Daily Archives: July 27, 2008

Randy – Has Culture Moved to Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 Tag Cloud

Web 2.0 Tag Cloud

As a barometer, what I think about the health of theaters and cultural arts centers across the United State may not be accurate. My experiences in my role as the founder and president of a cultural art center may be atypical. It was, however, a conversation with a person of national note (a friend) who knows what’s going on in the art world that discourages me. He said he wouldn’t patronize me. Part of me wishes he had. Now I am unanchored. What did he tell me?

It was something I didn’t want to hear, and even now as well; but it’s out of my control. I, however, haven’t given up. I have started over three times. Each time I have been further ahead, closer to achieving my goals. I should feel good about that, and do. Now I have a bigger venue, with more backing. I am excited about all of the connections; and it looks as if it may work. (This blog is one of the connections I’ve made, and, if my friend is right and I’m true to myself, it is one that I must make.)

My friend, over tea and black berry pie, gave me the news. With the economic downturn, he didn’t need to tell me that arts organizations across the country were hurting. I knew that and knew the pain from my having lost a considerable amount of money from trying to create a community arts center here in Tucson. (I’m still trying, but I’m not plunging ahead blindly now. Instead I’m blogging. It’s fun.) In that context, my friend said wherever he went art organizations were asking him to raise funds and that told him they were all hurting. Until then in our conversation, I thought we were talking about economics, and we were and we weren’t. If it were only economics, then logically we would recover and could go then from there.

According to my friend, certain undeniable changes have occurred. Those changes are due to the development and popularity of the Internet. Yes that’s it: the Internet! The truth is, according to my friend again, people no longer want cultural arts centers. In large enough numbers, they don’t want or need to leave their homes. Because of the Internet, they have what they need there. And though we wish it weren’t so, the worlds in which we had invested so much of our lives are dead or dying. Can they be revived? I don’t know. I would hope so, but from what I’ve seen…

That is not all. There is the potential of the Internet. It’s wild and worldwide. In here I can truly call myself a novice. I think we’re all novices. And to me that’s scary. I grew up in the theater, and now my friend is telling me that people don’t want it. Oh, shit! How to begin all over again? Now the whole world is truly the stage. That means we’ll have to learn how to make that stage work. I haven’t begun to think in any concrete way of how to do that. Yet I continue to think of myself as a dramatist. I love the intimacy of live theater and can’t honestly see how the Internet could possibly replace that. (Yet I’m told it has.)

In that regard, I’m asking for help.

Randy (Exploring Web 2.0)

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Download Free Books – by Toni

I’m a little ADD (or is it ADHD?) when it comes to the internet.  Tonight for example, I was listening to a web video about how to make money blogging here and when the narrator and content creator, Yaro Starak, came to the part about giving away content in the form of ebooks, it reminded me of Randy’s play, recently published here.  So while the video was running, I pulled up my copy of Yaro’s ebook (you can sign up for one from Yaro’s webpage, it really is free, over 50 pages of great informaton) to see how he had it formatted.  To see if this was something we might want to do with Randy’s play.  It’s a little handier than people having to run back through the blog posts to find, then copy, then open a word document, then paste, then compose an email for a donation, etc.  So, anyway, while the video is playing (and I’m listening in my headphones) and I have Yaro’s ebook open, I open Randy’s blog (checking the comments and the day’s stats first) and I copy the post with the play, then open a word document, paste and then wonder what to do next.

When I remember, that a while back I downloaded PDF Creator. Which, once downloaded and installed, works this way: I send a word document to print (via the dropdown, not the short-cut) and then select PDF Creator as the printer.  This converts the word document (or Open Office document or whatever else you use to create content) into a PDF.  So then I wonder what next?

Of course, the video is still running and so I check back in (I’ve been listening, and he got to a really exciting part, so I stay for a while…. did I mention that the movie Michael Clayton is playing in the background too?) and compare it to his ebook version, which I still have open, noting that while he’s covering the same material, the specific content of the video and the ebook are actually quite different, making them good complements to each other.

So then I go back to the PDF I’ve created and click on the file button and notice it says “Digital Editions”!!  That sounds like publishing doesn’t it?  So I click on it.  Which takes me to Adobe’s Digital Editions webpage.  (By the way, you might want to check all of these links now, so you can get a taste of my evening) After a little reading I realize this is a “bookshelf” for all of my downloaded ebooks.  Well, I’ve got about 30 now, and it’s a free program like Adobe Reader so I downloaded it.  While downloading, it prompts for an Adobe ID.  Hmmm… don’t think I have one.

Turns out that once you click on “obtain Adobe ID”, you’re simply signing into their site, which sets up an account (building their mailing list, so they can send you information about other products – hey I think they’ve watched Yaro’s videos too! Oh by now I’m on to the second video that he provides a link to after the first one) and you use the email address and password you created there as your new Adobe ID.  Of course that led me to cruising around the Adobe site (well I DO have an account now, might as well see what they have, or rather I now have).

In the meantime, I’ve completed the Adobe Digital Editions download, checked back in with Yaro, closed Yaro’s ebook (computer is starting to run a little slow by now).  Lo and behold, Adobe has a whole stock room full of books and reports to download for free!!  It was like finding a secret door at the Borders Bookstore!  Now, mind you, some of the books are teasers from publishers like Random House, and only give you limited access to the book (a few chapters, table of contents, prologue, epilogue etc) but there are whole books there including many classics which are now in the public domain and lots and lots of technical books. Which made me want to share this all with you, since I know you love books too! and especially this book about the publishing industry.  The virtual one, as in desktop publishing, focusing on – guess who – Adobe.  But fascinating nonetheless…

Well, the movie’s over, the videos are done running, I’m finished sharing, and I have to go clear my cookies and check my rss feeds to see what’s hopping in the blogosphere.  Shoot, I still don’t know if I can upload the ebooks I already have to Adobe Digital Editions… I’ll save that for tomorrow.

— Toni

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