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Spotted in Vancouver: Ice crystals from Arlington

Posted by Scott Kirsner  February 24, 2010 01:07 PM

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Seen those ice crystals decorating the screen on NBC's broadcasts from the winter Olympics in Vancouver?


Yep: they were shot on the inside of a storm window in Arlington, Mass. 

Doc Searls, a research fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, shot them last February and uploaded them to the photo-sharing site Flickr. He used a Creative Commons licensing label (initially developed at the Berkman Center) to let people know that the photos could be freely re-used, as long as he was given credit as the creator.

Last November, NBC got in touch to ask permission to use the ice crystals as part of the graphics the network was developing for its Olympics broadcasts. They offered to give Searls on-screen credit as part of the design team, and he said OK.

"From what I can tell, after a week of viewing the Olympics on NBC, those ice crystal images are shown with a frequency second only [to] NBC's own logo and the five-ring Olympic symbol," Searls writes via e-mail. "The ice crystal shots float behind talking heads, floating titles and running scores." 

He blogged about the photos here, noting that his landlady has since replaced the old storm windows with more efficient thermal ones meaning those pretty ice crystals are a thing of the past.

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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.

About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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