Sunday, July 27, 2014

Enhancing the NX300 Camera

This deviates from the primary topic of the blog, but I have a wide variety of hobbies and projects.  One of my projects has been to add specific new features to a camera.  The Samsung NX300 is the first (after 5+ years of searching) decent consumer camera I've found which is easily rooted and open source.  This is why I bought one.

Since I seem to be the first person on the internet to tailor the camera firmware, I figured I should publish what I've learned.

Shameless plug:  To everyone who doesn't normally read my blog, I gently nudge you to give naturism a try at some point in your life.  25% of Americans, and a much higher percentage of Europeans, already have.  Once you get over the initial fears, it's rewarding and will change your life.  You'll wish you tried it sooner.  Find your nearest resort or free beach, dive in and give it a try.

Onward to the NX300 hacking!  These same concepts should apply to the NX30, NX300M, and NX2000 cameras as well.  Tread carefully through this guide, as installing a bad firmware image on your camera could kill it.  Sending it in for repair can be costly.


Remote Control

Improving on op-code's table of key bindings, the two important ones which were missing are:
  • Shutter half-press: keycode 133 (keysym 0xffeb, Super_L)
  • Shutter full-press: keycode 134 (keysym 0xffec, Super_R)

So from any Linux machine, you can script taking photos and even grabbing a preview of those pictures:

DISPLAY=192.168.0.10:0
xdotool keydown Super_L
sleep 1
xdotool keydown Super_R
xdotool keyup Super_R
xdotool keyup Super_L
xwd -out screenshot.xwd -root -display $DISPLAY


Note: The xwd screenshots cannot view the live image on the camera, but anything else is OK.


Compiling the Source Code

Attempts to build the source code in the Spring/Summer 2014 timeframe (v1.31, v1.40, v1.41) all failed, even after some email exchanges with Samsung.  As-of v1.41, my suggestion is to use a machine with at least 15 gigs of space and use the username "openuser".  I was using Lubuntu in VirtualBox.  It helps to download and install Sourcery (free) too since their documentation mentions using it as the compiler.

I have a lot of notes, and followed two different sets of instructions.  Each set required a lot more steps than Samsung lists in their guides.  Things seem to go a lot easier if you have git access to their servers.  I fixed a lot and made it petty far, but always ran into problems with SBS (Samsung Build System) while compiling.  Hopefully someone will figure it out and post detailed steps.

With the v1.41 source, I performed a "make firmware" with the already-compiled binaries.  The result was DIFFERENT than the released v1.41 firmware binary.  I also noted that the v1.40 source had the v1.31 version.info file in it.  Quite frankly, I don't entirely trust Samsung's open source packages.

Depending on how you want to enhance the camera, compiling probably isn't required.


Hacking the Firmware

Specification

The firmware (nx300.bin) consists of the following:
  • Header
  • vImage contents
  • D4_IPL.bin contents
  • D4_PNLBL.bin contents
  • uImage contents
  • platform.img contents
  • Another header for pcache.list
  • pcache.list contents

The main header consists of:
  • Contents of version.info and some other stuff (0x0000 .. 0x003F)
  • Metadata for vImage (0x0040 .. 0x004F)
  • Metadata for D4_IPL.bin (0x0050 .. 0x005F)
  • Metadata for D4_PNLBL.bin (0x0060 .. 0x006F)
  • Metadata for uImage (0x0070 .. 0x007F)
  • Metadata for platform.img (0x0080 .. 0x008F)

The header for pcache.list is similar to the metadata for the other files.

The metadata is four 32-bit values, each is in little-endian byte order:
  • Size of the file.
  • CRC
  • Start Location in nx300.bin.
  • I assume where it goes in camera flash.

The CRC used is:
width=32 poly=0x04c11db7 init=0xffffffff refin=true refout=true xorout=0x00000000 check=0x340bc6d9 name="JAMCRC"
CRCs can be checked with jacksum:
jacksum -x -a crc:32,04c11db7,ffffffff,true,true,00000000 [file]

Note: The v1.40 platform.img CRC seems to be wrong, but the camera accepts it.  All the CRCs for v1.31, v1.41, v1.42, and other files in v1.40 check out fine.


Pulling it Apart

Note: Linux is required for all of these steps.  If you're stuck on Windows, you can use VirtualBox with a Lubuntu install.  Or, any Linux LiveCD should work as long as you have a place for over 5 gigs of files.

Unzip nx300.tar.gz and pull out a few files into a new directory:
tar xvf nx300.tar.gz
mkdir tailored_fw
cp ./TIZEN/build/fw_generator ./tailored_fw
cp ./TIZEN/project/NX300/image/rootdir_3-5/etc/version.info ./tailored_fw

(Note: The version.info file can be edited to specify a version or match an existing header.  For this writeup, I'm using the v1.42 binary with the v1.41 source package.  I'll modify the strings to match.)
Also put the "nx300.bin" firmware file in the tailored_fw directory.  Rename it so it doesn't get overwritten:
cd tailored_fw
mv nx300.bin nx300_original.bin


You'll need to write down the values from the nx300_original.bin metadata for each of the files.  I use "vbindiff" to view the hex because it formats it neatly into 16-byte lines, which aligns perfectly for getting the values.  Here's all the values for v1.42:  (Remember that the pcache.list metadata is after the platform.img contents.)

vImage size: 0x004F4148 (5194056)
vImage CRC: 0xA54839A6
vImage offset: 0x00000090 (144)

D4_IPL.bin size: 0x00001B4C (6988)
D4_IPL.bin CRC: 0x3E2CDCC9
D4_IPL.bin offset: 0x004F41D8 (5194200)

D4_PNLBL.bin size: 0x0000F5D0 (62928)
D4_PNLBL.bin CRC: 0x1D3B7206
D4_PNLBL.bin offset: 0x004F5D24 (5201188)

uImage size: 0x0029E178 (2744696)
uImage CRC: 0xC46D6F14
uImage offset: 0x005052F4 (5264116)

platform.img size: 0x13D20000 (332529664)
platform.img CRC: 0xA353C393
platform.img offset: 0x007A346C (8008812)

pcache.list size: 0x00009000 (36864)
pcache.list CRC: 0x289E0951
pcache.list offset: 0x144C347C (340538492)

Extract each of the files from the binary with:
dd skip=[offset] count=[size] if=nx300_original.bin of=[file] bs=1
Where [file] is the filename, and [offset] and [size] are the respective integer numbers.  Note: platform.img will take a while (an hour or so).

Optionally, check each of the CRCs with jacksum.
jacksum -x -a crc:32,04c11db7,ffffffff,true,true,00000000 *
3e2cdcc9    6988    D4_IPL.bin
1d3b7206    62928    D4_PNLBL.bin
289e0951    36864    pcache.list
a353c393    332529664    platform.img
c46d6f14    2744696    uImage
a54839a6    5194056    vImage



Reassembly

The easier way to make sure everything is correct is to reassemble the files and validate the new binary:
./fw_generator version.info
shasum nx300.bin nx300_original.bin

The checksums should match.  If not, use vbindiff to figure out what might be wrong.  Most likely, the version.info file doesn't match the firmware, or one of the files was extracted incorrectly.

Note: All of the files that were pulled from the nx300_original.bin file are used by fw_generator.  It will open the files by the names listed above, and output "nx300.bin".  So be sure to have the names correct and expect nx300.bin to be overwritten.

At this point, you're ready to edit the platform.img file and customize your camera.


Editing platform.img

You can't directly edit platform.img in a hex editor.  It's a UBI image file which uses compression.  But, you can mount it in a simulated device and reconstruct the file after you tailor the contents.


Prep

Backup your original platform.img file since it'll be overwritten:
cd tailored_fw
cp platform.img platform_original.img


Obtain the UBI configuration file and put it in the tailored_fw directory:
cp ../TIZEN/project/NX300/image/ubi_rootdir.conf ./

FYI, the contents of ubi_rootdir.conf are:
[rootdir.volume]
mode=ubi
image=rootfs.ubifs
vol_id=0
vol_name=rootdir
vol_size=350MiB
vol_type=dynamic
vol_alignment=1
vol_flags=autoresize


Install the utility needed to work with UBI images.
sudo apt-get install mtd-utils


Simulating the UBI

I assume you're still in the tailored_fw directory.  The steps below for simulating the NAND and recreating the platform.img file should all be done in one sitting.  Rebooting gets rid of the simulated NAND device.  Everthing below needs root access, so log in as root:
sudo su

Create a simulated 512mb NAND flash with 2048 byte pages.  Note that this uses RAM by default.  Here, I include the cache_file parameter to use disk instead.
modprobe nandsim cache_file=./temp_nand.dat first_id_byte=0x20 second_id_byte=0xac third_id_byte=0x00 fourth_id_byte=0x15

Show it with:
cat /proc/mtd
dev:    size   erasesize  name
mtd0: 20000000 00020000 "NAND simulator partition 0"


Copy the platform.img (original) over to the NAND:
dd if=platform_original.img of=/dev/mtd0 bs=2048

Attach UBI to the NAND MTD:
modprobe ubi
ubiattach -m 0 -O 2048


Mount it:
mkdir /mnt/ubi
mount -t ubifs ubi0_0 /mnt/ubi


At this point, /mnt/ubi is a read-write directory with the camera software.


My Updates

Although you can run scripts from the MMC, I'd like a more permanent solution.  My update is to run a custom script from the read-write UBI1 partition on the camera, which is the same place where the settings seem to be stored.  I can test the script from the MMC first, then move it to UBI1 when I'm comfortable with making it "semi-permanent".  System boot seems to call /sbin/init (which is busybox), which calls /etc/init.d/rcS by default.  Beware though, from trial and error, I found that rcS can't seem to access /mnt/ubi1 for a few seconds.  (Tested with a 10 second delay, but the camera seems to fully boot in 2 seconds.  I'm guessing 3 is fine.)

Edit /mnt/ubi/etc/init.d/rcS and add this to the end:
sleep 3
/mnt/ubi1/custom.sh &


Then, root the device and copy in whatever script you want.  It'll run when the camera boots.  Best of all, you can tweak it without generating new firmware and reflashing the camera.


Repackaging the Firmware

FYI, the camera's MTD information is as follows.  The numbers in the commands below come from here.
nx300:/# mtdinfo /dev/mtd4 -u
mtd4
Name:                           platform_img
Type:                           nand
Eraseblock size:                131072 bytes, 128.0 KiB
Amount of eraseblocks:          3200 (419430400 bytes, 400.0 MiB)
Minimum input/output unit size: 2048 bytes
Sub-page size:                  2048 bytes
OOB size:                       64 bytes
Character device major/minor:   90:8
Bad blocks are allowed:         true
Device is writable:             true
Default UBI VID header offset:  2048
Default UBI data offset:        4096
Default UBI LEB size:           126976 bytes, 124.0 KiB
Maximum UBI volumes count:      128


Create the platform.img file with the following commands.  You don't need to be root for these, and I assume you're in the tailored_fw directory.
mkfs.ubifs -r /mnt/ubi -m 2048 -e 126976 -c 3200 -o rootfs.ubifs
ubinize -o platform.img -p 128KiB -m 2048 ubi_rootdir.conf


It would be wise to put this new platform.img into a simulated NAND MTD just to be sure things look correct and that the UBI drivers correctly read the data.  You'll need to reboot and follow the "Simulating the UBI" steps with this new file.

Then, rebuild the nx300.bin:
./fw_generator version.info

I'd also check to make sure the headers look correct:
vbindiff nx300_original.bin nx300.bin

Follow Samsung's steps for upgrading the firmware to install the tailored nx300.bin into the camera.  Good luck!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mazo Beach NAC Alert

To all my readers -- please help out here if you ever hope to enjoy Mazo Beach.  I've been heavily involved with this effort for several months now, but the situation hasn't been getting any better.  Please take some time and send an email or two.
 - A.N.
 

**********************************************************************
                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                           ACTION ALERT
**********************************************************************
                   
http://www.naturistaction.org 
**********************************************************************
 
Copyright 2014 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its entirety and without alteration.
DATE: June 5, 2014
SUBJECT: Mazo Beach / Wisconsin River
TO: All naturists and other concerned citizens

Attention naturists:
 

This is an Action Alert from the Naturist Action Committee (NAC). In close coordination with the local naturist activists of Friends of Mazo Beach (FOMB), NAC is asking you to take specific action:

   1) oppose the existing official weekday closure of Mazo Beach,

   2) oppose efforts, official and otherwise, to eliminate altogether the traditional historical clothing-optional use of Mazo Beach. 


IMMEDIATE NEED 
The Master Plan for the Lower Wisconsin Riverway is being rewritten. Your participation is urgently needed. The deadline for public comment on the revised plan is June 16, 2014, but your comments will have greatest impact if they’re received by June 11.

BRIEF DISCUSSION 
Mazo Beach is located on the upper section of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, a 92 mile river corridor stretching from Prairie du Sac to the Mississippi River. Mazo Beach is one of very few remaining clothing-optional inland beaches in the United States. In addition to local users, the beach draws tens of thousands of summertime visitors from every state as well as some foreign countries.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the governing agency that oversees the management of Mazo Beach. The DNR is currently in the process of rewriting the Riverway’s 25 year old master plan and is requesting the public’s input to be involved in helping them make decisions on the future management and use of the Riverway.

The goal of the process is to produce a plan that is based on and influenced by public preferences, existing statutes, administrative codes, scientific data, the best capabilities of the resources, and the judgment of resource management professionals to address management and recreational issues. Local and regional recreational supply, economy and social conditions will also be considered.

The DNR identifies recreation opportunities that include hunting, trapping, and fishing, canoeing, sandbar camping, bird watching and berry picking. Skinny-dipping has been a traditional historic activity at Mazo Beach for many decades. Although it is a recreational activity in which tens of thousands of people participate, skinny-dipping is not listed among the varied diverse recreation opportunities, because the DNR has never officially recognized or designated Mazo Beach as a clothing-optional beach.

The past two decades have seen a series of access policy changes implemented that have incrementally taken away either land or time from the beach. The latest policy change occurred last year when the DNR decided to close the entire property including the beach, islands immediately off the beach, and surrounding wooded areas to all public access both from land or water Monday through Friday, March 1 through September 15. Thus, the beach is now only open on weekends from 6 am to 8 pm.

Not only has the weekday closure limited the enjoyment of residents and tourists alike, but it has also impacted the livelihood of a number of local area businesses. Those businesses experienced a decrease in business last summer, because with the beach open for no more than two days a week, customers began avoiding vacations to the area.

Moreover, there has also been a great increase in focused efforts from a number of other sources to eliminate clothing-optional use of Mazo Beach altogether. More information can be obtained by contacting Friends of Mazo Beach at (608) 798-1954.


WHAT IS NAC DOING? 
NAC asked for, and was given, a face-to-face meeting in Madison with Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp and her senior staff. That meeting was useful and instructive, but it did not resolve the situation.

NAC retains a year ‘round professional lobbyist in Wisconsin.

NAC and FOMB have conducted extensive record gathering and research into the actual citations issued at Mazo Beach, with particular focus on the outcome at court.

NAC and FOMB have met with the Dane County District Attorney,local and regional officials, and with local business owners in the nearby Mazomanie and Sauk City areas.

The Naturist Action Committee and Friends of Mazo Beach continue to work closely together,as well as with other local naturists, naturist groups, area residents, and business owners.


WHAT IS NAC ASKING YOU TO DO? 
NAC is asking you to partner with us in this crucial time and take the following specific action. The final deadline for your public input to the DNR is June 16, 2014, but more benefit can be gained if you submit your input before June 11th.

Information on the Master Planning by the DNR is here:
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/MasterPlanning/LowerWisconsin/ 

Using that as a starting point, there are many links to other information.

  1. Complete a DNR questionnaire
 online.http://5.selectsurvey.net/DNR/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=m2KJ7892

The questionnaire deals with both recreational activities and resource management activities on the Riverway.

  2. Spread the word of what is happening and the immediate urgency of getting involved now to all you know who care about the future of Mazo Beach.

  3. Most importantly, contact the people listed belowimmediately. E-mails and letters will work much better than phone calls for this purpose.

WRITE TO THESE OFFICIALS 

NAC is reaching out to Naturists throughout the United States because many of you outside of Wisconsin (and some outside the United States!) have been occasional visitors to Mazo Beach. 

Send your comments or suggestions on the master planning process via email to the primary organizers:

 
ann.freiwald@wisconsin.gov 
 
matthew.seguin@wisconsin.gov

It will be beneficial to send copies to other officials. Blind copy (bcc) the following:

 
mark.cupp@wisconsin.gov 
 
danecoda@da.wi.gov 
 
DNRSecretary@wisconsin.gov 
 
mark.aquino@wisconsin.gov 
 
Sen.Erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov 
 
Rep.Clark@legis.wi.gov 
 
parisi@countyofdane.com 
 
fastfreddy34@gmail.com 
 
lholcomb@villageofmazomanie.com 
 
spacc@saukprairie.com

For more information concerning the officials associated with these e-mail addresses, see the NAC web site:
www.naturistaction.org/mazo
If you are from Wisconsin, consider copying your email comments to your state senator and representative as well.

WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY? 
The DNR is open to hearing from Riverway users. Even if you are not a regular user, even if you’ve been to the beach just one time, it is vital to have your voice be heard.

When you’re writing, be polite and concise. Share your personal perspective of the specialness of the beach. Explain how you are a good steward, and you care for the beach and area. Include how you improve the local economy in whatever ways you do (gas, groceries, motels, restaurants, tourist attractions, etc).

Here are some other simple points you may wish to make:

  1. The American public supports designated areas for clothing-optional recreation. A public opinion survey commissioned in 2006 by the nonprofit Naturist Education Foundation and conducted by the prestigious Roper polling organization indicated that SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT of Americans believe that "people who enjoy nude sunbathing should be able to do so without interference from local officials as long as they do so at a beach that is accepted for that purpose." 

  2. Mazo Beach has been a traditional skinny-dipping location for a very long time. Beyond its use by Native Americans, local authors such as August Derleth, Frederic Prokosch, and Karl Danzlin used to skinny-dip in the area. Some current beach users have been skinny-dipping at the beach since the 1950s. Generations of families enjoy and value the beach, decade after decade. You’ll find naturists there ranging from newborns to elders in their 90’s. 

  3. The Wisconsin DNR has alleged that its weekday closures of Mazo were needed to mitigate particularly high crime levels in clothing-optional areas. No facts have been provided to support the notion that nude sunbathing is a cause for the effect. No comparison has been made with crime in mandatorily clothed areas on public land. Obviously, if the “crime” is the act of public nudity itself, the reasoning is circular and flawed. There is also no evidence that clothing optional recreationists are criminally inclined or commit more crimes than other beach visitors. If other criminal conduct is in fact occurring, other enforcement or prevention options are available short of barring one class of beach visitors - on the ONLY public land in the state that has historically accommodated traditional skinny-dipping. 

  4. Over the decades, naturist and non-naturist users have, at times, shared neighboring sections of beach. At other times, they have used the same section of beach in harmony. Other user groups also share the same small piece of sand simultaneously and in harmony. It’s a great example of a successful multi-user group land management plan. 

  5. The Riverway provides abundant public open space for a broad spectrum of recreational activities, while Mazo Beach comprises a tiny portion of the 93 mile Riverway. Remotely located, by land it requires a walk of over one mile, and by water it is hidden from the main channel of the wide river by a tree covered island where one must intentionally veer out of the natural main current and go to the left of the island to get near the beach. 

  6. Both our state constitution and the public trust doctrine assure us that the river is to be held in trust for us, and that we have the right to use and enjoy it forever. For the sake of the tens of thousands of beach users who enjoy the clothing-optional beach each season, as well as the local business owners who benefit from the money they spend while in the area, please re-open the beach during the week. 


PLEASE COPY NAC AND FOMB ON YOUR CORRESPONDENCE 
You can help the effort by letting us know what you’ve said. Please send copies of your correspondence to NAC and to FOMB. E-mail works best.     mazocomments@naturistaction.org  
friendsofmazobeach@yahoo.com

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 
You can find additional information, including this NAC Advisory, at http://naturistaction.org/mazo or by visiting the NAC web site www.naturistaction.org and clicking on ALERTS.

NAC, the political adjunct to The Naturist Society, helped establish Friends of Mazo Beach in 1992. Since that time, FOMB has worked on behalf of and represented naturists, non-naturists and business owners who appreciate and benefit from the beach to help protect and maintain the long-standing traditional clothing-optional usage of the area. If you would like to fill out a survey and be on their mailing list, or for any other inquiries you may have about the beach, email FOMB at 
friendsofmazobeach@yahoo.com.

Naturist Action Committee board member Jim Dickey is a coordinator of Friends of Mazo Beach. Local information is available on the web site of FOMB: 
www.friendsofmazobeach.wordpress.com 

 PLEASE HELP NAC CONTINUE HELPING NATURISTS!
 The Naturist Action Committee is a nonprofit volunteer adjunct to The Naturist Society, a membership organization. NAC is committed to vigorous activism on behalf of the responsible clothing-optional use of public lands. NAC has no membership roster and receives no dues money. NAC relies entirely on the voluntary financial support of concerned naturists like YOU. 

The essential response to the frightening threat at Mazo Beach has already become expensive. Won't you please send a generous donation to NAC?

   NAC
   PO Box 132
   Oshkosh, WI 54903
 

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 (8AM-4PM, Central Time, weekdays) to donate by phone using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. Or use your credit card to make a convenient online donation:
   www.naturistaction.org/donate/ Thank you for choosing once again to make a difference.

Naturally,
Jim Dickey
Board Member
Naturist Action Committee
---------------------------------------------------------------
Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton       -
execdir@naturistaction.org 
Board Member Jim Dickey         - 
jamescdickey@yahoo.com 
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  - 
naturist@sunclad.com 
---------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mazo Beach Petition

My local beach is having some difficult times, and is in need of support.  Please take a moment to sign the Friends of Mazo Beach petition.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Blueprint for Progress

We all wish society was more accepting of naturists.  We all wish there were more opportunities for nude recreation, without the occasional social and legal repercussions.  We all believe that the lifestyle is healthy and natural, and we wish others could understand that.

Every naturist seems to have their own opinion of what the problems are and what needs to be done to advance our cause.  My opinion is quite straight-forward -- do what works.  And I look to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community as a good example of what works.


LGBT vs. Nudist Statistics

There are a lot of parallels between being a nudist, and being gay.  (Or part of the LGBT group, more specifically.)  There is a period of self-discovery, followed by a duration of keeping a secret, followed by a "coming out".  Although we live in an America which is more tolerant of some things, it seems less tolerant of others.

There are some important differences too.  First is that naturism is a choice, and being gay is typically not.  Second is that discovering and "coming out" usually occur at very different ages for each group.  The LGBT group typically "come out" in their teenage years.  Naturists often discover the lifestyle and "come out" much later.  Despite the differences, I think there is still a strong comparison between the two groups.

I previously mentioned a surprising statistic, and asked the obvious question:  8.2% of Americans have engaged in some form of same-sex sexual activity, yet most Americans think 25% of the population is gay.  Per the NEF poll, 25% of Americans have gone skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing in mixed company, yet many Americans think we're a fringe group.  Why are these statistics inversed?  For the sake of this post, let's assume that these two groups have roughly the same numbers of people, somewhere between 8.2% and 25% of the population.

Last summer, a publication caught my eye:  "A Survey of LGBT Americans" from Pew Research. In the back of my mind, I contemplated what naturists would say to those same questions.  (I wish a similar poll was conducted on naturists so that we have a baseline.)

92% of LGBT adults find America more accepting of them compared to 10 years ago, and expect it to be even more so 10 years from now.  Naturists might say the opposite, or say there has been little progress.

54% of LGBT adults say that all or most of the important people in their lives know that they are LGBT.  (Only 14% haven't told anyone.)  Do you think that many naturists are open about it?  Not only that, but 70% of LGBT adults believe that the biggest help to making society more accepting is "people knowing someone who is LGBT."

The LGBT adults clearly saw Barack Obama and Ellen DeGeneres as important public figures advancing their rights.  Although I once tweeted that Obama could fit in as a nudist, we really don't have any public figures that we can proudly point to.  LGBT adults also point to the entertainment industry, with 70% thinking it's friendly.  Most mainstream TV depicting naturists isn't so friendly, especially the news media.  And what do LGBT adults think of the news media?  Most think it's friendly or neutral.

The LGBT adults are active too.  52% have attended a pride event, 40% attended a rally or march, 39% are members of an organization, and 32% have donated to the cause.  For naturists, I'm betting these numbers would all be much lower.  (For attending an organized gathering or conference, participating in a protest, being a member of TNS or AANR, and donating to support naturist rights.)


The Blueprint

In order to:
  • Move America in the right direction for accepting naturists.
  • Make society more accepting to naturists.
  • Have celebrity support.
  • Have a naturist-friendly entertainment industry (TV, movies, news).

We need to:
  • Have at least 54% of naturists "come out" to most friends and family, with  another 32% or so telling at least someone else.  This would have the biggest impact.
  • Have at least 52% of naturists attending gatherings, conferences, or other similar events.
  • Have at least 39% of naturists be members of a naturist organization.
  • Have at least 32% donate to naturist causes.

I've helped all of those metrics, and I hope all of you will do the same.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Accidental Hiatus

It's been more than 6 months since my previous post.  Time goes fast!

This spring, I labored on a really good article for the blog, and then decided that it might be better for N magazine.  Recognizing significant differences in writing for the blog and writing for a magazine, I re-wrote most of it from scratch.  It's still a work in progress, and I'm targeting a submission date in the winter months.  The article would be ideal for spring-time publication.

While writing it, I stumbled upon another great article idea.  Again, it might be better suited for the magazine.  I'm collecting data this summer and through some of the winter.

Both articles are interesting and applicable for naturists, and academic-style with original research.  I plan to publish each here a while after they run in N magazine (if accepted).  No spoilers in the meantime!

My summer has remained busy due to a more personal reason too.  My significant other and I are finally, after nearly 11 years, getting married.

In other blog news, I've decided to stop (or at least significantly scale back) writing about trips and events.  I'm the only naturist blogger who has written about ALL of my social naturist trips for the entire 7 years I've been participating.  I don't think it has much value anymore.  (Unless someone can persuade me to continue?)

With that, expect the hiatus to continue for a while longer and for posts to be less frequent.  I'd like to shift more to quality instead of quantity.  Thanks for understanding.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Future Resort Summary

Since the Future Resort series is a good start for a business plan, I'll summarize all the best ideas from the Original series (O) and the Redux (R).  As I mentioned at the start of the Redux, I'm interested in a business partnership.  Contact me here if you'd like to play any part in opening a venue which satisfies this criteria.

Obviously, I've published all of these ideas already.  Anyone can open a venue.  I'm not looking for profit from a business partnership.  I'm focused on the long-term benefit of having the venues in place.  I'm hoping that profits from the venues get wisely reinvested into nudist causes, instead of pocketed for lavish lifestyles.  And I'm hoping that anyone who may copy my ideas also copies my philosophy.

The word "should" indicates a goal to strive for as a best effort.  The word "must" indicates the venue needs to have it to earn my support.

Summary of ideas:
  • The venue must be one of the following:
    • Castle-style, with building(s) surrounding an open lawn. (O2)
    • Commercial building. (R2)
  • The venue must be located in a city, and should be located in one of the largest cities in the states listed in (R4).
  • The venue must provide privacy/seclusion and access control. (R2)
  • The venue should be spacious and able to support a crowd. (R2)
  • The venue must provide access to sunshine for sunbathing. (R2, R3)
  • The venue must be easily accessible, and within range of a taxi.  It should be along a main road. (R2)
  • The venue must be comfortable. (R2)
  • The venue must provide food through an internal restaurant, snack shop, groceries, or selection of delivered food. (R3)
  • The venue must provide both hostel-style lodging and hotel-style lodging. (R6, R3)
  • The venue must allow more granular "grounds fees", such as charging by the hour. (R7)
  • The venue should evaluate the green technologies listed in (O3, O3.1, O3.2, O3.3) and implement any which would be profitable as soon as they can be afforded.
  • The venue should diversify using my crowdsourced evolutionary model. (O4, O5)  Note: Initial projects will likely be a pool, hot tub, games, fitness equipment, and other things nudists like to do.
  • The venue should do iterative development. (O4)
  • The venue should specialize in one or more specific events. (O4)
  • The venue should consider all ideas from guests, and track the decision making process for transparency. (O4)
  • The venue should offer chores in exchange for credit, so people can have a cheaper stay if they help out, using the framework in (O5) and the suggestion in (O-Recap3).
  • The venue should encourage fundraisers, both to fund internal projects (O5) and to fund community projects (O7).
  • The venue should implement ideal resource-sharing methods as described in (O6).  Avoid the main example, however.
  • The venue should make use of regulars with specific skills who are willing to support side-businesses, fundraisers, and community involvement. (R3)
  • The venue must be open and involved with the community, such as attending meetings, fundraising for community efforts, offering textile "open house" days, and doing good whenever possible. (O7, R7)

Of course, there are other good ideas outside of the Future Resort series.  For example, I cover effective use of markerboards here, might inspire a venue name and marketing ideas here, and might offer a few event ideas here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Future Resort Redux (p7) - End Effect

The venues described in the series aren't entirely revolutionary.  There are numerous venues which already fit in to the urban nudist oasis category.  N magazine 31.4 talks about Fawlty Towers in Cocoa Beach, which is a hotel that recently turned nudist.  Another recent addition is Clover Spa in Britain, which is more like a bed and breakfast.  A commenter pointed out his "Clothing Optional Home Network" of bed and breakfast venues.  (There are many more, including some traditional nudist venues which happen to be at the city's edge.)

The existing venues basically market themselves as hotels.  You go there, pay a substantial sum of money, and enjoy a room for the night.  Some go a step beyond and allow guests to enjoy the facilities for a day fee.  This is often a substantial sum of money and they feel like they need to stay all day to make it worthwhile.  With these policies, the venue attracts vacationers and people who have the day off from work.  It becomes a tourist destination and a hotel.  Although this can be profitable, my venue would focus on a different market.

My policy for an urban nudist venue would be to also take the next logical step: charge by the hour.  With this policy, the venue would provide dual roles.  It can still be a tourist destination and hotel, but it will also become an entertainment establishment.  It would compete with things like bowling alleys, skating rinks, gyms (both workout facilities and classes such as yoga), theaters, arcades, restaurants, and bars -- all of which you pay a small amount of money and have some small duration of entertainment or use.

Think about how much time you spend at vacation destinations.  Perhaps a week or two each year?  Now think about how much time you spend at the entertainment establishments I listed above.  Likely a few evenings each week and most weekends the rest of the year.  When people want to get out of the house for a while, or have time to kill in town, they can stop in.

If anyone is curious, a small fee and an hour of time is all it takes to give nudism a try.  (An hour is usually all it takes to become hooked, too.)  As people drive by the venue, many will be curious.  They'll think about it and talk about it even if they never go.  And this would be good for nudism.

How many nudists do you know on TV?  Probably none.  Is nudism a talking point in each political election?  The obvious answer is "no".  However, gay rights are a talking point and I'm sure you know several gay characters on TV.  Here are the stats: 8.2% of Americans have engaged in some form of same-sex sexual activity, yet most Americans think 25% of the population is gay.  Per the NEF poll, 25% of Americans have gone skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing in mixed company, yet many Americans think we're a fringe group.  Why are these statistics inversed?

I believe that the difference in attitudes is related to the difference in primary social frameworks over the last 50 years.  Nudist resorts are hidden away in rural areas, keep to themselves, and in general become forgotten.  Gay bars, on the other hand, are in the middle of town.  They are seen on a daily basis.  They are talked about among the community.  They are frequented by a lot of casual visitors, both regulars and the curious.  They are a social hub for tight-knit local communities who are actively pushing for change.

I'm not advocating that we open a bunch of "nudist bars" to mimic the success of the gay culture.  (Legally speaking, establishments serving alcohol and offering nudity are heavily regulated, so a "nudist bar" would be very difficult to open and operate anyway.)  But if similar facilities -- minus the alcohol and plus the numerous features I've mentioned in this series -- popped up around the country, I believe it would have a huge positive impact on nudism long-term.

In conclusion, my revised prediction for the future of nudism is within an urban setting.  Existing urban venues can be repurposed with casual nudists in mind, in cities which are already ripe with demand.  A healthy mix of people will give it a try.  Naturally, a strong sense of community will develop.  With the increased visual presence, nudism will become a topic of political debate and mainstream media.  Change is coming in the next couple decades, and I'm already looking forward to it!