Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pinterest Will Not Sell Pinned Images

Tomato Knives + Spoon ©
In my blog post of To Pin or not to (show) Pin(terest) I warned myself and other creatives to protect their assets. Pinning of images we find Online is fine, as long as we create the link to the original site, keep copyright in mind. And of course we refrain from using an images when the No Pin icon shows up on someone's blog or website.

Not showing what we've created ourselves however, is a limitation that makes using Pinterest less interesting for many of us.

Today I found a message from Pinterest in my mailbox in which the owners share some changes to the rules. Read all about it on the official Pinterest blog

Green Light Update: Alarmed responses from wary creatives has caused Pinterest to review and update their Terms of Use.

They got the message! 
Ben and the Pinterest team must be/are creatives too.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Supposedly Deleted Account Live on Facebook

In 2008 I joined the club, invited by an IRL friend. My membership lasted just a few days. I was freaked out by the —in your face timeline— overwhelmed by all that information of friends of friends and their grandmothers and menagerie, and requested for the account to be deleted. 
Weirded Out By Facebook
Self-Portrait '89 oil pastel
Later I signed up again, but I remained invisible for a long time, until I understood how Facebook worked. When I did come to the surface, I chose the picture of my timeless pastel self-portrait for my avatar. Since then I've been happily active. 
I've even branched out, creating several "PAGES".  Self indulgent? That's what I thought when they were still called "Fan Pages", but then some other friends turned me on to the notion that they're Professional Pages.
Judith van Praag - Dutchessabroad, the page for my books, where I share the log line, or synopsis, and show off photo albums of my main characters. A place to show related links and agonize over revision and editing and the likes. Judith van Praag - in haar moerstaal, a page with entries in my mother tongue, Dutch. Judith van Praag - Pro Arts Etcetera, related to my publications in the Seattle newspaper The International Examiner (not to be confused with the Seattle Examiner, one of series of city blogs) and the Asian-American Arts community in Seattle. Not excluding visiting artists, authors and other creatives. And last but not least, there's PNNB - Pacific Northwest Nederlandstalige Boekenclub catering to book worms who like to read and speak in their mother tongue once in a while.
Every once in a while I get messages in my regular mailbox, while my preferences are set to receive none. I did realize those messages were sent to an email address I don't use for Facebook, but I didn't know the (formerly, I thought) attached account was still LIVE! So there's this Judith van Praag without a portrait, a ghost, who's been uncommunicative and anti-social, to say the least. Some friends have been kept hanging! I want to send them to my regular page, the one with the timeless pastel self-portrait, but I can't make a link unless I befriend my ghostly self. Grrrrh! They/You must think I'm SO RUDE!
Please accept my  apologies!
Since the initial shock this morning, I've learned that Facebook doesn't delete accounts, but only deactivate them, thus creating ghost accounts. A revelation!
Has anybody else experienced this?

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Friday, March 09, 2012

Max Salomon de Winter and The Pill

This post is in memory of Max Salomon de Winter (Nijmegen 5-19-1920 - Oss 3-8-2012).

Yesterday my friend Harry posted a movie on Facebook, less than a minute long, that he made last Monday, in it we see his father Max, with great-grandson Mathius on his lap. The elderly gentleman gently sang to his family's latest addition. Listening carefully you can hear his, "La, la, la, hoera, hoera, hoera!" part of a Dutch birthday song, followed by soothing words about all those people, wanting something or other of the only months old little man. A few nights later Harry's father died in his sleep.

I never met Max de Winter, but looking at the obituaries in Het Brabants Dagblad and De Telegraaf, I remember the exact moment, a lunch meeting at a café in Amsterdam decades ago, when Harry told me how his father survived Auschwitz thanks to his technical skills, which were of use in the Wartime Siemens factory, And that he invented The Pill.

The survival story clicked as part of the usual exchange between children of Holocaust survivors. Harry's pride in his father's professional career hit a cord as well, since my mother made sure I "got on The Pill" the moment she suspected her teenaged daughter might be sexually active.

Photo: Eve Besnyö -
My mother took pride in the fact that she, as a member of "Dolle Mina Movement" (1970s Dutch feminists who with their "Baas In Eigen Buik" campaign claimed power over what happened inside their own bellies) helped make The Pill part of the Health Insurance package in the Netherlands.

Someone on Facebook responded to Harry's announcement about his father's death, and the obits in Dutch newspapers with the words: Without your father you might have had many more brothers and sisters. 
To which I say: Without his father there would be no Harry, no Mathias, and without The Pill there would have been and be, a whole lot more misery in this world.

In memory of Max Salomon de Winter, and remembering my mom Nita "Do" van Praag, I'm linking to CafeMom's re-published N.Y.Times advertisement: A Thank-You Letter to Rush Limbaugh.

Photo of Dolle Mina members by Eva Besnyö (Budapest 1919- Laren, 2003) found at Hondius Auctions

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Typing in Secret - from Laptop to Touch Phone

In 1990 I bought my very first computer, an IBM compatible laptop (as you said back then) made by Commodore. The C286-LT had an external power supply, disk drive, TFT screen and a motherboard. 

Richard Lagendijk, whose picture of the C286 I'm using to the left, and who must know a lot about these things, says on his website that the motherboard has RAM, ROM and a Harris 80C286 processor, an internal hard disk and 1 Mbyte of RAM memory.
Back in 1990 I stuffed my laptop in a similar carrier bag as you see above, but I hardly ever used it. In those days you didn't advertise the interesting hardware you owned. Even if my pager went off in an Amsterdam café, I'd scurry through the crowd to the restrooms/ pay-phone area, dial my home/office telephone number, press the beeper, and listen to the messages on my answering machine without others being any the wiser. 

To walk around with that black laptop bag would have been a give-away to muggers, I thought. An other reason for not taking my laptop to cafés was my fear that people would think I was a show-off. No really, some people in my circles had a computer, but nobody had a laptop in those days, and if they did, I wasn't aware of it, meaning that they kept theirs out of sight as well.

The bright red cabin bag I bought for my travels held paperwork, as well as the laptop fine. Without wheels or backpack straps it was too heavy to schlepp around from lecture room to performance space at U.T. at Austin. The ladies at the costume shop of the drama department —or the Performing Arts Center where I had my office as guest artist— understood my fear of being spotted with the portable computer —they found me a worn-out army green canvas sheet music bag, just the right size.

Chicken Lunch Break Performance 1992

That my audience would see me read my poems from the screen, didn't bother me. The fold-out table, the calculator paper on which I wrote my poems out in longhand, the floral fabric swatch, and laptop were all part of my presentation, my props; as a performer I felt less a target than as a writer in a public place, focused on the screen,  a sitting duck.  

Even today I don't like to talk on my phone in public. I'll cut a call short, promising to call back when I'm inside my car, home or office. My response when I see people working on their laptops in public places, engulfed in e-books, or talking out loud on phones hidden, but for the ear gems, tells me that I'm from another century. Back when you had to learn MS-DOS to get anywhere with, and on your computer, and the hardware was more exclusive.

In all honesty, I sure am glad computers are more user friendly and accessible today. I may still prefer to take calls in private, I as well write in public quite often, albeit most times hidden from view, all thumbs, creating texts on my touch phone. You could say I'm downsizing, but really, now that I am one of millions of users, I'm less afraid to show that I am with the times.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Saturday, March 03, 2012

In Memory of Mom's Shorthand + My Commodore C-286

Writing a guest post for E.Victoria Flynn's new web site earned me this portrait to the left, framed and all, on her wall of fame (her words). 
Victoria is one of the most gregarious people I've met — I wanted to type: "in the blogosphere", but one look at the Urban Dictionary explanation made me realize I better stick to a more positive description, therefore ... on all of the New Media and writers' platforms. 
We met some three years ago on the SheWrites site, where she actively pursued members into participation in a mother-writer contest. And that while she doesn't per se write about motherhood herself. 
E.Victoria Flynn is a daring word smith, with a great sense of humor, and that my friends, is contagious. Victoria brings out the funny in me. 

So here you go. The following piece was published on 1-23-2012 at V's Place


To say my mother was thrifty is an understatement. She gave me away to a passing stranger just so she could save money to pay for her driver’s license and to pay off the mortgage of her house … in that order. If you think a driver’s license doesn’t cost that much, think again. At the time, driving lessons in the Netherlands were expensive, but taking an exam was what would really do you in. If you messed up parallel parking, you failed; no second chances, no ma’am. If you forgot to use the blinker, you failed. If you didn’t look over your shoulder when turning left, you failed.

My mom’s problem wasn’t looking right and left, but that she was cockeyed. You know how mothers maintain they have eyes in the back of their heads? My mom didn’t need to claim such magic. Not unlike a horse, she could see what was happening behind her without turning her head. Perhaps the examiner’s mother caught him one time too often with his hand in the cookie jar, at any rate, he wouldn’t let my mom pass. And each time she failed she had to take ten extra lessons.

After seventeen attempts she was well on her way to sponsor the driving instructor’s new car. At last she let go of her pride, and turned her head to look over her shoulder. The eighteenth time she took the exam, she passed. At the time I was living in Los Angeles, and I received the glorious news, her perfect handwriting slanted calligraphy, on the back of a scalloped 3 x 7 card. This gently used cold cuts’ tray still carried the faint aroma and stain of the thinly sliced smoked beef she liked to buy when the butcher advertised rookvlees as the special of the day.

In return I sent her a card, with an ancient vehicle carrying people in period dress, printed with the text Drive Carefully Because I Care. I know I did, for she kept that card with all the other pieces of mail I sent her over the years; decades worth of correspondence stuffed in an attaché case she bought for me, because the model had gone out of fashion, not because I needed a heavy leather carry-all with combination locks.

I kept all of her letters as well, faint blue airmail sheets, covered the conventional way, from top to bottom, after which she turned the page 180 degrees and continued between the earlier penned sentences. You could say my mother forced me to read between the lines.
This was not the only way she skimped on stationery use, she developed shorthand only the two of us could decipher. By the time she paid off her house, and I permanently left the man who had become more and more a stranger, I made up my mind to end the literary symbiosis. I would write out all words and create fodder readable to others. Still, it took a while before I graduated from taking my notes on envelopes, cardboard coasters and snippets of paper.

Mom and Commodore C-286 in memoriam
When Mom —investing in the future— bought me a Commodore C-286, I swore that was the beginning of a paperless era. But today I hear her voice in my head: 

You’ve had your driver’s license for ages, your and your husband’s mortgage won’t ever get paid off, and I noticed you got an email from the Paper Zone that they’re folding, and ink and paper is 70 percent off, so you better stock up.

Just to take advantage of this re-published guest blog I re-wrote the byline Victoria gave me, changing from 3rd person to first. If it doesn't do any good, it won't hurt to remind y'all that ... 

Originally from the Netherlands I make my home in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and pooch. My background lies in multicultural theater, but in the 1990′s the balance tipped over to studio + literary arts.
In 1999 I published Creative Acts of Healing: after a baby dies. From 2000-2002 I wrote a column about grief for a Dutch Parental magazine Ouders Online, and from 2004-2006 I covered Arts & Culture for the International Examiner in Seattle. I remains an off and on regular contributor to the latter. I wrote the storybook for three of Luly Yang’s Runway Fashion Shows, and was Ms. Yang’s speech writer.

Since the opening of the Seattle Central Library in 2004, I have presented architectural tours of this landmark designed by my countryman (and brother of old friend Thomas) Rem Koolhaas. Momentarily I'm working on “The Counterfeit”, a screenplay based on “Forgiveness”, a novel about art, love and redemption in a cold country. Next in line is a memoir about growing up on a nut farm and coming out halfway sane, albeit perhaps a little funny.

You can find my contact information, link to this blog and more at and Google+

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Friday, March 02, 2012

UPDATE To Pin or Not to (Show) Pin(terest)


Green Light Update: Posts such as the one below, the one mentioned in this post, and many other alarmed responses from wary creatives has caused Pinterest to review and update their Terms of Use

The Business Insider created a Pinterest scare with Alyson Shontell's article about pinning images on the Internet and copyright laws. 

A Lawyer Who Is Also A Photographer Just Deleted All Her Pinterest Boards Out of Fear.
'Kirsten turned to federal copyright laws and found a section on fair use. Copyrighted work can only be used without permission when someone is criticizing it, commenting on it, reporting on it, teaching about it, or conducting research. Repinning doesn't fall under any of those categories.'
This is what I think: The quoted section could be turned to a pinner's advantage IF s/he adds a comment. Ironically some of us have worried about the danger of losing OUR comments, read "content" when others re-pin our imagery with the connected text, and wondered how to copyright our text as ours. Some decided NOT to add comments at all, because they didn't want to give away or rather, lose their thoughts without attribution.

If the text lifted from Shontell's article is to be taken seriously, all pinners need to do, is criticize, plainly comment, let the world know about the others' images, i.e. report on them, use the material to teach others, or prove by showing context that they are conducting research.  

None of that should be a problem, unless you are, again, afraid to lose something of your own. 
Perhaps it's all a matter of Win Some, Lose Some. When pinning an image that's found on someone's site, you're already helping the other to spread the love. The proper thing would be to have the image link to that site, rather than to a Google image bank. 

Since Google protects viewers from stumbling upon a site they may not have wanted to enter, you have to change the policy in the upper right hand corner when you go from the image bank (a page with many images provided by Google) to the linked website. No biggy, but you do have to remember to do that, or the link is lost. 

I'm feeling better about Pinning now that I've voiced this. 

After reading the above mentioned article, and other posts on the subject, I did delete a board with panels I had styled and photographed myself, because I don't want Pinterest to sell the image (oh, yes, that's something I read they can do). Selfish? Perhaps, but an artist has to balance sharing, and giving away, with protecting her assets. 

Now that the dust has settled I wonder about the creativity of the woman named Kirsten. Any lawyer worth your money, should be able to be a bit more creative, or?

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License