Off the Top: Photography Entries

March 5, 2012

Experiencing Light

Yesterday, Saturday the 3rd of March in San Francisco I had been out in the Richmond District revisiting my old haunts (to old friends, yes I was on Clement street on Saturday driving but it seems to have improved). I went by Green Apple Books, where I may have spent months of my life (it is my 3rd favorite bookstore anywhere, with Powell's in Portland holding the top rung). The mix of new and used and the nooks and crannies that hold great potential to open new doors of understanding are a real gem. I also wandered into Haaigs Deli and Spice where I used to buy bags of spice and loose leave tea to savor.

Comparatively, in and around Washington, D.C. things are far more transient and ephemeral in the community space than in San Francisco. Yes, there is history to no end in and around D.C., but but stores and communities drift with the winds. This 30 minute walk back through places that were core parts of my life and being in San Francsico has changed so very little. The crafts people as store keepers and business people has endured. I was back at home and not wanting to leave that comfort and connectedness to what was and still is. It reminded me of a great piece in the SF Chronicle/Gate from 2003 about the repair of the San Francisco Ferry Building clock. It was such a great San Francisco story of history, craft, and individuals having a part of the whole community fabric. As well the clock was built to continue working for over a thousand years. It is there to count the minutes of more than a thousand years of history, personal moments, booms and busts, and other general and momentous passages through time.

At about 5:20 p.m. (17:20 for clarity) I got back in my car (er, was my mom's) and started driving out Clement into the sun toward the beach to see the 20s street crossings of Clement Street that also held a lot of wonderful moments from the past. From there I turned and went over to California Street to drive back downtown to meet friends for dinner.

As I was driving in the bright clean clear increasingly golden sun was going down slowly behind me. The lighting was the most incredible light I have experienced. It was warm, golden, engulfing, and made everything radiant. It was the embodiment of the golden glow. And all of this was incredibly moving to the point of loving everything great and glorious about everything in life: people, architecture, nature, all made and natural, and all real and imagined. It was that kind of light. A perfect moment lasting through the golden shadows created by the hills all the way down to the end of California Street.

As I reached the end I really had been wishing I had my camera with me to stop and see if I could capture the glory of this light and the crisp blue skies wrapping this beautiful city. But, I remembered a great snippet of conversation I had in Berlin with Malcolm McCollough about reading after he signed his book, Digital Ground, I had read and jammed with PostIts sticking out the edges like a fuzzy caterpillar and highlighted extensively. We talked about the problem of reading a book like that and wanting to read it straight through to have the flow and understanding, but also to read with highlighter and paper snippets in hand so to capture the things I really want to hold on to [there is no good way to read it twice as it has unfolded already and what struck once with significance may not again]. Malcolm stated that was his problem with going to cities for the first time, but rather than an highlighter it is the camera to document and capture the city (which is how I often meet and get to know a city) and he opts to just experience. For that 20 minute stretch yesterday I had no camera with me that could capture the ephemeral qualities of light that were escaping, but my only choice was to live and experience it. I did possibly like no other stretch of time before. There was glory built into that time, woven with history of personal and collective all woven and washed in amazing light.

July 7, 2007

Yahoo Takes Shot at Own and Customer's Foot

I just got an e-mail that Yahoo Photos is closing September 20, 2007 at 9pm. I have been finding the closing of the site somewhat odd, mostly because the many of the people I know and run across that use Yahoo Photos rely on Yahoo Photos to always be there. They are often infrequent users. They like and love the service because it is relatively easy to use and "will always be there". Many real people I know (you know the 95 percent of the people who do not live their life on the web) visit Yahoo Photos once or twice a year as it is where holiday, travel, or family reunion photos are stored. It would seem that this user base would need more than a year's notice to get valuable notification that their digital heirlooms are going to be gone, toast, destroyed, etc. in a few short months.

It the good will lost through a class action lawsuit against Yahoo! brought by its regular people user base (the core of its business) will not make things better. You know legal action is coming as photos are a valuable part of people's life and memories. Many of the regular people do not check their e-mail regularly as they have more than one or two accounts. Many people I know chose Yahoo Photos over other competitors, because Yahoo had been around longer and understood how to maintain their memories over time. To many Yahoo Photos is not an experiment that would go away.

Yahoo Is Many Things To Many People

I absolutely love Flickr and have never really been a Yahoo Photos user, as I mostly put my own photos on my own servers prior to Flickr. Part of Yahoo's quandary goes back to last a memo last Fall, names the Peanutbutter Manifesto, which was written by Brad Garlinghouse. Garlinghouse railed against the Yahoo multi-headed approach to services. Some services were new and innovative, while others were older and more tradtional. To the novice it would look like they served the same purpose. Yahoo Photos and Flickr do both serve digital photos and provide online photo galleries. Flickr has been providing a good source of ad revenues and Photos has not been as profitable. This seems on the surface to be smart decision, but to the millions more users of Photos than in Flickr this will do little more than bring ill will. Ill will is not something Yahoo can really afford these days.

Innovation and Incorporation of Ideas

Yahoo in the past few years has been buying innovative companies that provide value and unique ways of interacting with people and information on the web. Yahoo has also been innovating in-house with its research labs and now, Brickhouse. Having similar service running allows for one to be innovative and test the waters, while keeping one a safe resource that is familiar to the many who want stability over fresh and innovative. Companies must understand these two groups of people exist and are not fully interchangeable (er, make that they are rarely interchangeable). Innovation takes experimentation and time. Once things are found to work within the groups accepting innovation the work becomes really tough with the integration and use testing with the people who are not change friendly (normally a much larger part of an organization's base).

It would have seemed the smart move to be mindful that Flickr is the innovation platform and Photos is the stable use platform. The two groups of use are needed. Those in the perpetual beta and innovation platform are likely to jump to something new and different if the innovation gets stale. The stable platform users often are surprised and start looking to move when there is too much change. It is a real smart understanding that is needed of who the people are that use, love, and depend on these services. Real smarts are needed to keep these two different communities happy and loyal. When this works well the innovation group is happily the test bed for new helpful tools for the stable platform (which will need beta testing of its people using the service as well).

Irony Run Rampant

While Yahoo is aiming to show it does not grasp the two different use groups of its two photo platforms, nor the loayalty the much larger group has entrusted in Yahoo, many other companies are following the trail Yahoo has put in place by setting up beta programs for their own innovation of products. Google has its labs, but is moving its second generation attempts into its labs. Nearly every large consumer facing web organization has set up labs and/or has been buying small innovative web properties to boost their relevance and ability to build to the future more easily. Most organization outside Yahoo are innovating, testing, and moving solid broadly usable components into their stable large use base products. These other organizations understand loyalty and their customer base. I really thought Yahoo grasped this, with Jerry Yang taking over I had thought a new smart direction was in the works. A Yahoo that snubs its loyal users who believed they placed their prized possessions in the hands of an enduring web property, is new but not innovative and not a lasting property.

March 18, 2006

Face Tagging

This year at SXSW Interactive I was interacting with so many people and getting many business cards. When I looked at the stack I could only tie about a third of the cards to face and conversations. In person I remember conversations tied to faces. In e-mail I remember conversations with a name. But the connection between names, faces, conversations, and business cards at conferences completely hit the wall this year.

By Sunday night or Monday, I was so tired that the problem was exacerbated and I really needed to find a solution. Well, Tuesday I started handing business cards back to the person who handed it to me and I took a picture of their business card next to their face, much like Nick Finck did back to me. This solution worked like a gem. Now I really wish I could go back to Saturday through Monday and capture the photos to tie to the cards.

Even the cards that I did not get a good capture in photo I was able to tie to the person. I am now tying back the people in photos to the people's cards. I am also remembering the conversations and who else was there when we were talking. Suck a good life hack for a tired and filled brain.

March 26, 2005

Yahoo360 and the Great Interaction Design Yardstick

Jeremy Zawodney talks about a Yahoo preview of Yahoo360 to which they invited "influencers" to provide honest feedback (Danah Boyd provides her wonderful view too).

What I really like about Jeremy's post is the repeated reference to Flickr when explaining things. The key thing is that Flickr (yes it is now owned by Yahoo) knocks the snot of of other's interaction design. Flickr set the standard and it is what many other web-based products are truly lacking. Getting the interface and interaction right is not half the battle, it is the battle. So few do it well and very few execs around the industry get that. What is lacking in so many products is design that creates, not just an ease of use, but a fun successful experience.

Flickr makes refindability of the pictures a person posts much easier by using tags that make sense to the person providing the tags. The interface for providing the tags is simple and does not take the user away from the interface (thanks to Ajax). The rest of the options are done simply from a person using the site's perspective. Everybody I know gets completely immersed in Flickr. This is something I can not say about Ofoto or other photo sharing sites, one goes to these sites to see the pictures somebody you know has taken. Flickr can be the most efficient photo sharing tool for uploading and managing one's own photos too.

Simply it is make things easy to accomplish tasks, focussing on what the person wants and need from the product. Accomplish this feat at the same time make it fun. There is no harm in making life enjoyable.

March 21, 2005

Outside of the 3rd World, Yahoo Buys Flickr

Once again we are back into living in the third world. It is the first day of Spring and we got a lightning storm and out goes the power. We have this to look forward to until Fall. Well, unless we move.

Once the power came on it was errand time, then time shout congratulations to Flickr and Yahoo!. The news was officially announced, that Yahoo! bought Flickr. The Flickr team is staying intact and in Vancouver. Flickr is one of the kick-ass products on the Web right now and with Yahoo! support it could stay at the forefront.

December 20, 2004

Salon Writes Story on Flickr

Salon's Katharine Mieszkowski did a story on Flickr that captures what is really good about Flickr. She even, appropriately, includes folksonomy in the write-up.

November 12, 2004

April 12, 2004

Easter Bunny?

Lots going on, so a visit from the Easter Bunny is what I needed to get my laughs back.

December 10, 2003

O'Reilly Apple books and other offerings

There are two new Apple/Mac books and one digital photography book from O'Reilly released in the last few weeks that I am dying to get my hands on. The biggest interest is Dori and Tom's Mac OS X Unwired. The Applescript the Definitive Guide will take me to the next level and help automate more on my Mac. I am also wanting Derrick Story's Digital Photography Pocket Guide, 2nd Edition.

I picked up the Mac OS X Panther Pocket Guide, 3rd Edition last week and have found it to be a good little gem. It had a couple snippets that opened a couple doors I did not know about. It is a good price at under 10 U.S. dollars.

September 25, 2003

One kayak and nine stories down

You build a 17 foot kayak in your 9th floor apartment, there is one easy way down for the kayak. The photos help provide a great story.

July 12, 2003

Fred an iBook and Cambridge photos

My friend Fred picked up an iBook just prior to his trip to Cambridge, England for a summer study session. So far the switch has been good. He has posted his first pictures from Cambridge on his .Mac site. His pictures bring back wonderful memories of mine from the other side of the Oxbridge family.

He has found a rather inexpensive WiFi connection in a coffeehouse there. If you know of others post them and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.

June 20, 2003

Managing large image libraries in iPhoto 2

Derrick Story provides guidence on How to Manage Large Image Libraries with iPhoto 2, which has been a problem for many. Large in this case is a Gig (GB) or more of images.

I found that closing the rolls in iPhoto 2 made the speed of iPhoto greatly improve.

June 7, 2003

Photo galleries from September 2001

September 2001 was wonderful and a little hectic, to say the least. Hence, I have just posted three new galleries of photos from my trip to San Francisco in September 2001. Posted are People, Places & Things, Flowers, and Architecture. These are some of the 450 pictures taken on that trip. The galleries will get a little more tweaking to improve browsing structures, but they are there to enjoy.

This process of posting was eased as I finally turned on the Windows file sharing in Mac OS X, which even works with XP Home. I can now view the directories on my TiBook from the PC. This allowed me the ability to pull files to the PC and build Adobe Photo Shop Web photo galleries from them. I have build the photo libraries on the Mac using iPhoto, but the PS galleries are one of my favorites for layout (not for accessability nor standards compliant). This solution will work until I move Photo Shop to the Mac with version 8.

June 3, 2003

Reposted honeymoon photos

Our Honeymoon photos are back posted again. The coverage stops in Brugge and does not include Paris or Giverney. It will someday when we get a scanner again.

May 25, 2003

New photo galleries posted

I finally posted some photos from the NYC trip earlier this month over in the Photo section. I have been playing with Better HTML for iPhoto . I am still not satisfied with what I have for a template, but that can be changed.

I have been a big fan of iPhoto, but with over 1200 photos in its grasp it is now as slow as a long haired dog in mid-day Mississippi summer heat. I may start playing with some other products soon that have similar digital resource management functionality. The slowness of iPhoto and iTunes has been reported by many that have stretched the limits. There are some workaround listed in comments that can help keep the iPhoto quicker.

March 30, 2003

More Portland and IA Summit photos

A few Portland and IA Summit photos (81) have been added to the photo gallery. It looks like I still need some tweaking of the BetterHTML tool to up the quality of the photos. I had been hoping to complete these earlier but errands and constant sleeping hindered progress.

March 28, 2003

Portland Moving Public Art

I uploaded my quicktime movie of Portland moving public art(3.5MB Quicktime movie) that is located across the street from Powells Books. This was taken from my digital still camera, but I really wanted have a picture of this in action. Now I share.

March 26, 2003

Portland Photos begin

I am posting photos from Portland. I started with Design Within Reach and Portland Rose Garden. I had a little help from BetterHTMLExport for iPhoto on Mac OS X, which did a decent job. I may tweak it some to improve the quality of the pictures.

People photos and hopefully write-ups will come tomorrow. I was sucked into (yeah right) to the Georgetown NIT game tonight. Back to being productive tomorrow.

March 3, 2003

Veen crankin' with OS X

Jeffrey Veen offers his views on Web development on Mac OS X. He discusses using PHP, MySQL, Perl 5.8, CVS, and BBEdit, which in my opinion are excellent choices and some of the reasons I moved over. Jeffrey offers some great links also... (the version control with Mac OS X is a new favorite as is the blog Forwarding Address: OS X

March 2, 2003

iView photo galleries

I keep hearing about iView software for managing photos on a Mac. I don't know if I have ready to shell out the money for it, but I do know I love the iView sample galleries.

February 18, 2003

Bethesda February 2003 snow photos

My snow photos from February 16th to 18th are now posted in the photo section.

I posted this round of photos with Apple iPhoto 2. I did all the editing in iPhoto and created the gallery and their export from within iPhoto. I was somewhat pleased with the results. The output from iPhoto creates decent HTML markup with "alt" tags. The doctype is not exact, but there is one there.

February 1, 2003

iPhoto 2 Reviews and automated photo gallery building

I started using iPhoto 2 last night and found it to be a nice improvement from the previous version. I did not use the first version often as it was not how I wanted to do things. The new release is very usable and I have imported many of my monthly archives into iPhoto and have used the enhance to bring out some nice touches. The Enhance tool is not quite perfect or consistent yet, but it is well worth a try on every photo as you can command-Z it right back.

James Duncan Davidson shares his 12 Hours with iPhoto 2 and Derrik Story offers his review in iPhoto 2, it's mostly good news. These two review offer a solid insight into the solid program that Apple is offering.

My next step is to test the build HTML page option, which is something I am missing at the moment on my Mac. I want good clean code, thumbnails build with ease, the ability to caption and "alt tag" the photos. My favorite application is Paul Bausch's snapGallery (does not or did not provide thumbnail option, but it was great clean and valid code that was easy to tweak) and closely followed by PhotoShop auto-generate gallerys option (this has a wonderful look and builds reduced versions of the main photos and thumbnails). I have not picked up PhotoShop for the Mac yet, but may do the Cross-Platform upgrade as I miss it. I will post the results of my postings in the near future.

December 5, 2002

Snow photos from Bethesda, MD

Photos of today's show at home are now posted (an updated set will be posted as soon as the software registration arrives). You can also follow the local road conditions through a traffic cam at Bradley and Wilson (we can see the traffic light through our backyard when the trees are bare).

September 22, 2002

House photos

There are a handful of photos of our house posted. (I played around with the Macromedia MX Studio to create the gallery, it has some capabilities, but still needs some learning.) The photos show the mirrors that were everywhere and what the wall looked like when the mirrors came down. There are some early shots of the outside with all the weeds and ivy and some with it geting cleaned out. I am missing Photoshop for photo clean-up and creating galleries quickly and wonderfully.

July 14, 2002

Film Strip Art

Film Strip art provided a great diversion. [hat tip Eric]

June 14, 2002

Smart Media reader for OS X

I finally have a good USB Smart Media reader that works with Mac OS X, the Imation FlashGO does the job and gives the option for other media and is rather compact, which means it is a perfect for the TiBook. Now that I have an easy way to get photos into the TiBook it is time to switch PhotoShop from Windows to Mac. (My previous reader, ZIO, would only function properly on Mac OS9. They had an OS X driver but it never worked. It had worse problems on Windows XP for a while, as it would shut the system down when the USB device was being plugged in. It took two driver updates to fix that.

May 6, 2002

April 7, 2002

I stumbled across Bill Atkinson's photography site. I was really intrigued with his photos of minerals, which stood out from the other amazing photos. The colors in the minerals were wonderful.

April 5, 2002

Carrie points to Launch New York City: After the Fall, a wonderful Flash presentation of post September 11 NYC by photographer Geoffery Hiller.

April 4, 2002

Anil finds an only in New York scene. This could have me chuckling for days.

April 2, 2002

Stephen Voss on digital photography magic

Digital Web has a fantastic article by Stephen Voss On Digital Photography and making digital photographs come to life. This is of great help for scanned or original digital form.

March 14, 2002

The SXSW 2002 Things Gallery is posted. Some of these items will be posted as wallpaper for your pleasure. I am finally putting together a photo page, but it will not be ready until next week most likely.

Finally I have my photos of the people of SXSW 2002 up on line. Many thanks again to PB's SnapGallery that powered the page builds.

February 20, 2002

I found Zoomify to be an insanely cool application. The clarity of the zoomed image was stellar. It reminds me of some of the LuraTech graphic compression applications I tried a couple years ago, when I was looking to build a document repository for Web based use that allowed quick loading snapshots of the documents prior to downloading. Zoomify would be a great application to inspect photos and painting details while keeping the image weight relatively low. Genius.

In a search for Park Slope photographer on Google I found David Gallagher has a similar thoughts this past weekend.

February 18, 2002

I have posted a quick photo journal of this recent trip to NYC. The slide show is a presentation built with PB's SnapGallery. The images were cleaned-up and reduced in PhotoShop prior to moving them in to the SnapGallery. I found SnapGallery very quick and easy to use. I have a strong feeling I will be playing with it some more.

Previous Month

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.