A look at the city through camera phone lenses in photos shared by Instagram users in the last week.
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Andrew Kitzenberg lives on a usually quiet street in a usually quiet town - Watertown, Mass.
But early in the overnight hours last Friday, Kitzenberg's quiet world exploded outside his window. His street - right outside his home - is where the gun battle that would put the Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev against myriad local and federal law enforcement officials.
Kitzenberg, previously best known for his clever iPhone case and a wearable USB drive, tweeted and photographed as bullets flew and bombs exploded. He's now released his photos from the firefight and ensuing investigation and has blogged about the experience and the aftermath . . . with a caveat:
The Daily Beast has compiled a storify of Kitzenberg's images, with timestamps:
As the movie "42" hits theaters leading into Jackie Robinson weekend - you can read Richard Roeper's 3-star review here - it's worth taking a look back at some of the moments in Robinson's remarkable career.
It's also a good time to take a look through the Sun-Times photo files for a few of his early moments in Chicago - including his first trip to Wrigley Field as a Brooklyn Dodger in 1947. But, as Whet Moser writes for 312, it was not Robinson's first trip to Chicago with professional baseball on his mind. Robinson was at least a thought for the White Sox in 1942 and, as the tale is told, would have neen in for an even worse experience than he endured making history with the Dodgers:
"It would have been really tumultuous," adds Leon Forrest, novelist and professor of African-American Studies and English at Northwestern University. "Jackie said the cities that he caught the most hell in were Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati. (His playing for the Sox) would have meant a confrontation of (black and white) South Siders.
Chicago Cub Phil Cavaretta is thrown out on a close play at first base as Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Joe Hatten covers the bag. Jackie Robinson, shown in the background, tossed the ball. It was Robinson s first series at Wrigley Field. | Charles Gekler ~ Sun-Times files
Winter storm Saturn - really, when did we start naming them? - hit Chicago just in time for the morning rush Tuesday. The gallery above shows what Chicagoans are seeing, and sharing via Instagram and social media. This gallery will show you what Sun-Times photographers are finding in hopefully winter's last hurrah.
Chicago Sun-Times photographer Scott Stewart has been a life-long Blackhawks fan, growing up with Makita and Hull as names he idolized. So it was a perk of the job that on the night of Tuesday, January 22, he was at the United Center, shooting photos of the Blackhawks' home-opener against the St. Louis Blues. But he wouldn't get to stay until the final horn; before the game ended, he received a call to cover a large fire that had broken out a large South Side warehouse. Hockey would have to wait.
But rushing to the fire, too, was something that was in Stewart's blood, the result of his being a firefighter brought up in a family of firefighters. "Just like in [the movie] Backdraft," he quips. Stewart is part of the Evergreen Park Fire Department, heading up the photo unit and also serving as a fire investigator. A third-generation fireman, Stewart's son is a lieutenant in the Blue Island Fire Department, his other two children are also firefighter/EMTs, and his wife, who he met through the fire department, is the assistant photographer to the photo unit.
Watching the Chicago Fire Department battle the huge blaze - roughly one-third of the department as called in - Stewart could sympathize with what they were going through, battling extreme heat in extremely cold temperatures. "You're hampered. The weather hampers your ability to be a firefighter. The radiant heat ... it does give you a little warm feeling now and then if the wind is shifting the right way." And it's this understanding that keeps Stewart involved as part of the 5-11 Club, a sixty-year-old organization that provides additional support for the Chicago Fire and Police Departments, mainly by driving canteen vehicles to fire scenes to give exhausted firefighters refreshments like coffee and food.
The remains of the warehouse gained notoriety later in the week once the water used by firefighters froze, creating a majestic ice castle out of the ruins. But Stewart was on the scene for the Sun-Times while the fire still raged so I sat down with him to get his take on what happened. I talked to him about what it was like, as a firefighter, to photograph a fire for the publication and how he approached shooting the fire. How did he approach his shots? How is his approach different at fires than at other events? We looked through some of his photos from that night and talked all about it. Watch the audio slideshow above to hear Scott explain
A calm and sober commentary on the denigrate to the Instagram terms of service -- sorry, grammar fiends, but "update" seems like too positive a word -- will follow after a bit of business:
Told you so told you so TOLLLLLD you so told you soooo...
And here I invite you to imagine me singing and doing a smug little dance in my office. It is the signature dance of someone who uses Facebook as infrequently as a person with nieces and nephews under the age of 45 can get away with. The singing is in the key of one who never used Instagram much to begin with and stopped entirely once the company had been acquired.
Yes, it's beneath me.
Once again it bears repeating that an agreement with any tech company for any service -- free or paid -- is no different from an agreement with any other kind of madman. At best, they're going to stick to the original terms. But it's likely that at any point, they're going to alter your deal...and it'll never ever be altered to tilt things in your favor.
Here's the new "Take the Princess and the Wookiee to my ship" section from Instagram's new TOS which goes into effect in January:
"To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf."
What does that actually mean? The real answer is on a whiteboard somewhere inside the Menlo Park headquarters of Facebook, Instagram's parent company. Everything else is open to speculation. It seems to me that this new wording translates roughly to Instagram allowing the familiar social features of other companies' services and apps to support Instagram.
Example: Your friend is using a Foursquare-style app; the app has access to all of his Instagram friends; app tells him "Oh! You know, your friend Bonfiglio Mertz was here in Deep Ellum two months ago and he posted three photos from this particular bar..." The app is probably supported by ads and that ad system might be clever enough to pull in content related to paid sponsors.
And at some point this idea goes far enough along at Instagram HQ that some lawyer decides that Instagram's current TOS is vague enough on that point that maybe they should slip in an update. And because nobody in the room at the time has ever used the Internet before, nobody wonders what will happen when someone discovers the change.
It's also a smart thing for Instagram to put into place if they intend to expand the service beyond its original "snap a photo, make it look like hell with arty filters, and then share it with friends" scope. Facebook allows you to "like" commercial products and insert them into your timeline; if Instagram wants to extend the "Corporations are people" idea to their own social network, then that's another smart reason for the company to amend their TOS. Copyright law for commercial usage of images is nonlinear, and most of the photographers I know apply a "if it's in my shot and has a Social Security number, try to get a signed waiver from it" policy.
This isn't, in fact, terribly far away from Facebook's existing content policy. Section 10 of Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities makes plain that they're going to try to make as much hay as possible from the content you choose to post. However, that same policy also says: "This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."
This limits Facebook's ability to change the obvious and traditional nature of your relationship with the service; they can't sell a photo of your puppy to a pet food company as a stock image because Facebook's license to that image ends when you remove it from the service.
But as worded, yes, your Instagrammed photos can now be used in third-party ads without your consent and without compensation. Would they sell your photos? Naw. But how about an electronic billboard in Times Square advertising a dodgy life insurance plan, where the background is a slideshow of hourly Instagram photos tagged "Family"? That seems like an idea that would come up in a spitballing session. It makes sense; it might sell and there'd be nothing in Instagram's TOS to prevent Instagram from moving forward.
It's slightly baffling that Instagram allowed this mess to happen because we've seen this exact same scenario play out over and over again, since the development of the first services that allowed users to post their own content.
Initially, these services would include a functionally-harmless, yet absolutely imperative, section that granted the company a license to copy, retransmit, and repurpose your content. Why would they want that power? Well, because the service is on a huge server farm and they need the legal authority to move your photos from one spot to another. They also need the authority to allow other users to manipulate and download your images, even if you've flagged your cute ocelot photo with the necessary permissions.
So! Someone at the company cuts and pastes in some legal boilerplate, she updates the TOS, goes out for a long lunch, and returns to find that her wing of the office has been sacked and set on fire. This is why Google and other services present their TOS in its usual impenetrable legalese, but with asides of Plain English that clarify, and limit, their powers to just those things that allow them to operate the service and deliver content. Twitter's TOS is annotated, in fact, to make their intentions clear.
Instagram clearly botched this one. The new terms were due to become active in mid-January. There's little doubt in my mind that the company will backpedal and release a revision to the revision that limits Instagram's new rights to just what they actually need in order to pull off what they've got planned. God knows what that might be.
There are a bunch of important takeaways, however.
First and foremost, never forget that when you're using an Internet service you're almost always a product and not a customer. When Facebook paid a billion dollars for Instagram, it wasn't because they wanted to become benefactors...the Medicis of food photos and images of dogs wearing funny hats. It's because there was money to be made. More often than not, the "deal" struck between the user and the provider is balanced. Google Maps is an awesome app, and the more I use it, the more information Google collects about traffic and roads and the more valuable the product becomes. But that balance can change in an instant.
Secondly, the agreement you strike with a service is always transferrable. If you've granted BongoDrive.SE perpetual rights to the photos and data you upload to the service and the they go out of business, then whoever buys the company's assets will own it instead. And because the TOS is subject to amendment, they can do whatever they want with that stuff.
In Instagram's case, it was like Mother Kate's All-Natural Free-Trade Save The Trees-Brand Tooth-Cleaning Powder being bought by an immense health and beauty conglomerate. They don't care about producing a natural product with low environmental impact. They want the brand and the customers.
I was never a fan of Instagram. I liked its simplicity; I just didn't need to start feeding yet another social network, thank you very much. If you're thinking of jumping ship, I have to recommend Flickr. Yup, they were bought by Yahoo! a few years ago. But if the company damaged the service, it was only because they barely seemed to be aware that it existed. That's relatively benign, compared with Facebook seeking to recoup their billion-dollar investment and sorting Instagram's membership by weight and the likely amount of marbling in their meat.
Fortunately, the wheel's turned. They've released a terrific new Flickr mobile app that's everything it should have been in 2008. It even includes Instagram-style filters. But please, I beg of you...don't use them.
Maybe Flickr's best feature is the fact that it's been around for eight years and has firmly locked its identity as "a social service for photos." They went through their own TOS-mageddon a long time ago. Their rights to your images are clear and fair.
But remember what I said. It's still a service owned by a company, and its the nature of a company to keep rooting around sofa cushions for loose change. That circumstance is bad enough when you're the one losing his or her quarters and dimes. And it's worse when a company like Facebook keeps treating you like the sofa.
UPDATE: Instagram says "not so fast!" Co-founder Kevin Systrom blogs on TOC clarification and correction.
This Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 file image provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos. In a giant leap from more than 24 miles up, Baumgartner shattered the sound barrier Sunday while making the highest jump ever ó a tumbling, death-defying plunge from a balloon to a safe landing in the New Mexico desert. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos)
The year-end story packages are in full swing - more on the local stories of the year coming up in print and online for the Sun-Times next week. In the meantime, here are the Associated Press' top images for the year, as compiled by their photo editing staff.
A note from their editors:
The AP's award-winning team of hundreds of staff photographers, freelancers and photo editors sends out some 3,000 photos every 24 hours - over 1 million photos a year - to our subscribers around the globe.
How then to sum up an entire year of news in just 10 photos? The very notion is daunting.
Photo editing is a process of comparison and selection. It involves aesthetics and storytelling and impact and memory.
In the end, I chose 10 representative photos, some from the biggest stories of 2012, some for their eye-catching content (and then a broader edit of some 150 news photos to try to capture almost everything else).
In the 10, we see grief over the loss of children in Colorado and Syria. We see children being led to safety from the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. We see a fleet of emblematic New York taxis partially submerged after super storm Sandy. We see President Obama and Mitt Romney facing off in debate. A man sets himself alight in India to protest the situation in Tibet. We also see amazing things; A man leaps from a balloon 38 kilometers (24 miles) above the earth's surface, and a cruise ship floats on its side after running aground of the coast off Italy. A bear falls out of a tree after being tranquilized, and a high-speed underwater camera captures a swimmer plunging into the water at the London Olympics.
The choice of these photos is meant only to represent the broader spectrum of human experiences captured in the other images. Every experience is, in some way, a valid one.
More photos after the jump. And you can click on any of them to enlarge or download ...
Here are some of the stories that caught our attention during the work day for November 27, 2012.
• Stuff got real when then Blue Line had a major malfunction earlier today, the second straight day the line had experienced significant delays. And it comes a day after Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters during a press conference that if commuters didn't like the new higher pass rates for the CTA, they could just drive. While the comment has been taken out of context and blown out of proportion a little bit, it still reeks of tone-deafness, particularly given the number of slow zones and CTA construction issues that already exist. [Sun-Times; Gapers Block]
• Christopher Vaughn, found guilty of murdering his entire family earlier this year, was sentenced to four life sentences today for the crimes. [Sun-Times]
• The Florida man accused of stabbing a Bears fan visiting Jacksonville for the Bears-Jags game earlier this fall now has a March trial date. [FOX 32]
• A Sun-Times investigation shows that a guy who sells t-shirts that say "Boobies Rock" is - shockingly- actually just defrauding those who think they're contributing to a charity. [Sun-Times]
• The latest gun control battle: Illinois and concealed carry because we don't have enough gun problems. [WBEZ]
• For once, an alderman wants to put a vote on hold after last-second information was introduced into a three-tower development in Wolf Point. No idea where this thinking was a few years ago on the parking meter vote. [Sun-Times]
• Harley-Davidson's River North spot is being stalked by Shake Shack because heaven forbid this city ever get a damn Waffle House. [Crain's]
• In Soviet Russia, airplane rides YOU from Midway to Branson to see Yakov Smirnoff. [Chicagoist]
• The night Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones formed the Voltron of blues at Checkerboards Lounge. [Sun-Times]
• BRIGHT ONE: Rick Morrissey says no Heisman for Notre Dame's defensive star Manti Te'o. [Sun-Times]
• FINALLY: The Chinese obviously didn't learn their lesson years ago from that "retractable Capitol Hill dome" story. The Onion has once again duped a Chinese paper, this time the Communist Party's The People's Daily which congratulated North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as being named The Onion's "Sexiest Man Alive." [Yahoo!; The Onion]
Here are some of the stories that caught our attention during the work day for November 19, 2012.
Cargill Floor Supervisor Lucas Harrington, left, and Cargill Food Mill Supervisor Craig Miller "guard" the two turkeys at West Rockingham Ruritan Park, that are bound for the White House Monday afternoon, Nov. 19, 2012, in Rockingham County, Va. The turkeys, which were grown by Rockingham County poultry farmer Craig Miller, are expected to be pardoned by President Barack Obama Wednesday, and live out their days on George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate. (AP Photo/The Daily News-Record, Nikki Fox)
• Mayor Emanuel swears there's nothing wrong and that the Gold Coast is perfectly safe after a pair of incidents - a stabbing and an accused robber allegedly trying to run over a cop - in the area this weekend. It's true that in a big city, occasionally crime will happen even in nicer parts. Still, there are a million reasons I'd never step foot in the area and it has nothing to do with crime. [Sun-Times]
• Meanwhile, the Mayor is also saying that the pension crisis could throw a big wrench into the city budget. [WBEZ]
• Ex-county commissioner Joseph Moreno is in talks for a plea deal over accepting bribes. A Chicago politician taking a bribe? No, this just can't be true. [Sun-Times]
• So Hostess may not be closing after all as a judge told both sides involved to sit down and work out over a couple of Ho-Hos. So don't go paying $5,000 for Twinkies on eBay just yet because while that's a perfectly sane thing to do anyway, it may not be necessary. [Sun-Times]
• The family of a Maine West High School student have filed a lawsuit claiming the student was sexually assaulted during a hazing incident related to making the school's soccer team. [CBS 2]
• Just a day after opening, an Evergreen Park BBQ restaurant had a car drive through its front. Now that it has that out of the way, it can move on with its grand opening when it reopens tomorrow. [NBC 5]
• Jason Campbell! Colin Kaepernick! It's Monday Night Football on ESPN! [NFL.com]
• The United Center is hoping to entice the DePaul Blue Demons with a deal that includes free rent. Other parts of the deal include free skeeball but a promise to end all parties by 2 a.m. and to take out the trash when they're done. [Crain's]
• Maryland and Rutgers are joining the Big Ten as the conference shuffling continues. Now word if the Big Ten will rebrand itself or add another division alongside Legends and Leaders called "Mediocre Pretenders." [ESPN]
• BRIGHT ONE: Neil Steinberg breaks down Garry Willis' analysis of Mitt Romney's campaign. [Sun-Times]
• FINALLY: Forget any kind of financial woes, don't mess with a city's Christmas tress. At least, that's what the city of Birmingham, Michigan found out given the outcry following the revelation the city has optioned for a cheaper, reusable 35-foot tall artificial tree. On the bright side, no sap hands! [Detroit Free Press]
A riot policeman runs past a fire set by protestors during clashes in Lisbon during a general strike Wednesday, Nov. 14 2012. The second general strike in eight months in Portugal, where the government intends to intensify austerity measures next year, left commuters stranded as trains ground to a virtual halt and the Lisbon subway shut down. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Click to embiggen all photos