Monday, July 18, 2016

Software Update: Automotive Grade Linux Spec v2.0 Arrives, Adoption Grows

Infiniti Q70s Control Panel Display as seen at a recent Willow Springs International Raceway Motor Press Guild (MPG) Track Day event. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Software Update: Automotive Grade Linux Spec v2.0 Arrives, Adoption Grows
Jul 14, 2016 — by Eric Brown,

The Automotive Grade Linux project released v2 of its open platform for connected cars, and added support for Raspberry Pi, DragonBoard, and Wandboard SBCs.

The Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project, which is developing a “Linux-based, open platform for the connected car,” announced the release of the second version of its Unified Code Base (UCB) distribution for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI). The latest version adds features like audio routing, rear seat display support, the beginnings of an app platform, and support for development boards including the DragonBoard, Wandboard, and Raspberry Pi.

AGL’s Yocto Project derived UCB distro, which is also based in part on the GENIVI and Tizen automotive specs, was first released in January. UCB 1.0 followed an experimental AGL stack in 2014 and an AGL Requirements Specification in June, 2015.
UCB is scheduled for a 3.0 release in early 2017, at which point some automotive manufacturers will finally use it in production cars. Most of the IVI software will be based on UCB, but carmakers can also differentiate with their own features.

New features in UCB 2.0, which will be available for download by the end of the week, include:

  • Rear seat display and video playback — supports simultaneous playback on front and rear displays
  • Audio routing and mixing — based on GENIVI and Tizen audio management, prioritization, and layering
  • Application framework — controls and manages installation, launch, and update of applications, and adds security by assigning resources only to approved apps
  • ConnMan network management — ConnMan daemon based scheme for pairing multiple Bluetooth devices and switching data connections between Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Vehicle bus messaging — rewritten with built-in security to prevent unwanted intrusions and stop rogue apps from communicating with vehicle bus
  • New build environment — faster server that lets developers specify what goes into the build, and submit custom jobs
  • New test infrastructure — enables connect connectivity to a hardware board over the Internet to perform testing
  • New hardware support — NXP Sabre Automotive, Wandboard, Qualcomm DragonBoard, TI Vayu EVM, and Raspberry Pi, adding to previous support for Renesas R-CAR M2 PORTER and R-CAR E2 Silk, Intel boards like the MinnowBoard MAX, and the QEMU x86 64-bit emulator
  • AGL UCB 2.0 is being demonstrated at the Automotive Linux Summit on July 13-14 in Tokyo. The demo includes rear seat display, video playback, AM/FM radio, wheel input device, navigation, HVAC control, media player and browser, and settings and home screen functionality.

Automotive Grade Linux architecture (Ctrl-Click to enlarge). Image Credit: copyright © 2016

AGL Membership Expands

AGL seems to be eclipsing GENIVI as the leading open Linux car platform. More than 30 new companies have joined AGL in the past year, bringing the membership to more than 70.

The January release of UCB 1.0 was accompanied by the announcement of new members including Ford, Subaru, Mazda, and Mitsubishi Motors. Pre-existing members include Toyota, Nissan, and Jaguar Land Rover, which already offers an AGL-inspired IVI system. The addition of Ford, a longtime Windows Automotive partner, was a particularly significant coup, and the sign-on of automotive IVI component vendors like Harman, Panasonic, and Pioneer was also key.

In recent months, Hyundai has joined, along with dozens of technology companies. These include chipmakers like TI, MediaTek, and Qualcomm, which has launched an automotive-focused, Linux-ready Snapdragon 820a SoC and Connected Car Reference Platform. Previous semiconductor members included Renesas and Nvidia, which has a Linux-compatible Drive PX smart car system based on its Tegra SoCs.

Joining an organization doesn’t equate with a commitment to use its spec. Yet, the AGL has garnered promises to implement UCB from Toyota, as well as chipmaker Renesas and IVI equipment manufacturers like Aisin AW, DENSO, Fujitsu Ten, Harman, Panasonic, and Pioneer.

IVI’s Long Road

IVI systems started appearing in luxury cars about a decade ago around the time of the first iPhone and Android phones, and the oldest Linux-oriented organization focused on IVI — the GENIVI Alliance — was founded more than seven years ago. Yet IVI systems, which combine touch-enabled navigation and infotainment features, and in many cases the communications, safety, and security features provided by AGL’s UCB, are still far from universal.

An IHS report from late December projected that sales of automotive displays of 7.0-plus inches will reach only 33.5 million units in 2021, or less than half of the roughly 82.9 million cars sold globally in 2015.The IVI tide is rising faster, however, as the sales will grow at a rate of nearly 10 percent.

The relatively slow uptake compared to smartphones is due to the conservative nature of the automotive business, which is based largely on the necessary concern for safety. This continues to be a concern as IVI is integrated with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) systems and self-driving cars.

There’s still plenty of time for new contenders to take on leading platforms like QNX and Windows Embedded Automotive. Most of the newcomers run on Linux or the Linux-based Android, with projects based on AGL, GENIVI, or other Linux platforms such as Intel’s In-Vehicle Solutions or the new Qt Automotive Embedded. The Qt Company is an AGL member, and says it will provide backends for AGL, GENIVI, and QNX. Intel’s Wind River subsidiary is also a member.

Android-based IVI systems include Mitsubishi’s FlexConnect.IVI, Renault’s R-Link, and Parrot’s after-market Android IVI solutions. There continue to be rumors that mobile/IVI integration stacks like Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay will turn into full-fledged IVI and telematics platforms.

The automotive business now has sufficient experience with IVI to realize the benefits of a universal open platform. They understand the complications and costs involved with keeping up with increasingly sophisticated, fast-changing technology. Like most other automotive platforms, UCB will support “instrument cluster, heads up display, telematics, and autonomous driving in the future,” says AGL.

“The automotive industry is starting to embrace an open innovation mindset, and OEMs and suppliers are realizing that collaboration and joint development benefit the entire industry,” stated Dan Cauchy, General Manager of Automotive at The Linux Foundation. “The AGL UCB provides the industry with a single, shared platform that will ultimately reduce fragmentation, improve time-to- market and reduce the cost of software development for everyone.”

“The latest version of the AGL UCB distribution marks a significant step toward building a developer ecosystem around the platform,” stated Masashige Mizuyama, CTO, Infotainment Business, Panasonic. “The new platform enables developers to build and test one application that can be supported by multiple OEMs, instead of having to build multiple applications with the same function.”

Further information

More information on AGL UCB, including a link for free downloads, may be found at the Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux website.
[Reference Here - copyright © 2016]

Performance & Racing Tech Talk, Automotive Grade, Linux, AGL, UCB, Unified Code Base, In-Vehicle Infotainment, IVI, Raspberry Pi, DragonBoard, Wandboard SBC, Yocto Project,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

AutoSuit - A Techno Solution To The Well Dressed Man

Gay Giano’s business development director Matthew Lee stands at store front display wearing his latest 3D scanned suit for the well dressed man. Image Credit: Jonathan Wong via South China Morning Post

AutoSuit - A Techno Solution To The Well Dressed Man

This robotic tailor can place anyone in the perfect suit in less than 10 seconds.

Hong Kong-based Gay Giano 3D TailorCustomers are asked to wear a tight-fitting tank top and step inside a changing room equipped with 14 infrared sensors - eight in the front and six at the back. The machine instructs the customer to stand at a certain spot and hold still while it does its work in under 10 seconds. The data, including not just measurements of length and circumference, but also angles, is instantaneously delivered to an app on the tablet. 

For tailors, the measurements taken of their customer are necessary to come out with a decent fit result. Without these 24 or so measures - each by each, one might come out with something slightly better than a blanket but that the customer would not accept.

In these days of innovation, when technology is present almost everywhere, tailoring now has become much easier and precise.

Business development director at Charmston Limited, Matthew Lee, said that the technology helps boost a trade that is struggling due to a shortage of fresh tailors entering the game. Lee said “There’s a huge disconnect between these traditional craftsmen or craftswomen and the next generation. There’s no one taking over. So we felt that, if that’s the case, it’s either a dying trade or we can revitalise it with technology that could enhance or keep a better record of their knowledge,”. Caption & Image Credit: The 3D Measurement Company

This 'robotic tailor' (scanner) is a breakthrough that in less than 10 seconds, one will get the perfect fit suit as this robotic tailor gives over 120 detailed measurements. All that is needed is the usual good cloth, a studied technician, and about six hours - voila ... appears the well dressed man.

The company uses 14 infrared sensors to scan a customer’s body and provide 120 precise measurements, but the 3D tech is more interested in keeping a firm record of this traditional craft, according to Gay Giano’s business development director Matthew Lee. Image Credit: Jonathan Wong via South China Morning Post

Gay Giano 3D Tailor is now working with an Israeli firm to develop software that will show a 3D pattern rendering of the suits within 15 minutes.

The store has been using and perfecting 3D measuring technology since it opened in November 2014. Its tailors are now working with the Israeli software company to create an accurate rendition of the fabrics used by taking into account the tension and weight of the materials to show the correct drape.

The company has invested US$100,000 on the scanning technology and the software needed to render the designs. It expects to introduce the software in the second quarter of this year.
[ht: South China Morning Post]

TAGS: robotic tailor, ten seconds, Hong Kong, Gay Giano, 3D Tailor, body scan, South China Morning Post, 3D Measurement Company, Symblogogy

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Onagawa Town In Japan Home To Process Technology Danborghini

The president of the packaging company, Hideki Konno (holding Danborghini logo), said he hopes the street will attract many people and enliven both Onagawa and Ishinomaki. Image Credit: NHK World (2015)

Onagawa Town In Japan Home To Process Technology Danborghini

This week marked the revival of a shopping district in the northeastern Japanese town in Miyagi Prefecture devastated by the 2011 tsunami.  Onagawa Town was commemorated with an opening ceremony December 23rd, 2015.

A similar model Lamborghini in real life as it was parked on La Brea Avenue near Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, CA., December 23, 2015. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The mayor of Onagawa Town, Yoshiaki Suda, gave a ceremonial speech on Wednesday to declare the central shopping thoroughfare open. A recent count put Onagawa's population at just under 7,000 inhabitants, down by more than 30 percent from pre-disaster levels. The decline is the steepest among municipalities affected by the tsunami, so this revival event was a significant marker in the region's comeback.

To mark the opening of this shopping street, a life-size cardboard replica of a Lamborghini Italian sports car was placed on display.

The model car (based on a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4), referred to as the Danborghini, is the work of Konno Konpou packaging company in neighboring Ishinomaki City.

The car has been dubbed “Danborghini,” a portmanteau of Lamborghini and “danbo,” the Japanese word for a 3D cardboard character. The Danborghini weighs around 100 kilograms and took a six-member team six months to complete.

Cardboard tire being removed from the Danborghini. Tire detail complete with groove pattern reproduced by Konno Konpou Inc. staff. on right - Getty Images VIDEO HERE. Image Credit: Konpo75 via Twitter

This excerpted and edited from Asahi Shimbun -

Hot pink cardboard Lambo designed to bring out the crowds in Miyagi
By KENGO HIYOSHI/Asahi Shimbun Staff Writer - December 19, 2015 - ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi Prefecture

Every last detail of the bright pink life-size Italian supercar Lamborghini going on show at a shopping mall near here was replicated ... in cardboard.

And, it may just serve as a tonic for survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The cardboard Lambo will go on display from Dec. 23 at an outlet of packaging material firm Konno Konpou Inc., which created faux exotic car.

“We wanted to build a car we worship with our processing technology,” said Hideki Konno, the 43-year-old president of Konno Konpou, who led the project.

After the March 11 disaster, Konno Konpou offered free reinforced corrugated cardboard to shelters to be used as partitions to provide privacy to evacuees.

“Nearly five years have passed since the disaster,” Konno said. “It will be great if the re-created car can help draw a crowd (to the new shopping center).”
It uses 500 or so parts built with reinforced corrugated cardboard. For a faithful re-creation, Konno’s team refused to cut corners on even the tiniest details, such as parts of the engine and the car’s tires.

The team began the project about two and half years ago beginning with a small scale model. It then spent about six months on the life-size car, on which they toiled during slow work times.

The Danborghini can be seen at the shopping center in Onagawa, a town that was severely affected by the disaster triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake, like Ishinomaki and elsewhere in northeastern Japan.
[Reference Here]

Packaging cardboard processes applied to promotional display is a great way to attract attention and promote the capabilities of packaging technology in an effort to stimulate business ... on several levels.

We started from the midst of sorrow and despair and completed the shopping street by bringing together the ideas of town residents,” Onagawa Mayor Yoshiaki Suda said at the opening ceremony for the street. “We want to maintain the bustle in the town.”

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Danborghini, Onagawa, Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Lamborghini,  Aventador, LP 700-4, The EDJE, Symblogogy, Yoshiaki Suda, NHK World, Konpo75

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dean Batchelor Awards Banquet - 2015 MPG AWARDS WINNERS




The 2015 MPG Awards were held at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA last night and winners were recognized in each category for Excellence in Automotive Journalism. Top honors were awarded to Micah Muzio & COTU Productions, winners of the 2015 Dean Batchelor Award, for their "2015 Polaris Slingshot Review" on
Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Doug Stokes with Harold Osmer
Doug Stokes was recognized for his exceptional behind-the-scenes public relations contributions to motor sports and the racing industry. A member of the Motor Press Guild since it was renamed from IMPA-West in the mid-1980's, Doug has supported motor sports for more than 25 years, representing such notable and iconic clients as Mickey and Trudy Thompson, Gale Banks, Stuart Rowlands, and Steve Ford, and supporting racing efforts for Honda, Suzuki, the Kazarian Brothers, and Lucas Oil. Doug has served as Vice President of Communications at Irwindale Event Center since 2013, and has previously been honored with the Chapman Award for PR by the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association.


2015 Best Feature Article of the Year: Larry P. Vellequette and Luca Ciferri
"The Coming Squeeze" [view pdf] - Automotive News
2015 Best News Article of the Year: Hans Greimel
"Confessions of a Price Fixer" - Automotive News
2015 Best Vehicle Review of the Year: Basem Wasef
"Review: The Ferocious New Corvette Z06 is an $80K Ferrari-Killer" - Wired
mpgawards-article-wasefBasem Wasef & wife, Anna

2015 Best Audio Program of the Year: Charlie Vogelheim and Shawn Meyers
"#35: The Best and Worst 'Cars and Coffee' Ever" [click to find podcast on iTunes] - Motor Trend Audio
mpgawards-books-vogelheimL-R: John Clinard, Charlie Vogelheim, Ed Kim (head judge - audio)

2015 Best Book of the Year: Sam Posey
Where the Writer Meets the Road - David Bull Publishing
mpgawards-books-poseySam Posey and Eric Dahlquist, Sr. (head judge - books)

2015 Best Feature Video of the Year: Adam Carolla (Director/Producer), Nate Adams (Producer/Additional Direction), Mike August (Producer), Matt D'Andria (Executive Producer), Norm Pattiz (Executive Producer)Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman - Sontalia, Mollette
L-R: Nate Adams, Peter Starr (head judge - video), Matt D'Andria
2015 Best Video Vehicle Review of the Year: Micah Muzio and COTU Productions
Micah Muzio

2015 Best Photo of the Year: Dale Kistemaker
"24+30" - Porsche Panorama [view pdf]
 [ht: Motor Press Guild]

TAGS: Motor Press Guild, Dean Batchelor Award, 2015 MPG Awards, Doug Stokes, Adam Carolla, Nate Adams, Mike August, Matt D'Andria, Norm Pattiz, Sam Posey, Charlie Vogelheim, Shawn Meyers, Micah Muzio, COTU Productions, Hans Greimel, Larry P. Vellequette, Luca Ciferri, Basem Wasef, Bob D'Olivo Award, Dale Kistemaker, The EDJE, Porsche Panomara, Wired, Automotive News, Sontalia, Molette, David Bull Publishing,, Motor Trend Audio, 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Connected Passivity And The Internet Of Things In A Symbology World

Need a barcode scanner? Then check out our CLZ Barry scanner app for iOS and Android: ** Scan barcodes using the built-in camera of your phone or tablet. ** Instantly transmit scanned barcodes to your desktop computer (Windows or Mac). ** Or: scan barcodes while offline, then send them all to your PC or Mac in one go. CLZ Barry is available for Android and iOS. Image Credit:

 Connected Passivity And The Internet Of Things In A Symbology World

For a long time, barcode identification type symbols (linear barcodes, PDF417, 2-D/QR Codes, 3-D/PM Codes) have been an accepted way to keep track of the movement of objects, identifying content and pricing, and a really good way of processing transactions in a business environment for efficiency and profit.

Through the advent of radio signal enabled personal communications devices with a camera (computers, phones, smartphones, and etc.), businesses found many ways to reach out and grab the attention of consumers by connecting them to promotional and other functional ways to reach out to generate sales/brand loyalty in a connected environment.

When one combines the expansion of cloud services as a way to further connect people with the control and access to information of the world around them, this "Internet Of Things" TCPIP address environment is beginning to include ... well, everything active, and more importantly ... inactive.

This issue of inactive/passivity of an object may be part of the reason barcodes are among the top technologies considered necessary to enable the IoT, according to a survey commissioned by Zebra Technologies and conducted by Forrester Consulting.  Image Credit: Forrester Consulting via

This excerpted and edited from Information Week -

The Internet of (Passive) Things
IoT is not only about sensors, actuators, and connected thermostats - manufacturers need to incorporate all bar-coded products into their plans
By Lori MacVittie - 7/23/2014 | 09:06 AM - InformationWeek

As someone who suffers from celiac disease, I rely on all sorts of tricks to ensure I don't accidentally become "glutenized" (as my six-year-old calls it). One of those tools is an app on my iPhone that reads a barcode and then consults a database to determine whether or not the product in question is safe -- meaning it does not contain gluten.

The effectiveness of this app relies on two things: the people who maintain the barcode database, and the reliability of the information provided by the manufacturer. While it's not perfect because of the tenuous relationship between the two, the lag time involved in updating product information, and the confusion as to what constitutes "gluten-free" across the food industry, I generally listen to the app. If it indicates there might be gluten in a product, I don't buy it. Period.

Now, many folks won't consider this app and its backend process part of the Internet of Things. The products themselves are not in any way "connected" to the Internet or any mobile network, nor does the application communicate directly in any way with the products. I must manually scan the bar code to initiate communication between the app and its database (which lives somewhere "out there" on the Internet) to determine whether or not I should purchase a given product.

But just because it's not directly connected does not mean it's not a part of the big picture. The fact is, it isn't feasible to sensor- or Internet-enable everything. Food is clearly one of those categories that simply wouldn't be cost effective or realistic to connect directly to the Internet of Things. But that doesn't mean food -- and other consumables -- can't participate via other directly connected "things."
Barcodes, QR codes, or any kind of "code" imprinted on a product can certainly participate in the IoT, albeit in passive mode. That means they are not constantly active; they must be brought into the conversation through the use of some other connected device.

I call it passive tethering; you can call it what you will. Whatever the terminology, it's important to realize that the IoT will not be comprised solely of active, always-on "things." There will be hundreds of thousands of passively connected things that will ultimately change the way consumers act, make purchasing decisions, and go about their daily lives.

Producers that affix codes to products (that means, well, just about all of you) should consider that it is nigh impossible to prevent the participation of these products in the Internet of Things through mechanisms as described above, even if you wanted to. Third-party applications will find a way to leverage barcodes and other identifying data to provide value to consumers.
Ensuring consumers can access information from passively tagged products is far more difficult than providing links to actively participating products because you don't control the third-party applications or things through which consumers will seek it. That means you've got to ensure that those third-party applications or things have easy access to the data.

That's right, you've got to make that data accessible -- probably through an API.
The right API design will ensure you have visibility into queries regarding your product and, if you design it right, their purchasing requirements. That's valuable insight you can use to make marketing and production plans. It can help shape business decisions regarding whether or not a market exists for your product within a certain demographic or with specific health-related criteria.

The Internet of (Passive) Things is going to be just as influential and important to the future of business as its constantly connected counterpart. Ignore it at your peril.
[Reference Here]

No matter the specific reason a person may have to insist on timely information expanded through cloud based services, businesses who are pro-active in this expansion of the "Symbology" of things ... ALL THINGS ... will benefit over their competitors through increased contact with their target market.

Behold the power of expanding connectivity to passive items through resident symbology (linear barcodes, PDF417, 2-D/QR Codes, 3-D/PM Codes), as well as all things TCPIP addressed - Internet of Things!

Monday, March 24, 2014

How Most Organizations Are Missing The Boat On Intrgrated Social Media

Panel assembled at the Petersen Automotive Museum for "Social Media: Supercharging The Automotive Industry" held Tuesday, March 18, 2014. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

How Most Organizations Are Missing The Boat On Integrated Social Media

The event was well attended and the panelists informative. One point that may have been missed is that Social Media sites on the web are structured as stand-alone silos. 

"Social Media: Supercharging the Automotive Industry"

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Presented by Social Media Club Los Angeles at the Petersen Automotive Museum
How do the automotive industry’s top social media marketers go from 0 to 140 on Twitter while customizing posts on Facebook for their target audience? Find out as Social Media Club Los Angeles presents “Social Media: Supercharging the Automotive Industry.”

The panel will share their expertise on what’s under the hood in auto industry social media while discussing what fuels engagement. As one of the leading industries utilizing social media, hear what these trendsetters have to say and how their tools and skills can be universally applied across the sphere of social media users.

Most organizations embrace, in a reactive fashion, each of these silos individually. A stronger position an organization can take is to attempt to be pro-active and stitch activity that weaves together these silo platforms into a message that can drive traffic and resonates into the community this business effort is trying to reach. 

Social Media Club's event panel, moderator, and event hashtag. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

On Twitter, for example, most do not know the real intention and use of #HASHTAGS … these words or acronyms preceded by a ‘NUMBER’ or 'HASH' sign (#) are used to index or guide a 140 character conversation to a community that is tuned-in on tracking said #HASHTAG. This definition, or point-of-order, was not mentioned, developed, or explored during the course of the conversation delivered by the panel.

Which begs the question - How can a communications organization be pro-active and stitch activity that weaves together these silo social media platforms into a syndicated message strategy that can drive traffic and can resonate into the community this business effort is trying to reach?
[Reference - and more photos - Here]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Clarity Digital Group (Examiner/NowPublic) And It’s Uncivil Corporate Culture

As part of homework creating an advert for TV, Cinema, Radio or in poster format, one of my students produced this! I think this is fantastic and is especially useful for countries in Asia where this sort of artwork is popular! Image Credit:
As part of homework creating an advert for TV, Cinema, Radio or in poster format, one of my students produced this! I think this is fantastic and is especially useful for countries in Asia where this sort of artwork is popular! Image Credit:

Clarity Digital Group (Examiner/NowPublic) And It’s Uncivil Corporate Culture
Embedded in this posting is an article that notes an earthquake of a different nature (On March 17th, LA was hit with a 4.4 earthquake which jolted this author out of bed) and it exposes the corporate culture of a journalistic enterprise run by J-School graduates over the closure of a New Media hallmark after its purchase and mismanagement through to its process of “Going Dark”.
The issue centers on the process of how Clarity Digital Group (Examiner) out of Denver, CO decided to cease the operations of NowPublic – Crowd-Powered News at the end of 2013 and the defense of the process they employed.
This excerpted and edited from Politisite -
NowPublic – Were Intellectual Property Rights ignored?
Karl Gotthardt - March 17, 2014
NowPublic was a crowd-sourced citizen journalism site based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, founded by Michael Tippett, Leonard Brody and Michael E. Meyers in 2005.
In addition to its contributors, NowPublic also had a content-sharing agreement with the Associated Press. The crowd-sourced site was so successful that Time Magazine called NowPublic one of the 50 Best Websites of 2007.
NowPublic was a successful crowd sourced media site.
NowPublic was a successful crowd sourced media site.
Mainstream media types may gripe about the absence of safeguards ensuring the validity of news reported by the blogosphere, but nowhere are the merits of citizen journalism more apparent than at NowPublic. At this "participatory news network," a.k.a. bastion of "crowd-powered media," anyone can write a story, or upload images, audio or video.
Whatever gets the most votes from the reading masses—the site gets about 1 million unique visitors per month—ends up as the lead story. (NowPublic has "guest editors," "wranglers" and an "actual news guy" who keep an eye on things, giving advice to contributing reporters and shepherding the best, most timely stuff through, but nobody on staff makes actual editing changes to the content.)
NowPublic now counts nearly 97,000 contributing reporters in more than 140 countries around the world. During Hurricane Katrina, NowPublic was there; eight contributors filed on-the-scene reports from London's Heathrow Airport during the August 2006 terrorism lockdown—while the regular press was forced to wait outside. On June 6 NowPublic's coverage of a storm in Oman made it to the top of the AOL and Yahoo news sites.
In September 2009 NowPublic was acquired by Clarity Digital Group. Clarity is solely owned by the Anschutz company, an investment company located in Denver, Colorado. According to reports, Leonard Brody assumed the position of President of the Clarity Digital Group and Michael Tippet became the CEO of NowPublic after the sale.
In December 2013 Clarity closed the NowPublic site and redirected it to
On 27 December 2013, Clarity Digital Group took NowPublic, a successful crowd-sourced citizen journalism site, off the web and failed to give notice to contributors to permit them to recover their intellectual property. While Clarity is within their right to remove any of its sites off the web, NowPublic contributors maintain that they should have received notice in order to recover their intellectual property.
NowPublic's Terms of Service stated in part:
"Unless otherwise stated for specific Services, You will retain ownership and all related rights in any original information or other content that you publish on the Site or through the Services. In the event of any inconsistency between the provisions of these Terms of Service and the applicable license terms, these Terms of Service shall prevail to the extent of such inconsistency and such license terms shall be deemed to have been modified, in writing, by NowPublic and You."
However, unlike other crowd-sourced sites, Clarity claims that it has no obligation to permit access to the NowPublic content.
In a reply to Rhonda Mangus, a former NowPublic Advisory Council Member/Producer, Clarity Digital Group stated through its attorney, Deborah Shinbein:
Although we understand that the shut-down of may have come as a surprise to you, we are baffled by your assertion that NowPublic or its parent company may owe you (or any other contributor to the site) any sort of reports, opportunity to access content, or anything else with regard to the site.
You have not been under a contract through which you were eligible to receive payments for your contributions since 2010, and any reporting obligations NowPublic previously had with regard to your contributions (if any) would have ended at the time your status as a paid contributor to was terminated. We did provide notice to the individuals who were current (or recent) paid contributors to, however you were clearly not among that group of individuals.
Attorney Shinbein's response speaks for itself and, among other matters, clearly raises the question as to why intellectual property rights were ignored by Clarity Digital Group. Additionally, none of the major NowPublic contributors we contacted were notified of NowPublic's intention to go off-line.
According to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, intellectual property is defined as follows:
Intellectual property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, as well as symbols, names, pictures, designs and models used in business. Patents, trade-marks, copyright, industrial designs, integrated circuit topographies and plant breeders' rights are referred to as "IP rights." Just as rights are acquired when a building or land is purchased, IP rights are "property" in the sense that they are based on the legal right to exclude others from using the property. Ownership of the rights can also be transferred.
It should not come as a surprise to Clarity Digital Group that those who contributed to NowPublic would want to recover the content they contributed.
Current Industry Practice
It has been common industry practice for crowd-sourced sites to give notification to contributors and archive contributed material. As an example one can highlight Vizify's notification to its contributors which, unlike NowPublic, warned its contributors of its purchase by Yahoo and its impending closure.
While Vizify gave its contributors an opportunity to recover their material, no such notification was given to NowPublic contributors, nor was a sunset period granted to retrieve their intellectual property as was highlighted in the NowPublic Terms of Service.
As a consequence, references are gone, bios disappeared and personal footage and videos are unavailable and the tens-of-thousands of back-links to NowPublic content placed on sites over the World Wide Web.
Maireid Sullivan, a former NowPublic economics guest editor, noted that the Vizify notification to its supporters and contributors should be held up as an example of how to do business in the digital age.
To that, Edmund Jenks former NowPublic feature manager related:
When I first woke up and read the attached notice I thought to myself "Who the heck is Vizify?" than I realized that it was forwarded as a minimum example on how to close down an ongoing News Media web and portal.
Yes! This should be held up as an appropriate and civil way on a way a company treats those they provided a service for and had a relationship with.
NowPublic did not provide this opportunity to its contributors, nor was there ever any appreciation for the contributed material and its contribution to the success of the company. Those contributors, who have moved on to other sites, can no longer use the links to their articles, nor do they have the ability to republish them elsewhere. Nowpublic's blog syndication caused thousands of 'dead links' as Nowpublic linked each key word and a link to the story back to their personal sites. This action was beneficial as long as the links were live. Now that those links are 'dead', Google ranks such stories lower in search engines.
Aside from any legal considerations, Clarity Digital Group should do the right thing and make the material available to its former contributors.
Says Mangus:
"It's unfortunate that Clarity Digital Group has taken such a position. It should serve as a warning to present writers for Examiner that they could find themselves in the same situation if the Examiner decides to 'go dark' in the future."
[Reference Here]
To be direct, the corporate culture at Examiner is at the very least uncivil … and at worst vindictive. It is as if Examiner was being dragged into New Media against the wishes of the J-School trained management that conceptually implements and runs the joint.
If one were able to compare the internet savvy tools offered between the two sites – NowPublic versus Examiner – even though Examiner has improved over the years since 2009 through the purchase of NowPublic … the publishing portal and contributing community the site was constructed to serve at NowPublic would still outshine anything offered up by Examiner, Clarity Digital Group, LLC.
Of Note: Edmund Jenks (The EDJE) served as a Feature Page Manager and Editor/Contributor to NowPublic through to the time the site was shut down at the end of 2013. He was continually in the top 20 (most often in the top 10 before appointment to Feature Page Manager – Motorsports) of a cast tens of thousands of contributors and his work was seen by about 1.75 Million viewers. He currently has been a multiple title Examiner in good standing since November, 2009 and has 27 Trophies in his Clarity Digital Group participation case located on his Dashboard.
(I should have noted my viewers as 17.5 million ’cause who would know after how the site was shut down and re-directed … okay, 175 million … and so on, and so on, and so on …)
… notes from The EDJE