September 23, 2008
How the Internet is Giving a New Image to the National Maritime Museum ; E-BUSINESS
By GILES TURNBULL
The National Maritime Museum (www.nmm.ac.uk) curates a hodge- podge of history, mostly seafaring but also taking in science at the Royal Observatory and the site of the Prime Meridian.
From its base in Greenwich, south London, it looks after an important chunk of British maritime history.
And now it has a new branch on the internet, in the form of a Flickr photo stream (www.flickr.com/photos/nationalmaritimemuseum/ ).
The photographs posted there are a mixture of behind-the-scenes looks at what's going on, as well as some extraordinary images from the museum's collection, ones that don't normally get seen.
Asuperb collection of images from the late 19th and early 20th centuries shows shipbuilding, fishing and seagoing as it once was: the black and white images look incredibly exciting and romantic.
If you're a Flickr member yourself, you can mark the museum as a contact and be automatically alerted every time new images are added. That's not all - the museum has also created two other groups on Flickr, to which anyone can join and add images.
Sailor Chic (www.flickr.com/groups/sailorchic) is all about the fashions inspired by sailor's uniforms, while Beside the Seaside (www.flickr.com/groups/besidetheseaside/) is a place for great seaside photos: bandstands, fish and chips, sandcastles, you name it.
This is what modern museums should be all about. Not just displaying stuff in big rooms, but displaying, sharing and looking for more stuff around the online community.
Most museums have collections that are far too large for everything to be displayed to the public, but the internet's the next best option.
Using a community site like Flickr to do the job is the icing on the cake.
It means the images will get seen, commented on, shared around - just as they should be.
A new online music service has started in the UK, and elsewhere around Europe, under the name "7digital" (www.7digital.com).
It's offering decent quality MP3 files from all the big four record companies, but most importantly without any Digital Rights Management (DRM) gubbins attached.
DRM is the technology some companies use to make sure that once you buy a digital track, you can't go sharing it with all and sundry. Apple's songs on the iTunes store are wrapped up in a DRM package, for example.
Not so 7digital's stuff. That makes some people very happy, because they don't trust the companies that do use DRM and don't want to feel tied to one computer system or one service provider.
They just want to buy the sounds and listen to them, just like we all used to do when we bought vinyl albums. Them were the days.
Millions of us use bog-standard email accounts provided by the likes of Yahoo!, MSN or Google. But is yours secure? It's perhaps not as safe as you think.
American Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin got a shock last week when her Yahoo! email account was cracked open.
Several email conversations of hers were plastered all over the web - nothing terribly exciting or incriminating, but an invasion of privacy nonetheless.
If you want to make sure that doesn't happen to you, make sure you have a good password and change it regularly.
Apple's Phone has made such a splash in the world of mobile phones that it's hard to see what's coming next.
But one thing that is on the way is Android, Google's answer to the whizzy iPhone software.
Android does all the stuff you'd expect - manage calls, text messages, web browsing, playing music and so on - but it's not tied to Apple's expensive handsets, and integrates perfectly with Google's web toys.
Expect first-generation Android handsets to appear in the shops near you soon.
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