January 3, 2010
'NeXTstation Turbo Color 33MHz' by blakespot (via Flickr). CC BY licence.
One of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is improve my web design skills and keep my eyes open for sites that I like or that do things in an interesting way.
One observation I’ve made is that most of the blogs that I prefer always use some sort of stock image for each of their entries.
One of my concerns about doing this myself has been the licensing ramifications of using pictures from the Internet. I’m certainly not in a position to take pictures of a relevant item for each topic myself. This is where a site like Sprixi.com is most useful. Sprixi is a relatively new search engine (they are still in beta) for images that generally have a simple-to-use license. The neat thing about it is that in addition to having links explaining the licenses in a very simple way. They can also add a credit to the bottom of the image, as you can see here.
I’ve decided to double credit the image just to stay on the safe side and as an experiment for how the image will look. They have a wide variety of images. There is a legal warning for a variety of types of images.The part that caught my eye though was:
We warn you to be careful using images of people and children, especially for commercial purposes. You will most likely need to get a “model release” from the people in the image otherwise you could be infringing on a right of privacy or publicity. Do not assume the subjects of photos have consented to have their image used for anything. The same goes for images of private property, events, landmarks, attractions, artworks and copyrighted material.
So this is not a cure-all for all the legal obligations that you could be put under, so be careful before using the site. However, this site is much better than using Google Images and stealing something from there without attribution.
I’m still a bit torn about how this picture looks with the current WordPress system I’m using, so I still haven’t decided if I’ll keep doing them. It is a nice experiment to try.
Do you have any favorite sites for images or other types of content? How about other cool design tips? Let me know in the comments.
January 31, 2009
Not to fear, this is not turning into a blog about politics, but there are a number of interesting websites out there that explore this fascinating topic in a non-partisan way.
One of the most interesting item I’ve come across recently is the Obamameter. This website is tracking the ability of President Barack Obama to keep his campaign promises. The site is tracking over 500 of them and they range across almost every political issue. At the time of this writing, President Obama has, by their count, kept six of his promises, broken one and had to compromise on other.
The thing I like best about the site is the descriptions of the promises and links to news stories and the text of executive orders to update the status of his promises. I appreciate any website that tries to keep our leaders to account for the things that they say.
Another site that has the same goal is FactCheck.org. Run by the University of Pennsylvania, they are a nonpartisan group that posts entries with quality analysis of particular issues. While sadly, they haven’t been updating the site as frequently as they had prior to the election. The analysis of the race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman for the Minnesota Senate seat was very insightful.
The last site I’ll mention is Public Agenda. There’s a lot of different content on the site, but I think its best element is the issue guides. For more than 15 different controversial issues, you can get an overview of the issue, multiple possible solutions to that issue and relevant political polling to see what attitudes on those issues are. The polling is sometimes a bit outdated, but it can sometimes serve as a barometer of general sentiments. They also have a very interesting article about questions to ask when consuming poll data. They say it is for journalists, but I think anyone can have a greater appreciation for the difficulty of polling by looking in this information. This is also a non-profit, nonpartisan site and you can see who funds this website here.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilence.” So I hope these website help make your vigilence a little easier.