Monday, March 06, 2006

Speed Painting and the Perils of MetaCafe

I'm most of the way through the first ten dwarfs for Bill's army. These are just rank and file guys, so I'm not lavishing the amount of attention on them that I would an elite model, but I still want them to look nice. It's a nice symbiotic relationship... Bill gets his army painted on-the-cheap and I get to experiment with some speed painting techniques and develop a portfolio. The eventual goal is to get some commission work that pays full price. As long as Bill's happy with the army when it's done, I'll consider it a success. The problem is balancing how much I enjoy painting (and therefore lavishing time on a single model) with the need to get x models done in y hours.

For a few years, Stef has had a program called MetaCafe installed. It's a little peer-to-peer thing that downloads short film clips in the background for you to watch at your leisure. All in all it has been entertaining. It's mostly commercials or short novelty videos; I have never seen anything flagrantly violating copyright like other peer to peer networks tend to have. You don't actively choose to download things. They just show up on your computer via the software. I'm guessing that the MetaCafe owners moderate the items posted to the network. There are also content filters, which leads us to our peril story.

Even with the content filters on we get items that, while not patently offensive, aren't something we want the kids to see. Foreign commercials tend to be racy, photo galleries of celebrity PR shots can be inappropriate for kids, etc. On Saturday however, someone really fell down on the job at MetaCafe. Over the course of the afternoon, 5 or 6 different video clips came in that weren't just racy, they were hardcore porn. Someone had uploaded the clips in categories that the content filter lets through, and whoever moderates the release of content approved it. However it happened, it was fixed by Saturday night, when all the incoming content was back to the normal standards. So let this be a lesson to the 1 or 2 people who might actually read this. Always preview the intenet content before letting the kids at it.

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