Tag - photography

Photo used in Schmap Vancouver

Just got this email letting me know this photo of mine with a CC license is being used in a map/guide to Vancouver. Cool!

Hi John,I am delighted to let you know that one of your photos witha Creative Commons license has been selected for inclusionin the newly released third edition of our Schmap VancouverGuide:Science WorldIf you like the guide and have a website, blog or personalpage, then please also check out our schmapplets -customizable widgetized versions of our Schmap VancouverGuide, complete with your published photo:http://www.schmap.com/schmapplets/p=18955080N00/c=SE28031505Please enjoy the guide!Best regards,Luke Ritchie,Managing Editor, Schmap Guides

Thumbs up, thumbs down: obligatory post-Jobs-keynote post

I want the new iMac.
I want the new iPhoto.
I want the new iMovie.
I want the new GarageBand.
I want the new Keynote.
I want the new Numbers.
I’m not really impressed with iWeb.
Not too sure about .Mac yet.
I don’t really have a need for Pages – Word is good.

Best new iPhoto feature
Better organization of photos. Events is just brilliant … we have 14,000 photos and they’re just a complete blur. Events makes sense, and it’ll be a major enhancements. I called my wife down for that chunk of the demo, and it passed her keenly tuned BS filters. She even said “cool” a few times.

Best new iMovie features
Movie library just like photo library: one of those things that is obvious after Apple does it. Creating a movie in minutes: very needed, and very awesome.

Still needed: easier podcasting
I still think Apple needs a better podcasting tool. GarageBand is not the obvious place to go for podcasting, and it’s still not super simple and easy there, AFAIK.

Fun with photobooth

Ethan and Aidan were playing around with Photobooth, Apple’s fun picture-taking software that accompanies the newer iMacs and MacBooks with built-in cameras.

A couple of the results:

a-e.jpg

And one that they liked better:

swirl.jpg

The painting you see in the back? It’s Jeroen Vermeulen‘s … their uncle (and my brother-in-law).

[tags] ethan, aidan, john koetsier, family, pix, photo [/tags]

jeroen.ca: art | life

My brother-in-law Jeroen Vermeulen is an amazing artist … one of his 8′ x 5′ paintings hangs in my dining room. Here’s a site that I recently put up for him:

jeroens-site.jpg

More content to come, as per usual. We’ve only got his recent paintings up … nothing before January of this year. That’ll come with time, however. It was important to get this up as soon as possible as Jeroen just had a show in the Netherlands, and some of his paintings are going up for public display and sale here in Vancouver next week.

Enjoy!

. . .
. . .

PS: Jeroen is pronounced yer-roon. It’s a Dutch name (as is mine, sort of) and Jeroen is originally from the Netherlands.

[tags] jeroen vermeulen, art, website, john koetsier [/tags]

My new baby

Yes, it’s a little off-topic … but I’m in love:

my-mini-s.jpg

[tags] car, mini cooper s, mini, john koetsier, love [/tags]

Easter egg clues …

This past Easter we, naturally, had an easter egg hunt. Each of the kids had a chance to hide the eggs and let the others find them.

And Gabrielle, being the creative girl she is, had to make it more interesting … with clues. Here they are …

Hrm …. in the library?

case-look.jpg

Outside?!?

mary-mary.jpg

This doesn’t sound too good for chocolate ….

shiny-metal.jpg

OK, this one’s easy:

stare-long.jpg

But I’m not sure I want to eat this egg:

yellow-river.jpg

[tags] easter, eggs, hunt, fun, kids, pictures, john koetsier, gabrielle [/tags]

Kodak: Marketing with balls

Advertising this good deserves recognition:

This is marketing from people who have read the Cluetrain. This is marketing from people who give a damn. This is marketing from people who are having fun.

If all advertising was this good you wouldn’t need to skip commercials.

[tags] ad, advertising, kodak, kodak moment, guts, marketing, john koetsier [/tags]

Ever feel like the rabbit?

ouch1.jpgI just happened to stumble across this Steve Jurvetson photo of an eagle eating a rabbit or some small rodent hawk eating a vole.

Ouch! That is just nasty – predator and prey … both almost seeming to stare into the camera as one head disappears into the other. (Of course, this is probably taken with telephoto.)

I have, on occasion, felt like the rabbit vole. Not today, fortunately, and hopefully you don’t either.

[tags] eagle, rabbit, steve jurvetson, john koetsier [/tags]

Asheville North Carolina trip

Just came back from a conference in Asheville, NC … up in the Smoky Mountains. It was freezing cold … -10 Celcius with windchill … so I only got out of the hotel once, really, and took these shots as I wandered the town.

Click for a larger image of each:

Thomas Wolfe's house House on a wire Police station in Asheville NC
Across from the police station Derelict building Light door
Dark door Asheville architecture Asheville architecture
Asheville city hall Asheville courthouse Building and tree

Back from NC

I came in from NC last night. Stepping out of Sea-Tac airport was great: wet but warm.

(North Carolina sort of feels like the North Pole right now … I was in Asheville and it was about -10 Celcius, with a killer wind.)

Good to be back … will be posting some pix here soon of the trip …

Thomas Wolfe's house House on a wire Police station in Asheville NC
Across from the police station Derelict building Light door
Dark door Asheville architecture Asheville architecture
Asheville city hall Asheville courthouse Building and tree

A day at Mount Baker

I took the day off today and we spent the day at Mount Baker. Tubing, playing, feeding the birds … absolutely gorgeous:

baker.jpg

Here’s a short video that I took while tubing … following Gabrielle down the hill:

[tags] mount baker, tubing, john koetsier [/tags]

Beautifully perfectly empty desktop

For the first time in perhaps 3 years, my desktop is beautifully, perfectly, empty – a wonderful tabula rasa on which I can create Anything I Want™.

beautifullyempty.jpg

I’m a bit of a freak about computer desktop neatness (which is not the same as saying I’m good at keeping my desktop clean).

It gives me a mini heart attack when I see colleagues with 15, 25, even 75 icons scattered over their desktop like dominoes that have already been knocked down. Some people have no desktop at all … just documents and applications and servers and connected disks and CDs wallpapering their computerized window on the world.

It’s almost a GTD thing for me: items on my desktop are things that need to be done, work that is calling my name, tasks that have not been completed. An empty desktop, then, is a symbol of a successful day, a caught-up workload, a mastered schedule.

The peace. The serenity.

Soon to be shattered, of course, by the relentless stampede of barbarian TO-DOs through the narrow funnel of my traitorous email in-box.

Ah well. Even a moment’s peace is valuable. Refreshed, I am ready to return to battle.

[tags] desktop, screenpic, GTD, getting things done, peace, tasks, to-dos, john koetsier [/tags]

Blogging with Comic Life

I’m seeing more and more creative blogging these days … including comic book blogging.

Example: ChouChouShu (see also November’s posts), a blog by Scott Ocheltree, a colleague of mine who adopted an orphaned child from China and wanted to a space to write about it.

comicbookblogging.jpg

Maybe one of these days I’ll try a couple of posts like this … Comic Life makes it easy.

[tags] blogging, comic life, comics, scott ocheltree, john koetsier [/tags]

Thank you Rastin

jk-long.jpg

My good friend and colleague Rastin Mehr took this picture of me for work … we’re doing a bit of a re-org and are re-branding ourselves with a postcard mini-site, with pix and bios.

(Pix, bios, and quote. Mine: “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”)

It’s from T.S. Eliot’s poem:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half heard, in the stillness
Between the two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

[tags] rastin mehr, premier, john koetsier [/tags]

Camera: Stylus 750

I need a new digital camera just for myself that I can take with me wherever I go … been thinking of this one ever since I saw it in Wired mag. Available at JR for $319.

Vitals:

  • 7.1 MP
  • 5X optical zoom
  • image stabilization
  • ISO 1600
  • all-weather sealed
  • supposedly very nicely small

The problem: very slow start-up and lots of shutter lag between pictures. Hrm … need to keep looking. But I like that 5X optical zoom – very hard to get that in a compact!

Holy freaking mother: stop the blog widget insanity

How much blog bling is too much?

Context: I was just at A VC – a blog by Fred Wilson, a New York venture capitalist that I follow from time to time.

He has about 5 million widgets and doodads hanging off his blog. He’s even worse, if possible, than Matthew Ingram.

Let me count. In the left sidebar Fred’s got:

  1. A picture
  2. Feedblitz RSS subscription form
  3. Yahoo! search widget
  4. Assorted other Fred Wilson RSS feeds
  5. My Blog Community photo widget
  6. Gotham Gal’s Stuff
  7. Podcasts he listens to
  8. Amazon music widget with about 15 albums in it
  9. tourb.us concert widget
  10. Streampad My Music widget
  11. Last.fm music widget
  12. iTunes music widget
  13. Shopcasting widget from ThisNext with about 6 products and full descriptions
  14. Alacra store search widget
  15. Blog categories
  16. Blog archives
  17. Blog about
  18. Blog stats
  19. Various links: axis of evil
  20. Fred’s social networks
  21. Facebook widget
  22. LinkedIn widget
  23. Some other links

In the right sidebar, not to be outdone, he’s got:

  1. Sitepal voice message widget
  2. Personality profile link (what a shock, he’s not high on aesthetics)
  3. Federated Media (FM) publishing banner ad (skyscraper format)
  4. Flickr widget
  5. Wallstrip video widget
  6. Shakeshack widget
  7. More FM ads
  8. VC Feedburner network widget
  9. WordofBlog widget
  10. Ad for another of his blogs
  11. Del.icio.us linkroll widget with about 20 recent links, including brief descriptions
  12. Indeed.com job posting “jobroll” widget
  13. Another Indeed.com widget, this one focusing on salaries in NY
  14. Blogroll with about a hundred blogs in it
  15. Another shopcasting widget from ThisNext with about 10 products, pictures, and descriptions in it
  16. Recent searches widget
  17. Contextual text link ads from Yahoo!
  18. Contextual text link ads from Google (could be against AdSense terms & conditions if Yahoo! is also being used – I think it is, actually)
  19. Recent posts

As I said earlier: holy freaking mother. Stop the insanity!

Visual search, auto-tagging images

On the heels of Riya’s new visual search engine comes another photo-recognition: ALIPRwhich stands for Automatic Linguistic Indexing of Picture – Real time.

It’s interesting to me because visual search is getting a lot of attention right now. But don’t run out and expect it to actually work in real-world situations. ALIPR has a vocabulary of only 332 words right now, almost all simple nouns.

And a real-world test reports mixed results:

In its first real-world test, the program processed thousands of publicly accessible images available on the photo-sharing site Flickr. At least one accurate tag was generated for 98 percent of all the pictures analysed.

“At least one accurate tag” is not a great success rate until we also know how many incorrect tags the software generated … and how the images were selected.

Still, it shows promise:

For 51 percent of these images, the first word generated by ALIPR appeared in users’ tags.

[tags] visual, search, tags, tagging, alipr, riya, flickr, john koetsier [/tags]

Now that’s tagging!

tagged-woman.jpgEnough of all this “what is tagging” nonsense. Now we know.

All you need is a label-maker. No computer required. On the other hand, it is helpful to be beautiful.

(I ran across this by accident while searching for music-themed photos at Flickr.

Thought it was too cool to pass up and not post.)

[tags] woman, tagging, john koetsier [/tags]

The problem(s) with Shutterfly

Shutterfly is a well-funded, well-run, well-executed company in the online photo printing space. Why then is it just barely breaking even?

This post in the Tabblo blog got me thinking. Tabblo’s saying that Shutterfly is competing against nonconsumption … i.e., not printing your photos. And they’re right.

The other reason Shutterfly having a tough time is they’re in the bloody printing industry, which traditionally has margins of around 6% when things are good, and massive capital costs in the form of printing presses.

What a depressing industry to be in. Sure, there’s a ton of printing going on right now, and will be for the foreseeable future. But, printing is a commodity business, there are lots of printers, and printers compete on price and turnaround speed. Quality is assumed – you ante up quality to get in the game.

Shutterfly probably looked like a great technology start-up at the beginning. It must have seemed that way to the founders and investors. However, Wall Street seems to know better and is valuing it as a manufacturing company.

Shutterfly’s shares had a brief run-up after their market debut on Sept. 29, but since then they have dropped to $13.35, or 11 percent below the offering price of $15.

Realistically, the only technology piece to Shutterfly is how the photos come in, and how the products are created by clients online. Everything else is traditional manufacturing/printing/shipping … even if they are using the most modern PDF-x1A to paper printing workflow.

What’s worse, its competitors are similar companies who are owned by major, well-heeled giants.

Shutterfly’s two main competitors in online photo printing, Ofoto and Snapfish, have been acquired by Kodak and Hewlett-Packard, respectively.

But even that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that those parent companies, HP and Kodak, both build digital presses that are used by all three companies, Shutterfly, Ofoto, and Snapfish to print photos and assorted photo products.

HP builds Indigo presses – which Shutterfly has 20-30 of – and Kodak builds several lines of digital presses. In other words, Shutterfly’s competitors own the very machines that Shutterfly runs on.

Who do you think can buy them cheaper? Don’t answer, it’s a rhetorical question. And it explains this:

Early last year, the standard price of a 4-by-6 print was around 29 cents. Today, they cost 19 cents at Shutterfly, 15 cents at Kodak and 12 cents at Snapfish, though volume discounts are available.

Sucks to be in a commodity industry. ‘Specially when you’re competing against the people who built the playing field.

[tags] shutterfly, ofoto, snapfish, photo, printing, commoditization, john koetsier [/tags]

Yahoo private label photos – is this new?

Yahoo! now offers private-label photo sharing/developing sites, as I just found out today by getting an email from Roger’s Photo, a photo uploading and developing service from a Canadian company:

Dear Customer,

We regret to inform you that as of November 21, 2006 Rogers Photo will no longer be available.

. . .

If you are looking for a photo storage and sharing solution, Rogers Yahoo! Photos makes storing, organizing, uploading and sharing your digital photos easier than ever, for more information take an online tour now. To subscribe to Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet go to rogers.com/internet or call 1-888-ROGERS1.

Interesting. Maybe I’m the last guy on the planet to figure out that Yahoo! is offering private-label sites for photo-sharing (and, in this case, internet access).

[tags] yahoo, photos, private label, rogers, john koetsier [/tags]

Post with pix (or, how to make your blog more popular)

Somewhere, I forget where, I read that blogs that have pictures for each post are more popular. Since I know I read it on the internet, and everything on the internet is true, that’s precisely what I’m trying.

(I think it just makes everything look better, to be honest. It’s just a little easier on the eyes.)

So I’ve been looking for places to get appropriate photos. Unless you have hundreds of thousands of photos, you probably don’t have enough for every possible blog post. And, even though I have over 10,000 photos in my iPhoto library, do you think they’re nicely tagged, sorted, keyworded, and therefore searchable? Think again.

I checked out stock.xchng, which is cheap. Some photos are free, others cost one or more credits, which you can buy. However, the photo library does not have a photo for every possible need, and I have a constitutional aversion to paying for things when I don’t have to.

Instead, I’m using Flickr.

Nothing compares to the tagging and indexing that dedicated Flickr members (including myself) tag their photos. Which is wonderful, since things are easy to find.

Such as Santa Claus. Or military ship. Or iceberg.

Most people, including myself, put their photos up on Flickr entirely or mostly free of restrictions. So it’s easy, free, and high quality. Flickr hosts the photos, and I, in turn, link to them.

Which makes a great bargain.

[tags] photos, blogging, flickr, john koetsier [/tags]

Geek gadget lust: Helio

All the everlasting Apple iPhone rumors have me in a constant state of unsatiated geek lust. What’s worse is that I need a new phone … and the iPhone isn’t rumored to be arriving until next year.

Maybe this is the next-best thing:

From the website:

  • Loaded Camera – 2 megapixel, 4x digital zoom, with built-in flash for night shots
  • Video Camera – MPEG 4 video camera for action shots anywhere you and your friends go
  • Big Screen – Large 2.2″ QVGA, 262K color TFT-LAC, 240 x 320 resolution Screen
  • Mega Memory – 70 MB + up to 1200 friends’ contacts! Get extra memory via memory cards*
  • Internet Surfing – Yahoo! Search and one-click access to your favorite websites and MySpace
  • Entertainment – Plays the latest 3D games and also supports: MP3, MPEG 4 player, VOD, MMS and TV output

Ummm … and it’s a phone too.

I am still wondering about the K800i, however … which is more oriented toward phone and camera features.

[tags] geek, lust, phone, helio, cell, mobile, john koetsier [/tags]

The camera phone for bloggers: K880i

I’m wondering if the Sony Ericson K800i isn’t the ultimate blogger’s camera/phone.

I’m kind of looking for a new cell phone – have been wondering about the new Treos. And I know I need a camera that is always available.

You want something you’ll always, always have with you … and you want something that will give you at least acceptable quality. This might just be it:

  • 3.2 megapixels
  • 7 hours talk time
  • more than a week of standby time
  • 2″ screen
  • real flash

Check out this Flickr pic made with the K800i. Not bad!

More info
Blog posts and reviews: C|Net review, IT reviews, Colorful Blog, PJ’s Site. And, from the manufacturer, the specs, and the full multimedia presentation.

[tags] phone, cell, camera, sony, ericson, K800i, john koetsier [/tags]