks for itself.

Ed's website

Architecture design

My only hesitation is that, compared to the above designers, I have very little work to show off. Creating my portfolio may have to have just stock images—or, god forbid, work I did in high school—while I slowly build. At least I can have the website itself as something concrete that I have designed, and my target audience—employers—will be able to see my work in an organized, complete way.

Proposal: Personal Portfolio + Disney Blog

I have decided to go with a personal portfolio, mostly because I think it will be very beneficial in showing off a variety of skills to future employers, from what my resume actually entails to my new skill of web design. I hope to be able to personalize it somehow (maybe a blog with new posts every so often? maybe not? I'm not sure yet) so that it isn't as run-of-the-mill as many other websites are, but I'm open to ideas.

Some websites I found that are helping me mold my ideas are: (This page isn't the most interesting, but has a lot of the content that I'm looking for. I don't mind the organization. I hope to be able to do something that achieves this overall effect, but is much more sophisticated.) (I like how sleek this webpage is. I don't know if I want to have all of my content on one page, but I do like what he's included and, most importantly, how it looks. I really like the design on this one, and I think I can adapt that for my needs.) (I strongly dislike the design of this website, but I love the idea of offering freelance services. I'm not sure if anyone would hire me at this point in my life, but I think it might be worth a shot! I'm toying with this idea.)

UPDATE: As a part of my portfolio website, I am adding a blog component based around one of my passions – Disney. I hope to post a variety of content based around Disney, such as review of books published through Disney's publishing outlets, a spotlight on current events happening in the parks around the world, and new films being released, among other topics. My goal would be to be a voice in the Disney community that is unique enough to stand independently from the big fan websites.

The Professional Life of Me

My final project will be a site dedicated to marketing myself and my abilities. It's truly incredible how egotistical that sounds when typed out. I already have a LinkedIn account, which does a great job of categorizing my work; however, I would love to have a website with my personal touches on it. My goal is to create a space that allows employers and clients to see who I am and how I utilize my creative talents professionally.

The sections I will include (though not necessarily titled this way) are About Me, Work, and Blog. The about me section will look more like a resume with a paragraph of interests, hobbies, and personal career goals. This section will also be where I can be contacted, though I would like that information present on each page or part of my website so that a visitor can just look at the top or side of the section and immediately know how to reach me. The work section will be divided up into design work, projects, and writing. I have samples of designs I have completed that show my knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite, but I am also currently working on rebranding a company. Then there is my writing, which can be subdivided into creative writing pieces and professional writing pieces (these would consist of the reviews and interviews I have written for school magazines and published magazines). The blog is a space where I can write about what is going on in my professional life and where I am with my career goals.

My target audience are employers and clients. There are many fields I am interested in pursuing from publishing to marketing to the wonderful world of video games, and, in that, there will be opportunities to work as a freelancer or for a company. My site will be the place I link employers when I send out applications so they can get a good sense of my talents and aspirations. It will be a piece of information I can include on my business cards, so I want it to reflect who I am.

For inspiration I have visited Claudio Calautti's page, Rafael Derolez's page, and our own Collin Matthew's page. What I like about Claudio's site is that he takes mobile devices into consideration for his design. People are using mobile devices to access websites more and more, so it is important that I make my site compatible for that use. He also has a lot of interactive design elements (like pop-up octagons featuring his work) that I find fun and inviting. There is a minor issue with the load time of his site, but he mentions in his About section how his goal is to limit that time while utilizing the same elements of design. Rafael has a single page portfolio, which is something I'm still very interested in doing. This kind of design allows all of your content to be out in the open so that all a visitor has to do is keep scrolling or thumbing down the page. If I do pursue this kind of design, though, I want to be sure it is easy to get back to the top of a page without having to scroll all the way back up through everything that has already been seen. I also don't want it to be a button that rapidly flashes back through the content because that personally gives me a headache. Collin's site does a wonderful job of combining one-page design with multi-section capabilities. I love the floating navigation bar and how a user can click through the different sections while remaining on the same page. It gives the illusion that there is more than meets the eye initially. These are all things I want to take into consideration while creating my site.