Journal

@SchuminWeb

Archives

Categories

Where does it go from punishment to exploitation?

8 minute read

May 1, 2024, 9:36 AM

Recently, this post by Nadia Ware came up on my news feed in a Staunton group that I’m in:

Any teachers at Shelburne Middle School need their yards cut,??? My son was showing off, talking back, taking advantage of the substitute teacher last week. (yes typical middle school 14yr old boy behavior but I’m over behavior he can control and choose not to) I took his phone away, no tv, earlier bedtime, no ymca and no overnight stay for a week. Want to add a YARD A DAY, Small yards bc he still has homework and study from 6-8pm.. thinking Wednesday and Friday.. please contact me if you can help. Appreciate it. P mommy

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Social media, Staunton

No, I do not have to get anyone’s permission for that…

11 minute read

March 30, 2024, 1:35 PM

It has always amused me about how often people play the permission-of-the-subject card with me.  Usually, it comes from someone who is a bit salty about coverage of their activities that may portray them in a negative light.  However, recently, someone played this card on a post that I made on Schumin Web‘s Facebook page in regards to a wildfire in Virginia that I recently photographed with my drone.  The post was about a photo that depicted a house burning to the ground that I am planning to run as part of a Journal entry about a weekend trip that Elyse and I had recently made:

1429 Coal Mine Road burns to the ground during a wildfire near Strasburg, Virginia.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

How’s that for gratitude…

11 minute read

March 19, 2024, 9:23 AM

Some people, I just don’t understand.  I had been involved in a Facebook group called “You know you’re from Gaithersburg, Maryland if”.  The group’s purpose was to share nostalgic content about Gaithersburg, Maryland, which is the town right next to Montgomery Village, where I live.  However, the group had extremely lax moderation, and by “extremely lax”, I mean “none”, as there was no one keeping an eye on things to make sure that good posts were getting through and off-topic or spam posts were being removed.  As a result, most of the group’s content consisted of advertisements for moving companies, air duct cleaning, gutter replacement, furniture cleaning, carpet cleaning, and car detailing.  In other words, it was spam city.  The only reason that I stayed in the group was to maybe get a piece of historic Gaithersburg content.  After all, I was in the group in the first place because I was interested in getting a bit of local history from the perspective of locals.  I’ve only been familiar with Gaithersburg since 2007, and have only lived in the Gaithersburg area since 2017.  So as far local history goes, I’ve only been around to witness a small slice of it.  I rely on other people to provide the rest.

Then one day this past December, while Elyse and I were out having lunch, I got a notification from Facebook saying that they wanted to promote me to admin of this group because the group had no active admins.  In other words, what I had suspected was true: the existing group admins had taken a permanent lunch break, so Facebook picked someone from amongst the membership to run the group.  I just had to tap “accept” on my phone, and they handed me the keys to the castle.  All of a sudden, I was in charge of a group in which I had been a somewhat passive participant for several years.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

If you want me to take you seriously, do your research, and don’t play the victim card…

12 minute read

November 17, 2023, 2:10 PM

Recently, while I was checking for copyright violations, I turned up a tweet by Twitter user @alx.  The tweet, from this past September, showed my photo from 2004 of a Simplex fire alarm at Taylor Hall with the caption, “Any idea what this does?”  I assumed, based on the date, that it was supposed to be commentary on the recent incident where Democratic representative Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building.  Yes, Bowman is an idiot for doing that, but that’s beside the point.  Looking the tweet over, I did not see the attribution that is required per the terms of the Creative Commons license under which that particular image is offered, so, per my usual practice, I submitted a DMCA takedown request to have that unauthorized usage removed.  Then the folks who process these things at Twitter removed the image about twelve hours later.  That speed is typical for Twitter, since they’re usually really good about processing DMCA notices, even following Elon Musk‘s acquisition of the platform.  In other words, for as much of a cesspool as the Twitter has become these days, if there’s one thing that they still do right, it’s copyright enforcement.  So as far as I was concerned, our transaction was complete.  The image was removed, and we all went on with things.

Then the next day, I got an email from the folks at Twitter, telling me that Alexander Joseph Lorusso of Worcester, Massachusetts had submitted a DMCA counter-notice against the tweet that I had reported earlier, and that, as per the usual process, they would restore the content in ten business days unless they receive notice that I’ve filed an action seeking a court order on it.  Here is what Lorusso said in his counter-notice when prompted for a reason:

This picture is a picture of a fire alarm and is on WikiCommons stating it is free “to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work”

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Simplex_pull_station.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

This person is weaponizing DMCA against me

Continue reading...Continue reading…

No, my mother is not selling concert tickets…

8 minute read

August 22, 2023, 9:30 AM

I don’t understand what makes people send money to random people on the Internet, but I’ve seen it happen, and have recently been put in the unenviable position of being the unwilling spokesperson regarding one of those people, advising people not to give their money to someone who is acting under false pretenses.  I’ve seen it happen with people who are desperate for love, getting scammed under the mistaken idea that it will help them get laid.  Apparently, people looking for concert tickets are also quite vulnerable to being scammed, as I’ve come to find out firsthand when my mother’s Facebook became compromised, and a new person started using the account to scam people who were seeking to buy concert tickets.  What happened was that Mom clicked on something that she had absolutely no business clicking on, and that allowed an attacker to seize control of her account.  They quickly changed the login credentials in order to lock Mom out of it, and then started putting the account to use for more nefarious purposes.  I found out about it by people who saw my name on Mom’s Facebook account, then, seeing that I had a verified account, came to me to find out if I knew who the seller was, and wanted to know when their concert tickets would arrive.  I did some research, and turned up several examples of what was going on:

"I have 8 Savannah banana tickets on 26th August at Des Moines principal park in Iowa for sale, message me if interested."  "Hello 👋, I've 4 Nickelback tickets for sale at cheaper price, send a dm if you're interested thanks"  "Hello 👋, I've 4 tickets to Jelly Roll Concert in Clarkston, MI tonight. PM me if you're interested."

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Family, Social media

Educating people about copyright…

12 minute read

February 27, 2023, 1:24 PM

Sometimes it’s interesting what happens when you discuss copyright infringement amongst your friends.  I recently made a post on Facebook about a company that routinely uses my photos in their work, that I have not had any success in pursuing.  It led to very positive discussion, and I think that I helped a few folks learn something new about intellectual property that they may not have known before.

Unlike most occasions when I will go online and grouse about unauthorized usages of my photography, this one turned up some new discussion besides the standard responses like, “You should sue them,” and the like.  For the record, while taking someone to court over copyright infringement is definitely a possible remedy, it is by no means the only remedy, nor is it something that one takes lightly.  This is not a case of, “When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.”  A lawsuit is really only a viable option in a small subset of usage cases, and while there have been lawsuits filed on my behalf regarding unauthorized usages, they are exceedingly rare.  Also, note “filed on my behalf” in that last sentence.  I do not file lawsuits myself.  People that I have designated as my agents who know more about these things than I do are the ones who file the suits.  I know my own limits.  Also, people forget that the instances of copyright infringement that I grouse about online are just the ones that really irk me, and also are ones that got away.  Most of my copyright infringement cases are resolved amicably, and you never hear about those.

A few points came up in this discussion that are worth mentioning here.  First was a suggestion that I watermark my images.  This is a perennial suggestion, and, truth be told, it’s something that I’ve tested and implemented in the past, and later had to undo.  Back in the early 2000s, I started some early forays into photo licensing, under a brand called “StratoSearch”.  When I was getting ready to implement that, I started putting watermarks on my photos on Schumin Web in order to prevent clean copies of the larger photos from going out willy-nilly, i.e. reserve the clean versions for paying clients.  With that, I put Schumin Web’s logo in the corner of the full-size images, i.e. the ones that you click through to see.  That was a bit of extra work on my part, but I did it, using a template to apply the logo.  I eventually dropped the licensing effort there after a rebranding and redesign in 2003 failed to drum up any business.  I now understand that my work back then was not to the level of quality that I thought it was, and that my marketing efforts were terrible.  But nonetheless, the watermarks remained.  If you want to see what the watermark looked like in practice, go look on College Life, where the watermark has been retained, and where there are no plans to remove it for historical reasons.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

You made your bed, and now you have to lie in it…

14 minute read

December 9, 2022, 12:56 PM

Lately, a lot of the DMCA takedown notices that I’ve filed have been for “nostalgia” pages on Facebook.  In other words, those pages where people find photos around the Internet of stuff from a given period and then repost them with no permission, no attribution, or anything else.  I don’t typically frequent these types of pages myself, but others who are familiar with my work will usually let me know when they spot one of my photos being used in an unauthorized manner.  When I’m notified, I will go in and locate it, and then I’ll get all of my ducks in a row before I complete the DMCA form and submit it.  And then, unsurprisingly, the people who get nailed get a little salty about it, while never considering for a moment that they may have had a lapse in judgment somewhere.

Two recent instances of this stand out in my mind.  The first was for a nostalgia group that focused on the 2000s.  In that case, I found a number of photos from my Journal entry about the 2005 remodel of the Walmart in Lexington, Virginia.  For that, I had to submit multiple takedown notices in order to cover the various photos that were included, but I got it done.  Two days later, I received confirmation from Facebook that the photos were removed.  A few hours later, I heard back from the infringer, a woman named Darla Griffin, who was clearly unhappy about the situation that they now found themselves in.  Like many infringers, they wrote me to complain, while attempting to verbally lick their own wounds after they got caught.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

A question about what is okay to critique…

3 minute read

September 19, 2022, 12:04 PM

This is something that happened back in November of last year, and it’s something that I still question because it leaves something unsettled that I had previously considered to not be a question at all.  My understanding was, when it comes to a person’s appearance, the only things that are okay to to critique are hair and clothing, because those are choices that the person made, and that they can readily change.  That comes with a lot of caveats, though.  You don’t critique things about hair if it’s something that they can’t change, like baldness, though anything that they can still change is fair game.  Likewise, with clothing, you wouldn’t criticize the fashion choices of someone who clearly can’t afford anything else.

So, with that said, here’s why I ask.  Last year, I was off on Black Friday, and Elyse had planned an adventure for us on that day.  She planned a shopping adventure that day, and she wanted to go out and check out the “doorbuster” events.  Me, having spent four Christmases working in retail, I wanted nothing to do with any of it and would have preferred to just sleep in and work on the website or Flickr, but I wouldn’t have gotten a moment of peace if I stayed home – so out I went.  We chose to go to Annapolis so that I would have something to do, with the idea of my going out to Sandy Point State Park to fly the drone over the water while Elyse shopped.  Unfortunately, however, when I got to the park, I judged the wind to be far too strong to fly, so the drone never even came out of its carrier.  After sitting in the car for a while feeling annoyed about the circumstances, having driven out to the bay for nothing, I headed back to the mall, feeling somewhat defeated, and met back up with Elyse and joined her on her shopping adventure, because nothing was going up into the sky other than my frustration.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Annapolis, Retail, Social media

I believe that we have finally reached the other side of this thing…

23 minute read

May 25, 2021, 9:37 PM

On Friday, May 14, 2021, a number of state governments rescinded emergency orders requiring the wearing of face masks in public for people who have had all of their shots for COVID-19, i.e. “fully vaccinated”, on the heels of earlier announcements providing dates for when nearly all COVID restrictions would be removed.  And with that, I think that it is safe to say that we’re finally on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that life will return to normal.  Ever since the middle of March 2020, when the response to a novel coronavirus started becoming out of proportion to the actual threat, and fear began driving the narrative, I’ve been looking forward to this time, when the world finally started returning to normal.

Truth be told, I took a dim view of the official response to this thing from the beginning.  From the outset, my stance has been that almost all of these various “precautions” were unnecessary, and that the best advice for the public was (A) wash your hands at frequent intervals, and (B) be careful about how much you touch your face.  This is the same advice that we give about nearly every communicable disease, and it’s served us quite well.  I didn’t see any reason why this one should have been any different.  Lockdowns, social distancing, masks, limits on gathering sizes, closed restaurants, closed drinking fountains, plexiglass shields, one-way aisles, contactless everything, the constant cleaning and “sanitizing”, temperature checks, and all of the rest of it is all just security theater, i.e. “the practice of taking security measures that are intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to achieve it.”  In other words, these measures were there primarily to placate a certain vocal subset of people who were afraid, and their fear was then projected onto the rest of us.  In the end, though, as long as there was no vaccine for it, there was nothing that most of us could reasonably do to prevent its transmission.  It was a problem that was beyond most of our capabilities to solve.  With that in mind, I wasn’t worried about it, and trusted that the scientists whose job it was to solve it would come through.  For the rest of us, there was only one single action that was “doing our part”.  That action was getting vaccinated against COVID-19 when it became available.  Nothing else made a bit of difference.  But until that time came when a vaccine was available, we just had to wait.

Unfortunately, though, we all know how much people hate to be told that they have to wait for something to be solved, and can’t do anything about it in the meantime – especially when they’re scared.  And for a mass hysteria event, we apparently just can’t have that.  Unfortunately, telling people to wait doesn’t look good for politicians, whose constituents will demand that something be done about it after the media has whipped them up into a frenzy – especially during an election year when many of them were trying to keep their jobs.  You know that people would practically crucify any elected official who got up and said, “I’m sorry, but there is really nothing in my power that I can do to solve this at this time.  Until a vaccine becomes available, we just have to wait.”  So, instead, they pander to the masses, going out and doing things that make it look like they’re doing something, i.e. security theater.  When they make it look like they’re doing something, the masses eat it right up.  They stepped in and shut down businesses (and destroyed many people’s livelihoods in the process – see my Gordmans entry), enforced social distancing rules on everyone, and required masks.  Everyone was impacted in some way, and it sure looked like something was being done while we waited.  Especially with the use of mask mandates, they put the pandemic in your face – and on your face – all the bloody time.  As far as the politicians were concerned, mission accomplished.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Remember, do your research before you post…

3 minute read

July 18, 2020, 8:55 PM

Sometimes, people will share anything on social media without giving a second thought to just what they’re sharing.  Recently, with coronavirus all over the news, a few folks that I know shared this:

Claims regarding the pH of coronavirus and various food items

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: COVID-19, Social media

A Facebook comment should not bother me this much…

5 minute read

February 11, 2020, 11:11 AM

Recently, I commented on a post on the Facebook page for WHSV, the local ABC affiliate for Harrisonburg, Virginia, and got some unusual feedback.  The original post was for an article about Trump’s participation in the “March for Life“, an anti-choice demonstration held annually in DC on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

Before I continue, though, it seems worthwhile to explain my stance on the matter of abortion.  My stance is that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.  But ultimately, it’s not my call.  What other people do with their bodies is their business, and it doesn’t affect me.

I also believe that abortion is more or less a settled matter, but that it has value for the GOP as a campaign issue.  In other words, the Republican Party will talk a big game about it, but ultimately, no one is going to ban abortion.  Ever.  Why ban it and settle the matter decisively in your favor, when you can bring it up as a campaign issue every election cycle and raise money and get people to vote based on it?  To actually ban abortion would be to kill the golden goose, and also hand a massive fundraising opportunity to the Democrats.  Maybe I’m a bit cynical about the whole thing, but I imagine that if they were really going to act on that issue, they would have done it by now, during the various periods where the GOP has controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.  That they haven’t done that tells me that they are not interested in settling it.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

I think that we need to have a discussion about news sources…

4 minute read

February 27, 2017, 9:14 AM

Over the course of the last several days, whenever I’ve gone on Facebook, I feel as though I’ve had to play fact-checker a lot more than usual.  Most of the stories that I’ve had to verify and debunk are about Donald Trump, but there have also been a few ones about the toxin-du-jour and other miscellaneous topics.  And having to constantly stay on my game and do the same sort of research over and over again gets tiring.  I started out making this post about the problem:

I feel as though I've had to burst far more bubbles than usual as of late when it comes to people's sharing fake news stories. Please, people, vet your stories before you post, because anyone can start a website and write anything they want and make it look official. I highly recommend Snopes.com for vetting stories. They'll set you straight on the fake ones.

This post got eight likes and one comment, so it didn’t do as well as I would have hoped.  Maybe it’s because I posted it in the middle of the day on a Friday.  But in any case, the bottom line is to think before you share.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: News, Social media

My life according to Clive and the Cowboys…

4 minute read

August 6, 2016, 5:12 PM

I was going through my Facebook “memories” feed today, and one in particular struck me as amusing.  My sister made a post on this day in 2009, called “My Life According to Disney”.  It was one of those chain posts where you fill in the blanks and then tag fifteen of your friends.  Here were the directions:

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 15 people you like and include me. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Repost as “my life according to (band name)”.

She chose Disney.  Technically, “Disney” casts a very wide net, since their body of work is very large and spans multiple generations of authors, artists, composers, etc.  But she made it work.  She also tagged me, encouraging me to do the same.  I commented thusly:

Hahahaha... I responded to your note. You asked for it...

And then I gave a proper response:

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 15 people you like and include me. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Repost as “my life according to (band name)”.

Pick your artist: Clive and the Cowboys (yeah, Today’s Special – sue me)

Are you a male or a female: “I am thunder and nothing can happen ’til I bellow and I rumble and wake everybody with my roar…” (A Visit to the Opera)

Describe yourself: “Hocus pocus alimagocus, I can bend, I can stretch, I can see…” (Family)

How do you feel: “Let go of your busy day, let it all just drift away…” (Sleep)

Describe where you currently live: “When I’m at home I just relax, put on slippers, shirt, and slacks, settle down to watch TV, and dunk a donut in my tea.” (Homes)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: “Let’s not get carried away, Sneakamore! Still, I will admit… I’m nasty, I’m not very nice… the heart that’s inside me is as cold as ice…” (Storybooks)

Your favorite form of transportation: “All aboard, the whistle blows, a rumbling starts beneath your toes…” (Trains)

Your best friend is: “When you’re with me, I’m not afraid of anything…” (Flight)

You and your best friends are: “Who’s the one I like to play with? Who’s the one I’ll spend all day with?” (Sharing)

If your life were a TV show, what would it be called: “Today’s Special” (main theme)

What is life to you: “We’ve got a store that I explore when the customers aren’t here anymore…” (Sleep)

Your last relationship: “Just give a snap, a clap, and a chuckle any time you feel a bit dismayed…” (Storms)

Your fear: “I love the rain, I love it when it’s raining…” (Storms) coupled with “Riding along the highway, singing a song and going my way…” (Cars)

What is the best advice you can give: “Let your smile shine through in every thing you do… don’t hide that special you…” (Teeth)

How I would like to die: “Without ever leaving, I’ve been everywhere… I’ve been to those lands ’cause you’ve taken me there…” (Memories)

My soul’s present condition: “Blue! Blue! The cow was blue! She jumped high like a kangaroo!” (Dreams)

My motto: “A singin’ yo he ho, sailin’ across the ocean blue, singin’ yo he ho, I’m a comin’ home to you!” (Costumes)

For those who don’t know, “Clive and the Cowboys” is, as far as I can tell, the name of the group of musicians that played the accompaniment for the songs on Today’s Special.  They were referenced in “Sleep” when Sam was talking on the radio, and also in “Records” when Jodie made the record.  On that later occasion, she referred to the group as “Jodie and the Cowboys”.

Some of these responses are obvious, and some not so much.  With the passage of time, I couldn’t tell you why, for the “male or female” question, I quoted Thunder from “The Rainmakers”, other than that Thunder was a male actor.  The “If you could go anywhere” question, I assume I meant the “Land of Make Believe”, because that’s a song that the two villains sung together explaining how evil they were.  “Your last relationship”, I don’t recall why I chose “Snap, Clap, and Chuckle” for it.  I suppose that 2009 me had a rationale for it, but it’s lost on 2016 me.  And then I also apparently didn’t like driving through storms in 2009.  Still not the most fun, especially since larger vehicles slide surprisingly easily in the rain.  You wouldn’t think that a vehicle the size of a bus would slide more than a much smaller car, but they most definitely do.  I also can’t explain what the Blue Cow song has to do with my soul’s present condition.  Maybe I was in a silly mood, and that’s certainly a silly song.

And then there was my sister’s comment on the post, in response to my original comment on hers:

I guess I did ask for it.

In any case, though, this was a fun exercise, both in writing it at the time, as well as revisiting it now.  Facebook memories can be so much fun to go through.  Unlike a photo album, Facebook memories are like going through an album of our thoughts.  Facebook, without a character limit for posts, allows the space for more explanation of one’s thoughts, and therefore the ability to express the entire idea.  What we were thinking at the time often helps give perspective to what we’re thinking now.  After all, we may not realize it at the time, but we all are constantly growing and changing.  What was important a few years ago is laughable today.  What was considered a dream years ago is now reality.  You know.

I made the mistake of commenting intelligently on a thread populated by very ignorant people…

8 minute read

December 12, 2014, 11:07 AM

…and for that, I am filled with regret.  I thought that perhaps these people would be able to respond to some level of reason.  I was quite wrong on that point.  This time, it was on the “Wilson Memorial Hornets Football” page on Facebook.  I don’t remember how I ended up landing on this page, since I don’t really care about Augusta County high school sports, but somehow, there I was.

For those not familiar, Wilson Memorial High School is located in Fishersville, Virginia.  The school was built at the same time as Stuarts Draft High School, i.e. where I went to high school, and is identical to Stuarts Draft architecturally.  The two schools are traditionally rivals, and play each other every year in football, though now, I believe, as an exhibition game, since the two schools are now in different conferences.

This Facebook page for Wilson football, however, has been a bit controversial.  On December 6, the page’s owner made the following post:

"What a Game!! Faith. Family. Football. We Are... ...WILSON!"

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Here’s a blast from the Internet past…

4 minute read

November 20, 2014, 8:28 PM

So for Throwback Thursday, here’s a little blast from the Internet past: my old AOL Instant Messenger away messages!  Yes, AOL Instant Messenger, otherwise known as AIM, i.e. this:

AIM, circa April 2000

I was recently shuffling some files around on my computer, and found these, which I had preserved as a backup in February 2007, when I moved my computer from the Gateway to the Dell.  I want to say that I used AIM for about fifteen years.  I started using it the summer after I graduated high school, and stopped using it earlier this year, telling the two people that I still talked to primarily via AIM (both in-real-life friends) that I was dropping AIM and for them to use Facebook chat to get a hold of me.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: JMU, Social media