Several things from the first meeting of Course 2….

QR Codes
Interesting idea…basically an extended (vertically and horizontally) barcode, but I am not convinced of their value to education. The ideas for application that were given (orienteering, bone labeling) would add an element of interest and motivation for the students. Maybe that’s enough. At some point, labeling things in plain English would trump the use of QR Codes. A quick search led to very little in the way of real-world application for QR codes. A search for another well-known (but fictional) code led to 1.5 million MORE hits than the humble QR Code. I think the verdict is out on this one.

Copyrighted Material

Ironic to be having this discussion in a country that used to be the center of copyright infringement, before that distinction was ripped-off by it’s larger neighbor to the West. I remember when a trip to the Shih-Lin night market involved a series of fake-Rolex dealers trying to convince you that their watches were “more authentic” than the next guy’s. It’s difficult to find a fake Rolex here anymore.

Technology has brought with it the ability to “borrow” ideas without any effort at all. Tools have been created to make that process easier than ever before. When I was in Hanoi, guidebooks proudly explained how the political theory of socialism allows individuals to borrow liberally from others since all work is part of the “collective.” That’s why a painter in Hanoi will think nothing of seeing his/her works throughout the city, painted by other (cheaper) painters.

A well-known Taiwan copyright story involves an old tribal couple from the city of Taitung and the group Enigma. In their song Return to Innocence, made famous by the 1996 Summer Olympics, the three main vocal parts are sung by Andreas Harde and an old aboriginal couple from the Amis tribe. Only one of the three “vocalists” were paid for their singing.YouTube Preview Image When the song ended up on several #1 charts, an Amis lawyer was able to help this couple recoup some of their unpaid royalties, costing Enigma considerably more than it should have otherwise.

And making Difang Duana and his wife a very popular youtube video hit.

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Speaking of popular youtube videos, I’ll end with this well-known one. Atomic Tom was a relatively unknown band until they had their instruments stolen and decided to record a song using only their iPhones. On a subway in NYC. They are now nearing 4 million views and their album is out THIS month. Crank the volume, watch this, then tell me you don’t want to pick up that album.

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Or at least download a copy on bittorrentz.

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About Dan Long

Living and working on the world's most beautiful island.
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