Odds and Ends: Emptying the In-Box

I tend to let emails collect in my in-box, then once every three years I go and delete them by the thousands. I have a special folder for things people send for IBD, and it has reached a point where it needs to be emptied. So I give you the following odds and ends.

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Knowing that we love interesting and funny signs, Friend (and Occasional Nemesis) of IBD Phil Broder sent a series of photos from a recent trip to India.

The above photo is from a park where you are not allowed to do anything, including “misbehavior” and “eatables.” I particularly like the relaxing sound of “Garden Timing” followed by “By Order.”

This one reminds me of a Steven Wright joke. He said his parents read that most accidents happen within five miles of the home, so they moved 15 miles away. I’m glad in India that they keep their accidents confined to one zone. (And those “Dang District Police” are misusing their quote marks.)

The “Don’t Spit Here” sign seemed kind of funny to me, until Phil explained, “India has a real tuberculosis issue, and there’s a campaign to curb spitting as a public health measure.” Thanks for being a buzz-kill, Phil.

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Another Phil, this time Friend of IBD Phil Sexton, sent a link to a website called Free Font Manifesto, which asks the question:

This site paves the way for professional designers to create a collection of high-quality fonts available in the public domain (there are lots of free fonts available already, but not necessarily high-quality ones). This raises questions about how these designers would earn a living, but it’s an interesting conversation to have.

Phil also sent me this funny little cosmetic tip. Phil and I are always sharing beauty tips, so I was happy to get this from him:

I guess my friends think I need help with my body image, because Friend of IBD Chris Mayer sent a link to a tongue-in-cheek video about using Photoshop (Fotoshop) to achieve unrealistic goals:

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Friend of IBD Kelly Farrell also shared a few photos with us in recent* months:

This is one she took during the 2010 NAI National Workshop in Las Vegas (I did say that it can take me a while to get to emails). I have to admit, because I’m slow sometimes, that I did not get it right away.

This one I did get right away.

Kelly also sent a link with the subject “Arkansas on the Cutting Edge” to a story on the website The Barcode News, which states:

In October of 2009, Arkansas became the first state to use QR Codes…. Since that time, the QR Code has appeared in the 2010 Arkansas Tour Guide, the Arkansas State Parks Guide, the Arkansas Spring newspaper insert and in publications such as The Oxford American, Southern Living, and National Geographic Traveler.

I can see why Kelly, a proud Arkansan, wanted to share this with us, as we have written about QR codes in the past. I was particularly impressed by one aspect of this whole story: There is such a thing as The Barcode News.

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Finally, my coworker Deb Tewell took this photo in Argentina. It’s a great example of all the reasons we can just never predict how our work will look when it’s released into the wild.

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Check back for Part 2 of “Emptying the In-Box” in March 2015!

Mining the Internet Archive

If you watched the video posted above, you wasted 96 seconds of your life, and for that, I apologize. There’s so much more that you could have been doing with your time, and nearly all of it would have been of more value to society.

I put the above video together using footage I found on a website called Internet Archive, which is a free resource that contains public domain, archival movies (and other media). The primary reason I put the video together is that it was more fun than doing actual work. But also, I wanted to test out how to work with materials from this site, which I learned about from Dr. Chris Mayer, interpretive consultant and director of the National Association for Interpretation’s Spanish Section.

It turned out to be surprisingly easy. I searched for certain terms (like “baseball” and “park ranger”), found some videos with narrators who sounded like they wanted to be my friend, downloaded them at the resolution of my choice, and spliced snippets of them together in iMovie.

The original footage comes from four different movies—Story of a Forest Ranger, a 1954 US Department of Agriculture film; Heading Home, a 1920 silent film starring fat old man with little girl legs Babe Ruth; Good Eating Habits, a 1951 instructional film; and a classic Tom and Jerry cartoon called Piano Tooners—all of which (along with many, many others) are available for free download, some at high resolution.

All of the videos I’ve used are in the public domain, either because their copyright has expired or they were produced by a government agency, so they can be used for the sort of nonsense I’ve posted here (or they can be used for something of actual value). The Internet Archive offers versions of these videos (and many, many more) at varying resolution free of charge for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, but I’ll certainly take it. On its website, the organization describes itself like this:

The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.

And the Internet Archive features more than just video:

The Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections, and provides specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities.

Some of the content found on the Internet Archive is not in the public domain, so it can’t be used in media that you produce, but it’s still awesome and you just want to watch it over and over instead of doing real work. The stop-action video Extreme Lego Breakdancing falls into that category.

I’m not sure just yet how I plan to use this resource in any real way, but it’s a great way to track down free stock footage or create a certain tone for historical pieces. If you use this resource in the future (or if you have in the past), please share your product with us. I’m curious to see what the possibilities are.