Monday, April 30, 2018

The C A DEN TEX

The start of a challenging nautical project started on Friday 7 November 2014. Members of the foundation 'Foundation to preserve the old lifeboat CA DEN TEX' have passed the old rescue boat CA DEN TEX of Groningen, which was acquired by the foundation, to the center of the country where the DEX TEX, as the vessel is now called, a thorough renovation will be subject.

Commissioned by the Noor d- and Zuid Hollandsche Redding Maatschappij (NZHRM), the construction of the CA DEN TEX was started in Alkmaar in early 1916. The 12 meter long boat was built to provide the rescue station Rottumeroog with a motor lifeboat. The ship left the yard in 1917 after which it came under the care of the illustrious savior Mees Toxopeus. After a period of 5 years, during which the ship sailed several times to save people in need, Harlingen became the new rescue station of the CA DEN TEX. The lifeboat would still serve there until 1942 and then sail under the flag of the rescue company until 1961, including the home ports of Hindeloopen (until 1953) and Nijkerk (until 1961). 
In 1961 the Rescue Company sold the boat.

The Foundation for the preservation of the former lifeboat CA DEN TEX aims to bring the old lifeboat back to its original state in 2017. The board will consist of Bob Heikoop, Timco Houkema and Tom Houkema. By means of volunteers, the boat will be completely stripped and rebuilt into a lifeboat in an already-sponsored warehouse. 
On the basis of original construction drawings, the CA DEN TEX is made from the DEX TEX (the ex-tex).


~A.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Augmented Reality Is Transforming Museums | WIRED

Augmented Reality Is Transforming Museums | WIRED

Augmented Reality Is Transforming Museums

The Jackson Pollock gallery at MoMA has been virtually taken over by a group of artists who created an AR app to showcase their own works.

Martin Strutz

New York's Museum of Modern Art is under siege. Well, a virtual siege, at least. A group of renegade artists has co-opted the brightly-lit Jackson Pollock gallery on the museum's fifth floor, turning it into their personal augmented reality playground.

To the uninitiated, the gallery remains unchanged; Pollock's distinctive drip paintings are as prominent and pristine as ever. But to those that have downloaded the MoMAR Gallery app on their smartphones, the impressionist's iconic paintings are merely markers—points of reference telling the app where to display the guerilla artists' works. Viewed through the app, Pollock's paintings are either remixed beyond recognition or entirely replaced. One artist has framed a Pollock painting in an interactive illustration of a smartphone running Instagram, allowing viewers to "heart" the work over and over again. Another has overwritten Pollack's imagery with an artistic interpretation of the many conspiracy theories peddled by Q, a mainstay of the far-right on 4chan. Together, the eight works form a virtual exhibition dubbed "Hello, we're from the internet," which uses AR to challenge MoMA's gatekeepers and museum curators at large.

"When you think that art defines our cultural values, you also have to accept that those values are defined by a certain part of society—call it the elite," says Damjan Pita, who, along with David Lobser, is the brains behind MoMAR.

MoMA, for its part, has stayed quiet about the app, and did not respond to a request for comment on this story. But the movement is about to go global: Lobser and Pita have heard from artists in Los Angeles, China, Germany, and Serbia, all hoping to use MoMAR's open-source software to enact virtual takeovers of major museums in their own cities. Meanwhile, in recent months, art enthusiasts in Boston have used AR to "return" stolen artworks to their frames without the holding institution's cooperation, and, in a particularly meta twist, an artist virtually vandalized a virtual work of art. The potential AR has to shake up the art world is slowly taking shape—and right now, it's a lawless free-for-all.

Museums have long dealt with unauthorized augmentations of their exhibitions, such as unofficial tours, but technology has opened up new possibilities for activists and art enthusiasts eager to have a part in shaping the museum-going experience. Back in 1991, a project called "Masterpieces Without the Director" distributed cassette tapes on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, offering an alternative audio guide to the one provided by the Met itself and, as one of its creators told the New York Times at the time, "democratiz[ing] the viewing process." Even MoMA itself is no stranger to AR interlopers: In 2010, artists Sander Veenhof and Mark Skwarek took over multiple floors of the museum, scattering virtual works throughout its various galleries and inviting visitors to spot them through their then-clunky smartphones. But with tools like Apple's AR kit and Google's ARCore have made it easier than ever for developers to build and distribute AR apps, and that newfound accessibility is raising a host of new questions for the art world. Who owns virtual space, and what recourse does a museum have if an outside party "trespasses" on its virtual space? Moreover, is it even in a museum's best interest to retaliate against unauthorized virtual augmentations—or should they be embraced as a new, if uninvited, tool for visitor engagement?

Some projects, like MoMAR, are explicitly antagonistic to the institutions whose works they're augmenting. But others fall into more of a grey area that comes from a lack of any precedent for how museums should handle these sorts of virtual intrusions. The latter was the experience of Cuseum, a Boston-based startup that helps museums use technology to boost visitor engagement. Last month, Brendan Ciecko and Dan Sullivan, respectively the startup's CEO and head of partnerships and growth, used AR Kit to enhance a museum that they had long loved: the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, a staple of the Boston arts scene. That museum is renowned in part because of what isn't on display: In 1990, thieves stole 13 works of art valued at $500 million, and to date, the orchestrators of the heist have not been caught. Cuseum had been experimenting with AR for a while, helping the Pérez Art Museum Miami launch its first-ever AR exhibition last winter with funding from the Knight Foundation. In early 2018 when Apple released an AR Kit update that made it easier to work with vertical surfaces, Ciecko and Sullivan were inspired. They could use AR, they thought, to "restore" the missing paintings to their frames.

It just so happened that AR Kit's new vertical capabilities coincided nearly perfectly with the 28th anniversary of the infamous heist. And so Ciecko and Sullivan scrambled to put together a functional app that would virtually return the stolen works by March 18. They spent hours in the gallery, and, on the weekend of the heist's anniversary, they published a website featuring previews of the app and detailing how they went about "hacking the heist."

Local press picked up the story, and by all accounts, the experiment was a grand success. But soon after the anniversary, Cuseum received what Ciecko describes as a "a very surprised inquiry from an individual at the museum that was not very happy about this." Cuseum had informed the Isabella Stewart Gardner about its plans, and had hoped to work on the project cooperatively; Ciecko and Sullivan had even been given a soft green light by a museum staffer who stopped them in the gallery one day to ask what they were doing, before telling them that they weren't breaking any rules. But the museum's less-than-enthusiastic response to the project stopped Ciecko and Sullivan in its tracks. They'd hoped to release Hacking the Heist as an app available for public download. But they didn't want to burn any bridges. And so, for now, the project is on hold.

Ciecko says now he gets a dozen emails a day from people eager to use the app; one person emailed to say that he and his wife met at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and were flying to Boston to celebrate, and wanted to see the stolen works. "I had to write back, 'I'm so sorry, it's not available to the public, but congrats on your anniversary," Ciecko says. "It's a weird place to be, between people being really excited about something and folks on the other side not being as excited. What's the diplomatic thing to do?" A spokesperson for the museum says that though the Gardner was not involved in Cuseum's project "the concept of using AR to see something that you can't actually see while you are visiting the museum (like the stolen works) is something we have been discussing."

Ciecko and Sullivan may have been crossing their own moral boundary by releasing Hacking the Heist to the public—but they wouldn't have been breaking any laws, even though they didn't have the museum's cooperation. The works are in the public domain, and as long as the app didn't purport to be sponsored by the museum, Cuseum would have been in the legal clear. MoMAR, too, doesn't appear to be breaking any laws: As an explicit commentary on museums' institutional power, it falls pretty squarely under fair use. But the law around AR and art is fuzzy, at best.

"At the moment, there's no such thing as a recognized right to control the space or virtual augmentations of your work," says Alexia Bedat, an attorney specializing in AR and VR; however, Bedat adds that existing laws, such as copyright or the Visual Artists Rights Act, may apply to certain augmentations.

"Virtual trespassing" is a new, ill-defined concept, though ongoing class action against Pokémon Go could begin to clarify the legal limits of augmentation—that is, whether it's legal for someone to place a virtual object on private property. The litigation around Pokémon Go has also brought up the idea that, even if the AR itself doesn't constitute trespassing, it could prompt users of the app to trespass and cause a nuisance to the unwitting hosts of AR Charmanders and Squirtles. So far, none of the AR intrusions in museums have summoned crowds that could be deemed a "nuisance," though MoMAR's gallery opening, hosted on a Friday afternoon (when MoMA offers free admission), did attract some 50 visitors to crowd inside a typically modestly occupied gallery.

Despite the current lack of of clear laws around what can and cannot be done to virtually augment art, museums aren't entirely powerless. When visitors enter a museum, they agree to whatever rules that institution has set out—no photography, for instance, or no touching the paintings. Museums could begin to add "no AR apps" to their rules, or ban the use of phones outright—though doing so might seem like a step backwards, considering that many museums only recently began embracing smartphones as a way to engage their visitors. Artists, too, could begin negotiating more complex contracts with museums, spelling out what can and cannot be done to augment their works. The latter may become more common as museums follow in the Pérez Art Museum Miami's footsteps, experimenting with their own AR exhibitions. "There are a lot of interesting IP questions we have to navigate," says Christina Boomer Vazquez, deputy director of marketing and public engagement at PAMM. "There's also the issue of respecting the artists that are on view and the impact that [augmentation] would have on that artist and that work. [Augmentation] can alter the whole context and conversation of that artist's work."

But so far, the Isabella Stewart Gardner and MoMA have remained quiet about their AR interlopers; neither has tried to take legal action against the unauthorized augmentations. It's a smart approach. React too quickly, or too defensively, and they might wind up doing themselves a disservice in the long run. AR—no matter the source—could be a great thing for museums, bringing in new visitors eager to experiment with the new technology. It could also pique younger visitors' interest in older works. But it all comes down to a question of authority. Traditionally, the museum experience was one-directional: Curators conceived of and executed an exhibit, which visitors then enjoyed. Now, that's all starting to change.

"Museums are obviously striving for relevance, because the world is increasingly splintered and competing at offerings, and a static object finds itself competing for our attention more and more," says Maxwell Anderson, an art historian and former director at the Whitney, Dallas Art Museum, and other instutions. Exhibitions like the Museum of Ice Cream and the Rain Room at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art rely on interactivity and Instagram-friendliess to draw crowds—and AR is yet another play for engagement. That quest for relevance, Anderson posits, is what's leading museums to both adopt and be co-opted by AR—and even unauthorized AR intrusions like MoMAR and Hacking the Heist can be a boon for institutions eager to avoid obsolescence.

"From my perspective, it's not really worth fighting against it, because gravity is not working on our favor," says Loic Tallon, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's digital chief. The Met doesn't currently have any of its own AR projects underway; Tallon says that he doesn't think most visitors feel that anything is missing from the museum as is, and he wants to be very purposeful in how the museum adopts new technology, lest it winds up doing so just for the sake of novelty. But the Met, too, has experienced AR invasions, such as one project that animated Van Gogh's First Steps, after Millet, and Tallon welcomes those augmentations with open arms.

"The museum's mission is to collect, preserve, and study works of art," he says. "If someone is making an AR experience out of the collection, I see it as pure mission fulfillment."

More WIRED Culture



~A.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rumi says....

The Ancient Poem That Will Put Your Life in Perspective | Good Sh*t | OZY

Rumi 

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.



~Welcome to my home.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Calling and Data Roaming with Your Own Phone in Europe by Rick Steves

Calling and Data Roaming with Your Own Phone in Europe by Rick Steves

Using Your Own Phone in Europe

By Rick Steves

Many travelers enjoy the convenience of bringing their own mobile phone to Europe. Some people also prefer to bring a tablet or laptop for emailing or blogging, uploading or editing photos, reading, and watching videos in their down time. Using your mobile device abroad isn't hard, and with a little preparation, you can text, make calls, and access the Internet without breaking the bank.

How to Set Up (or Disable) International Service on Your Phone

Roaming with your own phone outside the US generally comes with extra charges, whether you are making voice calls, sending texts, or accessing data (going online over a cellular network rather than Wi-Fi, a.k.a., "data roaming"). If you plan to bring your own phone to Europe, start by assessing how you will to use it — whether you will be making a few or a lot of phone calls, sending and receiving text messages, and how freely and frequently you'll want to get online to check email, look up websites, access maps, get driving directions, or use other mobile apps.

You can pay as you go on your normal plan for all three services. But the costs can add up (on average, about $1.50/ minute for voice calls, 50 cents to send text messages, 5 cents to receive them, and $20 to download one megabyte of data).

Travelers who want to stay connected at a lower cost can sign up for an international service plan through their carrier. Most offer some sort of global calling plan that cuts the per-minute cost of phone calls and a flat-fee data plan that includes a certain amount of megabytes. Your normal plan may already include international coverage, as T-Mobile's does. It's a fairly painless process:

  1. Confirm that your phone will work in Europe. Nearly all newer phones work fine abroad (as do older phones purchased through AT&T and T-Mobile), but it's smart to check with your carrier if you're unsure.
  2. Research your provider's international rates. Plan pricing varies wildly by carrier. Call your provider or check their website for the latest pricing.
  3. Activate international service. A day or two before you leave, log on to your mobile phone account or call your provider to activate international roaming for voice, text, and/or data (whichever features you plan to use), and sign up for any international plans.
  4. Cancel international service when you get home. When you return from your vacation, cancel any add-on plans that you activated for your trip.

Getting Online in Europe

With any laptop, tablet, or smartphone, you can get online via a Wi-Fi signal, which is usually free. If you have a mobile phone (smartphone or basic) or a cellular-enabled computer, you can get online over a cellular network, but you'll usually have to pay for it.

The most cost-efficient way to get online is to log on to Wi-Fi hotspots during your trip. Even if you have an international data plan, you're better off saving most of your online tasks for Wi-Fi.

If you plan to use any new apps on your device — such as language translators, ebook readers, or transportation or mapping apps — it's smart to download or update them before your trip, when bandwidth isn't an issue.

Finding Wi-Fi in Europe

Most accommodations in Europe offer free Wi-Fi, but some — especially expensive hotels — charge a fee. In some hotels, Wi-Fi works great; in others, the signal is less reliable or doesn't work well (or at all) beyond the lobby (many European hotels are in old buildings with thick stone walls). Often it's good enough to shoot off an email, but too slow to stream movies or make a video call.

If Wi-Fi is important to you, ask about it when you book — and check that it'll be available in your room. As soon as I arrive at a hotel, I ask at the desk for the password and network name (in case several are in range), so I can log on right away.

When you're out and about, your best bet for finding free Wi-Fi is often at a café. They'll usually tell you their Wi-Fi password if you buy something. As in North America, most McDonald's and Starbucks in Europe offer free Wi-Fi.

You may also find Wi-Fi here and there throughout the day — for example at tourist offices, in city squares (for example, Marienplatz in Munich), within major museums (such as the Tate Modern in London), at public-transit hubs (such as many of London's train stations), and aboard some trains and buses (for instance, Austria's RailJet or on Portugal's long-distance buses). You may need to register or accept terms of service to get online, and some networks limit browsing time.

Tips for Using Data Roaming Smartly

Using data roaming on your cellular network is handy for times when you can't find Wi-Fi. But while convenient, data roaming is also potentially expensive, depending on your international plan rates. You'll want to be conscious of how much data you're using, since you're probably paying for a limited amount of bandwidth. Still, data roaming can be worth it when you're out and about, need to get online, and don't want to waste your valuable vacation time hunting for a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Budgeting your data is easy if you follow these tips:

Avoid using your cellular network for bandwidth-gobbling tasks. Skyping, downloading apps, and watching YouTube all eat up megabytes and can wait until you're on Wi-Fi. (You're on a Wi-Fi network when you see the symbol for Wi-Fi in the corner of your screen — it looks like a half-rainbow.) If you use a navigation app like Google Maps, there are ways to do so without using any cellular data. If you're lost and need to access a map and turn-by-turn directions, do so sparingly.

Keep track of data usage. Upon arrival in Europe, it's smart to start tracking how much data you're using. On your device's menu, look for an item like "cellular data usage" or "mobile data" and reset the counter at the start of your trip so you can see how many megabytes you've consumed. Some carriers automatically send a text message warning if you approach or exceed your limit and will let you upgrade your package without penalty.

Limit automatic updates in your email and other apps. By default, many mobile apps are set to constantly check for a data connection and update information. You can cut your data use by switching off this feature in your various apps. Start with your email: Go to your device's email settings and change them from "auto-retrieve" to "manual," or from "push" to "fetch." This means that you will have to manually download (or "fetch") your messages when you're on Wi-Fi rather than having them automatically downloaded (or "pushed") to your device. If you receive an email with a large photo, video, or other file, wait until you're on Wi-Fi to view it.

Other apps — such as news, weather, social media, and sports tickers — also automatically update. On some devices, you can select which apps are allowed to update via the cellular network. It's smart to disable these features in most of your apps so that they'll only update when you're on Wi-Fi.

Disconnect from your cellular network altogether. Because there are still ways that you can accidentally burn through data, I like the additional safeguard of manually turning off data roaming or cellular data (either works) whenever I'm not using it — check under "cellular" or "network," or ask your service provider how to do it. Then, when you need to get online but can't find Wi-Fi, simply turn it on long enough for the task at hand, then turn it off again. Another way to ensure you're not accidentally using data roaming is to put your device in "airplane" or "flight" mode, and then turn your Wi-Fi back on when needed (this disables phone calls and texts, as well as data).

If you're traveling with an unlocked smartphone, you can buy a SIM card that also includes data; this can be cheaper than data roaming through your home provider.



~A.

Making a Homestead Evacuation Plan - The Organic Prepper

Making a Homestead Evacuation Plan - The Organic Prepper

Making a Homestead Evacuation Plan

by Daisy Luther

With wildfire season approaching in California, my thoughts are with my many friends there who have small farms. Even if you don't live in a wildfire zone, if you raise livestock, you need to have a homestead evacuation plan.  Any place can have a barn fire, a chemical spill, or other environmental emergencies.

I've written quite a lot about evacuations since my family and I were right on the verge of it during the King Fire. Fires can approach shockingly fast, and being ready before there is ever a hint of smoke in the air is the best way to get out quickly when the time is short.

But things change dramatically when you add a farm or homestead to the mix. Suddenly, you have more living creatures in your charge than you do space in the vehicle. You absolutely must have a plan in place before a disaster occurs, because if you wait for the evacuation order, you've waited too long.

Create a homestead evacuation plan.

Here are some of the things that I learned about homestead evacuation. Use this to create your own plan, because disasters can strike anywhere and we all have different resources, livestock, and circumstances.

Be aware of what's happening nearby.  When I lived in California, I haunted the local boards that discussed fires and other events. I had friends who were former firefighters and subscribed to phone notifications from the local sheriff's department. If there was a fire or mudslide nearby, I knew about it while it was still miles from me. That way, I could assess my plan and see if action needed to be taken immediately, or if I just needed to stay on top of the situation.

Figure out where you'll take your livestock. Often, local fairgrounds will open their facilities for farmers to bring evacuated livestock. Sometimes veterinarians and kennels will also accept evacuated animals. If you are in contact with other farmers, they may be able to make room for your animals. I belonged to a local homesteading group at the time, and we all made space for animals, trailers, and RVs if we could to help our friends during fire season.

Evacuate livestock early if you can. The last fire that was nearby was called the Trailhead Fire, and it consumed 5,646 acres over the course of 20 days. Toward the end, when it drew closer to our farm, I evacuated all our chickens to a friend's farm that was out of the danger zone. That gave me the peace of mind to know that if we had to evacuate for real, I only had to grab cats, dogs, and kid, which would have been far faster than chasing a bunch of panicked hens.

Have a way to transport your animals. You will either need a trailer, pens that can go into the back of a truck, or crates that can hold your livestock. You may need help from friends with trailers if you have a lot of animals. Have these things ready so that you aren't trying to figure out how to move the animals when a fire is approaching.

Have a plan for last-minute homestead evacuation. This is every farmer's nightmare because if the fire is approaching fast, you may not be able to load up all your animals in time.

  • Have trailers and trucks close to the livestock area for quick evacuation.
  • If you think you may need to evacuate, contain your livestock in the smallest area possible for ease of loading. For example, if your chickens normally free-range, keep them contained in a yard around their coop so you have a better chance of catching them. Close off the gates to the larger pastures and keep other livestock in the area closest to the trailers.
  • Practice loading up. This way, the animals get used to being loaded and are less likely to panic and fight you. Secondly, you know which animals are going to be the most uncooperative and you also have a feel for how long it takes to load them all.
  • Have blinders on hand. This may be nothing more than a piece of cloth or a fabric bag, but if your animals are panicking, it can be easier to lead them out if they can't see the threat. Most people think only of horses needing blinders but it can be far easier to lead goats and cows this way too.
  • Give every person a job. Even younger children may be able to help round up chickens or gather feed. Be sure that everyone knows what to do beforehand so that you can all work together quickly and efficiently.
  • Remember that if there is a threat like a nearby fire, animals are much more likely to panic due to fear. This means it will probably take longer to load them up.

Know what to do if you can't evacuate the livestock. If there is no time to load the livestock, at least turn them loose so they have a chance at escaping the flames. If your family is at risk of dying in the fire, you will have to evacuate and leave the animals behind. It's a horrible choice but could be necessary. Remember the Napa Valley fires last summer?  Some people had only moments to flee fast-moving infernos.

Have you ever been through a homestead evacuation?

Have you had the experience of evacuating a homestead? If so, please share your story and tips in the comments section below.

About the Author

Daisy Luther

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. Daisy is the publisher of The Cheapskate's Guide to the Galaxy, a monthly frugality newsletter, and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find Daisy on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.



~A.