Monday, May 14, 2012

Pro Bono or No No?

My cousin sent me a call for help from a friend of hers that said the following...

"wishes filmmakers and programmers worked pro bono for amazing causes. I have an amazing cause that needs this type of talent! If you know anyone who wants to do good in the world and will film things, edit things, or make computery things for free (even in bits and pieces) send them my way .... We can have student interns do the programming *or* the video, but not both... I just wish the grant we were working on could pay for what we need done."

So, some thoughts.  Yes there are solutions but first something about the "pro bono" thing.  That's a term that comes from lawyer-land, where the salaries are generally six figures, low to hi.  Independent filmmakers generally make four figures, low to hi :-)  They a are generally passionate people who have their own interests they went into filmmaking for and they are almost always asked to donate their time to worthy causes, which they would love to support if they didn't have that pesky need to eat. 

Programmers are generally either full time employed, in which case they may be making lawyer $ but working 60-80 hours a week.  Or they are unemployed or indies and then see the reference to independent filmmakers above :-)

Of course there are always exceptions to the statements above and I hope that people find those selfless volunteers.  If not, there are the following options.

1.  Class/thesis projects.  Student projects that are funded in credits, not $.  Especially in a university environment, as this writer is, these are options that often serve.

2.  Barter.  The program this writer wants documented/supported is theraputic in nature.  Perhaps some trade of therapy hours for filming or programming might be an option.

3.  Crowd-Sourced Funding.  Kickstarter is the 800 lb gorilla at the moment, but there are others  Find programmers/filmmakers, spec the costs of the projects, make a pitch and see what develops.  Reaching out to professionals to work together to get a project funded (much faster and with much less pain than by writing a grant) is something that will likely be better received and allow you to find a more dedicated and more professional partner.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Flash vs Webkit

A nice piece from one of the IGM Grad Project classes of interest to both FOSS and Game folks

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First Two Weeks of the Quarter Shout Out!

Since I started sabbatical in July things have been intermittent at best, something I hope to remedy for a New Year's resolution.  That said, two quick mentions...

1.  First a tip of the hat to Ralph J. Bean, who's teaching the new "Project in FOSS Development" course at  RIT this quarter with Open Source Games in the Cloud and hosting on Open Shift as the focus.  RJ and I developed the course last quarter and after sitting in the back for two weeks I can assert that he's doing a great job so far in his first college teaching gig.

2.  Also a salute to Mel Chua as she announces her inevitable (due to her choice to pursue a PhD) departure from Red Hat.  Mel was one of our first big supporters at FOSS@RIT, (along with Karlie Robinson and Fred Gross) and I had the pleasure of working with her at POSSE and conferences since.

Keep your eyes on both their spaces, they are doing great stuff!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The (STEM) Game's Afoot

The Second Annual National Stem Video Game Challenge opened yesterday and closes 3/12. (perfect for RIT students on a winter quarter schedule)

Students from middle school-grad school can enter, as can K-12 school educators either in formal schools or in after-school/weekend youth programs  (No college profs though, shuckins)  Kids get prizes and small awards, college students and educators split 30K and 40K awards respectively.

Scratch is an approved platform FOSS people!  I also pinged them to see if straight web tech such as HTML5, CSS and the rest of the usual suspects are acceptable and they gave me the thumbs up.

Get cracking!!!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ok, so what's half a year between friends?

I'm on sabbatical and juggling projects and traveling like mad.  In the last four weeks I was at four different conferences.  

First up was the Engineering Education Conference IEEE FIE in South Dakota where I hung out with the Teaching Open Source and Open Source Dot Com crowd and presented this paper on the Girl Scout Games for Life Workshop.  

The following week I was part of a panel at the IT Educators Conference, ACM SIGITE as part of a panel on FOSS and Computing Education.  I wrote up all the FOSS session of the day for OSDC. I hit the Audio Engineering Society's conference and was able to catch one of the Game Audio sessions there and write it up as well for Gamasutra.

Last week was Los Angeles.  Before I hit the conference I was able to squeeze in a bit of fun by going to Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer's Halloween performance monday night and touring the Paramount Film Archives with an old High School friend who runs them Tuesday morning.

Then I attended the IEEE International Games Innovation Conference to check it out as we'll be running it in Rochester next year.

Many projects running.  More about those in another post.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

RIT projects picked up by others!, Connectology, Scratch for the Girl Scouts

Students from the College of Charleston's "Software Engineering Practicum" course, taught by Jim Bowring, are working on FOSS projects this quarter and the "Four's Company" team decided to work on "Math Adventure:Fortune Hunter." They've been sending us weekly e-mails, engaging with the original student dev team here and are doing all the right things, so Kudos to Jim and the Team!

I presented on our XO/Sugar efforts at RIT's "Connectology" conference, which focuses on leadership skills and community service.  A small but dedicated crowd played with the games on the XO's and two are likely candidates for future work with us in the FOSSBox.

Since 2008 I've been offering a Girl Scouts workshop to help them achieve their "Games for Life" badge, with the help of Professor Jessica Bayliss and a rotating pool of Grad and Undergrad students support.  We've offered the workshop four times and will be giving the 5th on April 23rd.  This quarter FOSSBoxer Justin Lewis is porting the "build a game" introductory tutorials over to Scratch and I'll be revising the slides and putting them in to Open Office format.  After the workshop is over we'll be tweaking the materials a last time and then distributing them via the web so that others can offer the workshop to their local Girl Scouts as well.  I'll be posting something after the workshop is over to discuss how it went.

It seems that Spring has finally arrived in Rochester, thank God!  Will be hitting the bike trails for sure today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance

A team of Faculty and Students from RIT's Center for Student Innovation headed to DC this past week to present a paper Undergraduate Student Experiences at a Summer Research Fellows Program in Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Student Innovation (CSI).
While this was not an Open Source event per se, nor was the research program, it happened that the majority of student projects we showcased at the conference were FOSS projects or used FOSS tech.

FOSS Projects included STEM games and Open Video Chat for the OLPC,  an environmental monitoring and rating web site for alternative energy homes was built on top of jQuery and a protein visualization and matching project was built in Python.

Student blogs of the event can be found here and here.