Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Economy, polity, society

I recently finished a very interesting little book by Blair Adams, published by Colloquium Press. The title is "Severing the Roots of Unsustainability." It is called "A Basic Primer", for it is derived from other much more extensive works. It looks at how culture includes three aspects, economy, polity, and society. What determines the nature of the culture is which of those three is dominant. If economy is dominant then the other two; the public, civil life and inter-personal relationships serve only towards the goal of economic growth. What I would call raw capitalism. If polity is dominant, then the other two are subservient to the expansion of the public/civil life, an authoritarian type of system. In the type of culture where society, meaning personal relationships, is dominant then the basis of relationships is voluntary association with shared principles and values. Thus the civil government springs from the internal self-government of the people. The economy is based on meeting the needs of the individuals and the community, not focused on greater profit.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"A Republic, if you can keep it"

Dr. Benjamin Franklin was quoted as giving the response, "A Republic, if you can keep it" to the question of the outcome of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Concerning this constitutional republic, John Adams second president of the USA, said in an address to the military, Oct. 11, 1798:
"We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."
As we consider the current state of the Union, from the failure of policies towards the native American Indian nations and our national monetary system controlled by a private banking cartel to global police actions and federal entitlements for the broad spectrum of special interest groups, I would say that we have not fulfilled our responsibility to keep the republic. I would further say that it is a matter of the heart. As I read John Adams' quote, because we have not kept our individual lives by self-government under God, our civil government is showing serious signs of failure.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

streaming using justin.tv

Justin.tv is a streaming solution we have just started using. It is easy to setup and customize and can be used from Windows and Mac OS X. It includes a chat feature but each participant would have to have a justin.tv account to be able to chat, so not a real convenient web conferencing setup with respect to integrated chat. But for just streaming the audio/video it works well and is very simple to customize. I used the video plug-in code to make a customized page, including links for different video sizes.
We purchased a high def Canon XH-A1 camera, so that should be very beneficial for streaming to be able to zoom in with high quality to view the presentation and different people as they talk.

streaming with Windows Media Encoder

One solution which worked fairly well for us, we used Windows Media Encoder to stream the audio and video. You can share your desktop as well but it requires an additional stream. As the name implies, it only runs on Windows OS. We used Primcast as the streaming server. Accounts start at $13/month for 5GB of data which was plenty for what we needed. The bandwidth used was about 100MB/person for about 2 hours. For a camera we used a Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF. This is a nice little webcam the Windows driver supports auto-tracking, so that as the person on which the camera is centered moves the camera follows them. Occasionally it has to be adjusted manually to keep it tracking. For audio we are using high-quality wireless mics, one for the main speaker and another for those in the local meeting to participate and be heard by those streaming. To be able to get the two mics connected into the one input on the computer (so that we don't have to setup a mixing board for every meeting) we use a stereo splitter, so that one mic is the right channel and the other is the left channel on the computer input.
We use Yahoo! IM for those receiving the stream to give feedback.

Friday, December 12, 2008

streaming versus webconferencing

I am helping setup streaming for trainings, with others asking about doing it, I decided I should add this to my blog. Here are my links for streaming and webconferencing. I list the webconferencing link here to explain the differences I see. Some of the webconferencing I have found doesn't support video or support having an adjustable size video window (dimdim.com). Webconferencing does normally have the capability to share presentations, like powerpoint. dimdim.com seems like a nice solution if you don't need to make the video window real big.
I will give more details about what we have done in future posts.