20 September 2010

Copyright infringment, again

Recently I have come across the blog of Canadian Ckayaker.
In one of his posts I recognized one of my images.

Unable to find an authorization/bill of sale in my records for that image I contacted the owner of that blog, Michael Bradley of Hatley (Quebec), to find out where he sourced my image.
Michael's reply to me was vague and he could not "recall" the source of the image.
That particular image is displayed on my flickr account.
Michael has conveniently cropped my name and copyright watermark from the bottom of the image, just as somebody else did in a previous case
Further perusal of Ckayaker's blog reveals that Michael seems to be using a lot of images that don't look to be his and I tend to doubt that he has permission to use them.
It puzzles me that somebody who is a teacher, and is happy to have an article of his published by Sea Kayaker magazine, appears to be ignorant of copyright laws.
Maybe Michael thinks that "because it on the net" it's OK to appropriate and in his case modify the image to prevent identifying the rightful owner.
The comment "if you don't want to have your images pinched, don't put them on the net" typically comes from provincially minded individuals that often are jealous of other's achievements.
Those individuals are unable to produce photographic work that is worth pinching.
If a photographer is happy to share his/her work with others usually their images are licensed under the Creative Commons license.
Those images are often free of copyright as long as they are attributed and are not used for commercial applications.
So, next time you want to use somebody else image, contact the owner.
The law only allows the use of images without permission in very specific instances.
PS this post marks a milestone: according to webmetrics, Gnarlydog News has passed the 100.000 hits mark

15 September 2010

Life Cycle_ a different view

In my previous life (that's before sea kayaking :-) I use to ride, a lot.
Living in Los Angeles I had access to one of the best riding terrain: the San Gabriel Mountains.
My passion was riding steep and rocky technical single-track trails.

old footage of a ride on one of my visits back to LA
Just as I now I own several kayaks, then I owned many mountain bikes.
I needed to ride regularly to escape from the oppressive urban environment I lived in.
That was then.
I still long for the all-day long rides I used to do with the A-Team (Adventure Team).
The riding terrain around my current locale is not as demanding nor as extensive as back in the old US and A.
I don't ride anymore.
Recently I came across this trailer for a bike movie.

Memories came flooding back...

14 September 2010

Bilge pump system for sea kayaks_patent pending?

In late 2007 I published my installation for a sea kayak electric bilge pump (on QSKC website_ it has been recently removed by the current webmaster).
I published a variation of that installation on this blog in 2009.
The article has attracted a tremendous amount of interest and I have seen links to my article appear on many websites around the world.
USA, British and German readers are particularly interested in the set up.

Recently I have found a manufacturer that appears to offer the same set up commercially.

There are no details (images or drawings) of the system but it lists the components that are the same as my documented items.
The video on their website seems to replicate the identical set up as mine.
However what intrigued me is the mention of a magnetic switch for the activation of the pump (Bluewater website: "Sealed switch, waterproof, dustproof, operated by a sliding magnet that runs on your deck bunge cord")
To my knowledge, I was the first to publish the idea of the switch, even though it is not my invention.
I am not aware of any other publication showing the magnetic switch assembly.

I do know that manufacturers occasionally scan my blog for ideas and some actually use my findings on their products.
There is nothing wrong with that, or I would keep my tinkering ideas to myself.
What makes me a bit dubious is the fact that Bluewater claims a pending patent to the system.
Bluewater makes no mention of the alleged patent number (most manufacturer don’t divulge that) but I have not been able to find any documentation of such patent in my searches.

There are a couple of scenarios: Bluewater could have applied for a patent that is not directly related to the bilge pump system that I have documented or they are just bluffing to scare competition away.
Bluewater has not replied to my queries of patent application date, and probably won’t :-)

If Bluewater has applied for a patent of the existing system, it will not be valid.
The electric bilge pump system has been used for some time now (documented on several websites) and the magnetic switch documentation is not recent (Feb 2008)

Gnarlydog News ideas are published for the benefit of the private public and not for the monopolization from the industry.
I want to keep sharing my findings with fellow adventurers that might benefit from my projects.

10 September 2010

REVIEW: Flat Earth Sails_a year later

It has been a year since I first tried Flat Earth Sails from Mick McRobb (review here)
The sail he sent me was a bit short for my kayak deck and the existing mounting location did not lend itself for perfect stowing on deck.
I however mounted that sail on Adventuretess' kayaks since they are shorter than mine.
She immediately liked the new sail.
I kept on using the old one that I designed (inspired by Sea Mongrel's rig).
For some reason Adveturetess seemed to always be that little bit faster than me but I assumed her boat had a better prismatic coefficient than mine...

Recently Mick sponsored me again with a new sail.
This time the sail was a bit bigger and the boom a bit longer.
I can now stow the folded sail neatly on deck (an important detail to me when I have to paddle into the wind in large seas).

After a two week trip where I was able to sail most of the time I have to report that Mick's sails
rock, to put it mildly.

select 360p if you don't have fast Internet connection

His sails are superior to the old one I have used for years.
He designs a bit more twist in his high aspect sails.
Suddenly I was able to use a much wider wind "window".
I was surprised to be able to propel my kayak in winds that were just 30 degrees off the bow of my kayak.
Flat Earth Sails catch the wind better and make sailing possible where before I would stow my sail away on deck.
The shorter boom (compared to my old sail) allows full range of paddle strokes without the risk of hitting the end of the boom in a higher stroke style.

ex Cap_9

I just need to stretch myself a bit more when stowing the sail on deck while securing it with bungee and olive cleat.
As usual, Mick's work is really good.
His use of high tech/low stretch fabric for the perimeter of the sail makes the shape billow and be more efficient.
His slightly flexible boom (fibreglass sailing batten) is more forgiving in high wind gusts spilling a bit of force and preventing capsize.
I confidently sailed in beam seas where waves were washing over the deck.
I could run with the wind (wind from behind) and surf on quartering stern breezes.
On the new sail the connection of boom/mast is improved.
Mick now uses a full sleeve where the batten is inserted and then bolted to the pivoting mast fitting.
I find however that the top of the sail fabric (mast pocket) is a bit on the light side and abrasion could wear a hole prematurely. I reinforced the area with self adhesive sailing cloth (used for making numbers on sail).

Sailing_1 (c)
old sail (left) and new one (on right)

While Mick has stock of a few different sizes of sails, he is happy to create a custom size or color for you.