Book Thing #32: We Are Anonymous

This Month’s BookThing is We are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson.

From the back cover:

we-are-anonymousA thrilling, exclusive expose of the hacker collectives Anonymous and LulzSec.WE ARE ANONYMOUS is the first full account of how a loosely assembled group of hackers scattered across the globe formed a new kind of insurgency, seized headlines, and tortured the feds-and the ultimate betrayal that would eventually bring them down. Parmy Olson goes behind the headlines and into the world of Anonymous and LulzSec with unprecedented access, drawing upon hundreds of conversations with the hackers themselves, including exclusive interviews with all six core members of LulzSec.

In late 2010, thousands of hacktivists joined a mass digital assault on the websites of VISA, MasterCard, and PayPal to protest their treatment of WikiLeaks. Other targets were wide ranging-the websites of corporations from Sony Entertainment and Fox to the Vatican and the Church of Scientology were hacked, defaced, and embarrassed-and the message was that no one was safe. Thousands of user accounts from pornography websites were released, exposing government employees and military personnel.

Although some attacks were perpetrated by masses of users who were rallied on the message boards of 4Chan, many others were masterminded by a small, tight-knit group of hackers who formed a splinter group of Anonymous called LulzSec. The legend of Anonymous and LulzSec grew in the wake of each ambitious hack. But how were they penetrating intricate corporate security systems? Were they anarchists or activists? Teams or lone wolves? A cabal of skilled hackers or a disorganized bunch of kids?

WE ARE ANONYMOUS delves deep into the internet’s underbelly to tell the incredible full story of the global cyber insurgency movement, and its implications for the future of computer security.

About Parmy Olson:

Parmy Olson is a journalist for Forbes magazine known for her work on the hacktivist movement Anonymous. She describes herself as covering “agitators and innovators in mobile”. -Wikipedia

To earn 4 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Thing #83: Create Animated Videos with PowToon

The last time we worked with making our own animated videos in Nebraska Learns 2.0 was in 2012, when we used Xtranormal. However, in 2013, Xtranormal was shut down. So, we’ve decided it’s time to revisit animated video creation with another service.

For this month’s Thing, we will learn how to use PowToon to create an online animated movie or presentation to promote your library and its services.

PowToonPowToon is online animated presentation software that provides you with themes of animated characters, props and transitions, and uses simple drag and drop functionality to create professional looking animated presentations and cartoon style videos. You can then upload your video to YouTube to share.

Sign up

First, you will need to sign up for a free account. All you need to provide is your first name, last name, and email address. Then you choose a password. In addition, you can select a profile to get a customized experience. The choices are Student, Teacher, Video Artist/Animator, Small Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Marketing Pro, and Other.

There are also Premium and Education plans that give you more features and options. But, for this exercise, you will only need the free account.

Soon after you create your account, you will receive a welcome email and more follow-up emails with tips and tricks for using PowToon.

Create Your PowToon

To create your video, you have the options of using a pre-made Powtoon and editing it for your purposes, using one of the free template styles, or starting completely from scratch with a blank template.

Once you have chosen your starting point, you are brought into the editor where you can add static or animated characters, props, backgrounds, and text.

PowToon2

You can also record your own voice-over audio or add a music track from the provided list. Your own pictures or library logo can be imported into your video, or you can do a Creative Commons search in Flickr to find images you can use.

Using the Timeline, you can adjust the timing of your animation and audio until you are happy with your video.

When you are done, you can Save your project into your PowToon Dashboard and then Publish it to YouTube.

This ‘How to use PowToon’ tutorial will give you step-by-step instructions on how to create your own PowToon:

There is also a series of tutorials on the PowToon website, showing you the basics, as well as how to use more of the features of the software.

In addition, PowToons has made available online for free their ebook, The Power of Cartoon Marketing. It’s a more in depth look at using animated videos to share your message. The Bonus Workbook has detailed instructions for creating your own PowToon.

PowToons in my library?

Here are a few examples of libraries using PowToons:

Introducing the Nonfiction Section of the Library

Upper School Technology 101 for 4th-6th grades

Check Out Cheatham County Public Library

Assignment:

  1.    Go to PowToon and create an account.
  2.    Make a short animated video, adding any elements you like.
  3.    Write a blog post about your experience with animated video creation. Be sure to either embed your video in your blog post, or include a link to it, so we can all watch. Some things to think about:
  • What did you like/dislike about PowToon?
  • What did you think of the video creation process? Was it difficult or easy to create your own video?
  • How can PowToon be used in libraries?
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Thing #82: Crowdfunding

Please note: This month’s thing involves money. To be clear, we are not requiring you to spend any; unless you want to. That’s up to you.

In these days of tight library budgets, sometimes you have a great idea but you don’t have the funds to implement it. If you find yourself in this situation, have you considered trying to crowdfund your idea?

kickstarter_graphic_v2-1What is crowdfunding?

According to Wikipedia “crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. One early-stage equity expert described it as “the practice of raising funds from two or more people over the internet towards a common Service, Project, Product, Investment, Cause, and Experience or SPPICE.” The crowdfunding model is fueled by three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea and/or project to be funded; individuals or groups who support the idea; and a moderating organization (the “platform”) that brings the parties together to launch the idea.”

Simply put, you have an idea, and you ask others to contribute funds to make that idea come to fruition. I’ve provided several examples of crowdfunded projects, both current and completed, near the end of this post.

Generally crowfunding works like this:

  1. Come up with the idea. Let’s say it’s to bring an author into the library for a program and all told it will cost $3000.
  2. Choose the crowdfunding platform on which you’re going to raise the money. (Some platforms don’t allow certain types of fundraising and/or fundraisers. More on this later.)
  3. Write up your idea along with what the end result will be, how much you’re asking for, what are the risks to the contributors, the end date for your fundraising effort, and (depending on the platform,) what the reward(s) will be for the contributors. (A free ticket to the event would be a reward example for this type of project or maybe a meet & greet with the author for a high-dollar contributor.)
  4. Promote your idea.
  5. When the end date arrives, collect your funds minus the platform’s fees and implement your idea. (On some platforms if you don’t achieve your funding goal, you don’t get any of the money. On others, you get whatever amount was contributed.)

If you’re more of an infographic person, click on the one of the right for the full-sized version. It is Kickstarter-centric, but accurate for most of the current platforms.

Platforms

There are dozens of crowdfunding platforms available and more are being created regularly. To keep focus I’ll be briefly introducing you to three of the larger and more popular ones.

  • Kickstarter
    Kickstarter is pretty much the grandfather of the platforms. Everything from art books, to albums, to feature films have been funded here. On Kickstarter, if you don’t achieve your funding goal, you don’t get any of the money and you’re pretty much expected to offer something in exchange for contributions based on the amount contributed. Also, “Kickstarter does not allow projects to fundraise for charity or offer financial incentives.” Because of this I have heard of libraries having their projects being declined by Kickstarter.
  • Indiegogo
    Indiegogo is the next largest of the platforms and seems to be a bit more open than Kickstarter on who can create projects and the types of projects that can be created. For example, Kickstarter generally wants a “something that can be shared” to come out of a project whereas here you could ask for funds to take a trip by yourself. From what I’ve read, Indigogo is more library friendly.
  • GoFundMe
    GoFundMe focuses more on crowdfunding individuals and charitable organizations that are just looking for a new was to do fundraising. They have plans for “Personal Campaigns,” “Charity Fundraising,” and “All-or-Nothing” campaigns. Years ago when I collected money to fund a honeymoon I used a travel agent. If I was to do that again today I’d probably use GoFundMe instead.

Pros & Cons

Pros & cons of crowdfunding can be looked at from two perspectives, from that of those looking to receive the funds and from those doing the funding.

For those that are looking to raise funds this can be a great way to advertise your project on a more global scale. For example, I’ve contributed to library projects for libraries in other states. Had they just advertised locally, they would not have had me as a contributor. On the down side, this can be a lot of work and depending on the platform you choose, it may all be for naught. Also, be sure to check with your governing body (city council for example,) about any fundraising rules you may not be aware of.

From the funder’s perspective the up side is that you can have the great feeling knowing that you directly helped someone achieve their goal and in most cases get one for yourself. As a contributor I personally have received a number of books and movies either earlier than the general commercial release, or as part of a limited edition run that was only available to contributors. On tho down-side however, whenever I contribute I am taking a chance that the item I’m funding will actually appear. If you read the fine print, in most cases the platform will not make a guarantee that the funds will be used as intended. Though so far I have received just about everything I’ve funded, a few projects have gone under and not delivered.

Examples

Here’s a few examples of library & librarians that have used crowdfunding:

And here are several projects that Commission staff have personally participated in:

Assignment:

  1. Take some time and check out the three crowdfunding platforms we’ve linked to. Check out things like their rules and fees, and be sure to browse through both current and past projects for things that would either interest you personally or might be an example of what you’re library could do.
  2. Blog about your experience. Be sure to talk about:
    • How could crowdfunding be used in your library? Give us an example of a project that you’d like to do in the library. (You do not need to actually do it.)
    • Which platform would you choose and why? What would be involved in implementing your crowdfunding idea?
    • As an individual, did you find any projects that you would consider funding? Which one(s) and why or why not?

(Full disclosure: This lesson is based on an early draft of a chapter on Crowdfunding for a book I’m currently working on.)

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Book Thing #31: dot complicated

This Month’s BookThing is dot complicated by Randi Zuckerberg..

From the back cover:

dot complicatedFrom Randi Zuckerberg, social media and technology expert and former marketing executive at Facebook, comes a welcome, essential guide to understanding social media and technology and how they influence and inform our lives online and off.

Technology and social media have changed, enhanced, and complicated every facet of our lives—from how we interact with our friends to how we elect presidents, from how we manage our careers to how we support important causes, from how we find love to how we raise our children.

The technology revolution is not going away. We can’t hide from it or pretend that it’s not changing our lives in a thousand different ways. So how do we deal? In Dot Complicated, Randi Zuckerberg shows us. Through first hand accounts of her time at Facebook and beyond, where Zuckerberg witnessed this remarkable shift, she details the opportunities and obstacles, problems and solutions, to this new online reality. In the process, she establishes rules to bring some much-needed order and clarity to our connected, complicated, and constantly changing lives online. “The Internet, social networks, and smartphones,” Zuckerberg writes, “have given us amazing new tools and ways of communicating, collaborating, and living with one another. We can use new technology to understand and solve some very old challenges that individuals and communities around the world have faced since long before Facebook, or anything like it, existed.”

Invaluable, timely, and engaging, Dot Complicated reveals how to make it through your life online in one piece—from the etiquette of unfriending and the power of crowdsourcing to the perils of photo tags and the importance of teaching your kids how to be tech savvy.

Randi ZuckerbergAbout Randi Zuckerberg:

Zuckerberg has been on the frontline of the social media movement since Facebook’s early days and her following six years as a marketing executive for the company. Her part memoir, part how-to manual addresses issues of privacy, online presence, networking, etiquette, and the future of social change.

To earn 2 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be We are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgencyby Parmy Olson.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Thing #81: Mashup Video with Popcorn Maker

For this month’s Thing, we’re going to learn how to use Popcorn Maker to remix video, audio and images to create new video mashups that you can use to promote your library and its services.PopcornMaker

Popcorn Maker is part of Webmaker, a suite of tools developed by Mozilla (yes, the Firefox people) to help people create new web content while at the same time learning how the web works.

You are welcome to explore the other Webmaker tools, but for this Thing, we are going to explore Popcorn Maker.

The basic concept of Popcorn Maker is to create something brand new, using content from various places on the web and combining it with your own text and links. And you can do it all without having to learn programing, using the simple drag and drop browser interface.

You can import video from YouTube or Vimeo, and audio from Clyp or Soundcloud. And then add more information from Google Maps, Flickr, and Wikipedia to enhance the video.

Lastly, you can insert your own text pop-ups, annotations and links. The links within your video are live, so your viewers will be able to click on them within your video. This will pause your video, and open up a new tab in your browser with the website you wanted them to see.

Popcorn Maker also has video control features that you can use to modify how your video plays: Loop, Skip and Pause.

To get started, you will need to create an account with Mozilla Persona. When you go to Popcorn Maker, there will be a blue Sign In link in the upper right of the screen.  All you need to do is enter your email address, and create a Password and User Name. Persona will send you an email to confirm your account. Once that’s done, you’re ready to make videos!

This video tutorial will show you how to use Popcorn Maker to create your own remixed mashup video:

Mozilla Webmaker also has a gallery of pre-made starter videos that you can experiment with to create new mashups. In the Gallery, on the right side of the page, use the Filter pull-down to limit the results to Popcorn. Then you can see what other people have created, and modify their videos, too.

If you’d like to learn more about Mozilla and their Webmaker initiative and Mozillarian community, check out the recording of the NCompass Live Tech Talk with Michael Sauers, Enter the Mozillarian: Weaving the Mozilla and Library Communities.

Assignment:

  1. Go to Popcorn Maker and create an account with Mozilla Persona to use the tool.
  2. Make a short mashup video, adding any elements you like.
  3. Write a blog post about your experience with video mashups. Be sure to either embed your video in your blog post, or include a link to it, so we can all watch. Some things to think about:
  • What did you like/dislike about Popcorn Maker? What did you think of the video mashup process? Was it difficult or easy to create your own video?
  • How can Popcorn Maker be used in libraries?
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