Yearly Archives: 2007

Fraser Speirs – If your proprietary RAW workflow dies

Fraser Speirs – If your proprietary RAW workflow dies:

My photography, however, is another story and it rather scares the pants off me when I think about it too much. I have hundreds of gigabytes and tens of thousands of images on my hard drive, all of which represent precious memories and some of which are pretty good photographs in their own right. Pictures of my children’s births, their first birthdays, family holidays, great trips I’ve taken, places I’ve been and so on. Years of my life in visual form.

But all of that is locked into proprietary formats. All of it. Firstly, the RAW files are Canon CR2 files from an EOS 350D and a 30D. That’s the first thing that scares me. What happens when the 30D is a twenty-five-year-old camera? I’ll only be in my early 50s when that situation arises and hopefully still doing a lot of photography. What will the computers and operating systems look like in the year 2032? Is Apple really committing to build a RAW decoder for the 30D into every future version of Mac OS X, Mac OS XI and the new-for-2030 A.D. Mac OS XII? What if Apple ’starts over’ again with another OS once X has seen better days? Will they build RAW converters for prehistoric digital cameras?


So that’s just the RAW files themselves. I’m also locked into Aperture. I’m not locked in through metadata, but I am locked in through Aperture’s proprietary database of all the image adjustments I’ve made to each of my photos. This concern isn’t even one for the future. It’s one for right now. If I wanted to, how would I take all my RAW masters and move to Lightroom, preserving the edits I’ve made in Aperture and keeping all of those edits non-destructive? I simply don’t think this can be done today.


On the other hand, this just doesn’t bother me all that much — not nearly as much as data loss of the bits on disk does.

I’m not minimizing the issue, but I think people are looking at it the wrong way to a degree. There seems to be this thought that you should be able to move a post-processed image from one application to another, and on the other side, it’ll still be the same post-processed image. I frankly don’t think that’s a completely rational thing to expect even from one release of Aperture to another, much less from one app to another. There are so many variables here — including bugs and fixes to the Raw processor or the Aperture application itself — that even if you don’t change a thing, you might not get the same picture (heck, there are even going to be subtle changes in how jpegs get processed on export; it gets really ugly really fast if you let it get to you).

Now, this wasn’t necessarily very different in the wet-lab days — reproducibility of creating a print in a darkroom has similar problems. Depending on how particular you are, a favorite print could be seriously impacted by a change in the chemicals used for developing, or by a manufacturer discontinuing a favorite paper. At least in the digital world, you don’t need to worry about your original negative being the ONLY copy — backing up the RAW file means never having to say it’s missing. But everything from there down is up for grabs to some degree. But then, so was wet chemistry.

I”m not at all worried about losing access to the RAW files. I’m not particularly worried about losing Aperture (I am getting increasingly impatient waiting for Aperture 2.0, though, and I find myself thinking about how nice it’d be to have a workflow that has access to some of the REALLY NICE Photoshop filters (like some of the third party sharpening tools) without bouncing back and forth from Aperture to Photoshop. Gotta say if Aperture 2.0 doesn’t have capability to run Photoshop filters or a good plug-in interface to allow those developers to build for Aperture as well (and the evangelism to get them to DO IT), I’m going to have a tough call on my hands. But that’s a different discussion for a different time.

My view on this is that if I move my images from Aperture to some other processing environment, I am most likely going to want to reprocess them in the new workflow, not simply import what I did in Aperture and expect it to work right. My rationale for this is simple: I’m moving to this new environment. Heck, I expect to do that for whatever Apple’s “Raw processor 2.0″ or 1.2 or whatever it is when they update it. None of this is etched in stone, even within Aperture over time.

If this worries you, then you shouldn’t be thinking about moving the edits to a new environment. You should be thinking in terms of making sure that whatever future environment you have works with your “negative” (i.e., the RAW image), and if you want to guarantee an unchanged final image, you need to export it into an immutable format and not depend on Aperture or any other environment to not create changes down the road. To me, that means exporting the “final” image into uncompressed TIFF, and in all honesty, if/when I do move from Aperture to something else, I won’t do it by trying to preserve the Aperture edit metadata, I’ll do it by moving the RAW images into my new environment, and scripting an export of uncompressed TIFF of any processed image I want to guarantee to be preserved unchanged. That’s really the only way to do this — and then when I want to update an image, start from scratch in the new environment — and then save the final as uncompressed TIFF again.

I think the geek in us would love a world where everything interacts perfectly and you can move from application to application easily with reliability and no data loss; in the real world, that’s not going to happen. What can happen, though, is that you can guarantee easy access to the “negative” and the “final print”; the best way to do that isn’t by mucking with meta-data and Aperture internals, but by using standar formats we can feel comfortable will survive or be convertable from — and RAW formats qualify (when they go obsolete, there are enough images stored in them that there will be conversion tools when we need them), and TIFF files.

This is an important issue to think about; it’s not, however, an issue you should allow yourself to OVER think. the proper way to preserve your work here is to preserve the source and the result, not all of the pieces in the middle. Ultimately, they don’t matter — because if you decide you want to go in and rework an image, you’re going to rework it by starting over in the new (hopefully improved) environment. Those middle bits just don’t matter that much in that situation, so focus on making sure you keep copies of the result once you hit a form you consider “done”, and simply use the result until you think you can try again and do better….

Update: James Davidson chimes in, with a similar opinion to mine. And one of the best comments I’ve seen on the subject down in his comments: RAW is not an archival format. Very true.

Baking Copies of your Work – O’Reilly Digital Media Blog:

So what is one to do if they perfectly tweak an image to their liking and want to keep it for posterity? At this point, the only sane thing to do is to bake—my pet term for export—a TIFF or PSD file, preferably in 16-bit format. This will ensure that you can keep your currently processed image no matter what happens in the future with your choice of tools. Of course, now you have another file to manage. And that becomes another problem.

Maybe DNG could help us out with this. It’s already possible to include multiple representations of RAW data in a DNG file. Maybe if the keepers of the DNG spec were to add an ability to include “snapshots” in TIFF or PSD format into a DNG, we could package our processed versions of a photograph together with its RAW data in such a way that could survive the test of time in one handy package. That way, even if you move from Lightroom to SuperDeluxRAWTool in the future, you can always access how your photos looked when you made your edits in late 2007.


Re-thinking goalie gear (or why it’s premature to make the nets bigger)

Ottawa Citizen:

This player has specific beefs: the fat layers of kneepads most NHL keepers are now using, and the thick flaps that stick out whenever they drop to their knees.

“It basically eliminates the five-hole,” he says. “There’s no reason they have to be that big.”

The novelty here is not the subject, it’s the person complaining.

He is Marty Turco. GOALIE.

Turco’s job is to keep pucks out. But he also cares deeply about the game, and believes the league needs more pucks going in. Unlike many keepers who shriek in terror at the thought of more equipment shrinkage, Turco is open to the idea…As long as it is in the right places. And for him, that means those darn kneepads and flaps.

“The problem is a lot of the guys wear a pad under their socks, and then another one over their socks. So when they go down, they are several inches higher. Then you have these flaps which are like putting a board in front of the five-hole.”

He told the NHL’s Competition Committee in the summer that all this extra knee “protection” was excessive. Nothing came of it.

Turco wears some of this padding himself, but keeps it much smaller so he can move around better. Just watch the highlights and compare the size of his stuff to, say, J.S Giguere, who still looks like a float in the Macy’s Parade.

This issue has been a continuing debate here between myself and Laurie (my resident retired goalie), after I broached the idea that maybe larger nets might not be a bad idea. I survived that discussion, but only barely. both of us agree in general, though, that the league has to take a close look at the equipment before even considering changing the net — if only because the goaltenders have shown a significant tendency toward adapting to changes, and I’m just not convinced at this point that a change to net size will have a significant AND LASTING effect on the game.

I do believe that if we can’t fix the balance between goalie and skater in the game any other way, though, that it has to be considered and experimented with.

One of the things I’ve been doing recently (thank you, NHL channel) is watching some of the classic games — Billy Smith, Bernie Parent, etc, with a specific look at how the game has changed in the last 30 years or so, and what that might mean to how we need to think about improving it today.

It is amazing just how different goaltending is today. I’m not criticizing goalies of earlier eras in any way here — but the position is just radically different than it was. Not just in terms of equipment, but in all aspects.

You can break those changes down into three key aspects:

o Gear

o Conditioning

o Technique

The difference in player conditioning from 30 years ago is stunning, not just for goalies, but for all players. In our collection, we have a book published by Tommy Woodcock (see footnote 1) (then in St. Louis, later in San Jose), “Hockey from the Ice Up”, published in 1973. It was in its way a look at state of the art in player conditioning — and discussed not allowing players water on the bench or between periods. Instead, if they really need something, consider oranqe quarters. Goalie conditioning was at about the same level as player conditioning — good for its day, but lightyears behind what players today do. Goalies today are faster, stronger, taller, heavier and more flexible and mobile than their peers 30 years ago.

Goalie gear and technique go hand in hand (or glove in blocker); watch games from 30 years ago, and what do you see? Goalies that stand up instead of butterfly — but even more critical to me, goalies that are trying to block shots with their pads, not their bodies (and goalie masks were still in their infancy, the thought a goalie might actually use his head voluntarily would be insane. Today, insane goalies DO that. If you watch these classic games — and we’re talking about Cup Final series games here, supposedly the best of the best of the time — you don’t see goalies getting in front of a shot, you see goalies trying to get the shot on a blocker or a leg pad. the chest as a barrier just doesn’t seem to be a primary technique. What that means is that even ignoring equipment size and player size the “holes” were much larger, because goalies were primarily stopping pucks with their arms and legs, not their entire body.

The pads of 30 years ago were much heavier than today’s gear — 35 pounds or more, while at the same time smaller. Pads of those days also sucked up moisture, so it wouldn’t be at all unusual for them to weigh 10 pounds heavier at game end than game start. Those issues alone make a goalie of 30 years ago less mobile than one today; you try stopping a shot with a 6 or 7 pound blocker instead of a 3 pounder, especially after 50 minutes of play…

Wind the clock forward to today, what do you have? Well, goalies have adopted the butterfly, or a modified butterfly, in huge numbers. Goalies now have coaches (an innovation of the last ten years), and coaches have video; 30 years ago, when a goalie’s game went sideways, either he figured it out himself, or if he was lucky, the spare goalie or some coach might have some suggestions. Today, every shot, every rebound, every interaction is caught on video in numerous angles, and evaluated endlessly between games.

Throw in the improved gear — especially chest gear where a player can now take a Iafrate slap shot to the sternum and barely feel it — adn suddenly a player isn’t trying to get past a goalie’s leg pads, you have a goalie where the entire body’s become a wall of steel. (digression: the day I realized we had to fix goalie gear is easy for me to remember: I was listening to Bryan Hayward on XM being interviewed, and he was talking about a conversation he had with a current goalie about gear, and the goalie said “you can’t reduce the gear, I might get a bruise!”; we’ve come a LONG way from Jaques Plante and his half an inch of upholstery foam underneath his jersey, folks…).

So 30 years ago, a shot comes from the point, and Pete Peeters tries to kick it into the corner. He’s standing up, a good part of the goal is available for a well-placed shot, both along the ice and up high.

Today, J.S. Guiguiere drops to the ice and splays his legs out. His pads close out the five hole (when tony Esposito tried putting netting between his legs, the league slapped him. today, current pad technology makes that hack look — quaint. Patrick Roy was a master at building flaps into his gear that sat flat to meet league specs, but which magically stood out at attention in use to close off holes and turn him into a fortress; he was a hell of a goalie, but he was also a master of stretching the rules on gear…). Evgeny Nabokov and Marty Turco aren’t trying to stop a puck with their blocker, they stand square to the shooter and happily take it off the chest. They have coaches that get their positioning down to inches, and since they’re low to the ice, a shooter simply has NO place to put the puck, unless it’s a perfect shot and in the upper half of the net. There IS no hole for a low shot any more.

And, of course, goalies ARE bigger. So is their gear. And their gear is lighter, but beyond that, it’s not absorbent, so instead of 35 pounds of gear that’s 45 in the third period, it’s 20 pounds of gear that’s 20 pounds in the third. And the improved gear makes goalies fearless, even to the point of sometimes using their head to voluntarily stop pucks (which I still think is insane, but then, goalies are, right?)

And that’s given the goalies a huge advantage, and there’s really nothing a shooter can do today to even that out. If there’s no hole to shoot at, it doesn’t matter, and that’s where we’re headed in this game. The only way to score is by getting the goalie moving and forcing a hole open — the days of Mike Bossy or Bobby Orr picking a corner from the point are simply gone (and I haven’t even started with defensemen going whole hog into shot blocking — Craig Ludwig, what have you done? — it’s not a goalie you have to shoot through, it’s three, or four).

So, what to do? Larger nets is one option; frankly, I’m willing to consider it given how much more territory of the open net a goalie can cover today. but first, I want to see the league rethink goalie gear.

We aren’t going back to the days of goalies being the worst skater or smallest body on the team, team’s understand just how key goalies are to success now, you can’t legislate them to unlearn that. you can’t force goalies to not train, to not watch video, to not be coached, to not butterfly (even if you wanted to, which I don’t).

But you can make a decision that the pads are there to protect the goalie, and not to stop the puck; put the burden of stopping the puck BACK on the goalie and less on the goalie being something you hang these massive pads on.

The question is just how far and in what ways you can cut back the pads without risking injury (and while I tend to agree with Hayward on this “might get a bruise” thing, goalies shouldn’t have to worry about being hurt or injured — but not feeling the puck at all? it’s gone a bit too far, IMHO).

Obvious options: leg pads slimmed down to protect the leg, not turn the lower half of the net into a fortress. Get rid of any kind of hack that fills holes. I’d consider — seriously — making leg pads have a shape that matches the leg, rather than flat, so that the goalie has more trouble directing a rebound. A few weird bounces might make the game more fun (except for the goalie), and pads with a curved profile would do that.

Cut back the blocker in the same way. Cut back the glove to a size similar to what goalies wore 30 years ago, instead of today’s bushel baskets. Make sure that the shoulder pads only protect the shoulders (no Garth Snow lacrosse specials), and the same for all pads.

the idea is to try to create SOME of those holes that existed 30 years ago, put more of the onus of stopping the puck on the skill of the goalie, and not just the goalie’s ability to stand in front of the net and get hit by the puck. Give the shooter a CHANCE, which today, they basically don’t have. And do it without putting the goalie at risk — we have to remember, 30 years ago, we didn’t have a dozen guys shooting like Al Iafrate at chest or face height, either…

And if that happens, and doesn’t work, THEN make the nets bigger. I certainly don’t want to turn hockey into indoor soccer or arena football — but if the average game was about 4-3, I’d be happy (currently, we’re seeing 5.6 goals a game, I’d like to see that at 6.5-7. It’s not a huge change, actually, but it’d seem so because you’d have a few more multi-goal periods).

Unlike some, I don’t think this is a huge problem — not yet serious enough for a significant change like changing the size of the net, but now would be a good time to think hard about the purpose of a player’s gear — for both goalie and skater — and make a fundamental decision that the purpose of that gear is to protect the player, not (in the case of goalies) to turn into an inpenetrable wall, or (in the case of skaters) to be used as a weapon against other players, as hard-shelled elbow pads have become (in fact, if it were me, I’d outlaw hard-shell gear on players completely, except for shin pads and knee protection. but that’s a different post…)


(footnote 1: we actually found TWO copies of this book; one we got autographed by Tommy, which amused the hell out of him and the sharks in the locker room, because it got passed around before we got it back. The other we gave to Tommy, because it turned out he didn’t have a copy himself any more. We also found out that he played for New Haven for about 3 games in the 50′s, and found out we had a program with his name in it in the collection, so we gave that to him around the time he retired from the Sharks. But for some reason, he balked at autographing our copy of the book “I’ll always remember that night in Port Alberni….” — no idea why. But Woodcock, before he was a trainer, did some time in the minors, mostly in the old Eastern Hockey league. Great guy, too.)

Wikis and Spammers : Venture Chronicles

Wikis and Spammers : Venture Chronicles:

Coincidentally, I have been battling spammers for over a month on another wiki I have, the Web 2.0 in the Enterprise wiki. In the interests of ensuring as much public and unfettered access as possible, this wiki required no registration for updating and spammers were hitting it with startling efficiency and replacing all of the content with links for fake Rolex watches.


Okay, we have 20 years of experience proving that any time you don’t put some kind of protection up on a writable computer, that the hackers and spammers will wander in and destroy it.

So why the hell are people still trying to set up public systems without any kind of authentication?

This isn’t just the same as going on vacation without locking the front door, this is going on vacation and taking the front door off the house before you leave. TV gone when you get back? Gee, what a surprise.

I thought we’d learned this lesson by now? Well, I guess not. Oh well.

Tom Benjamin’s NHL Weblog: The Unforeseen

Tom Benjamin’s NHL Weblog: The Unforeseen:

Today, in the third season after the lockout that changed so many facets of the game, the NHL finds its popularity waning in three of its gold star American markets: Detroit, Dallas and Colorado…

…a disturbing trend has emerged from the myriad rule, schedule and economic changes foisted upon fans after a year without hockey. That is an erosion of three of the dominant American markets of the last decade, the collateral damage of a new economy that nobody saw coming in Dallas, Colorado and Detroit.

But it was foreseen and people did recognized the possibility of collateral damage in the three successful American markets. It was one of the dozens of possible scenarios discussed on this site during the labour dispute. Snafu – a regular contributor and Red Wing fan – considered this to be a likely result of the lockout and new CBA.

And if you ask me, it’s not even remotely proven that the CBA is the primary cause of it.

It needs to be remembered that attendance is cyclic anyway. All three of these teams are at the end of a cycle where they’ve been a dominant, successful team with marquee Hall of Fame caliber players. In Detroit, Yzerman’s gone, Hasek might as well be, Shanahan is in Detroit. In Colorado, no more Roy, no more Forsberg. In Dallas, many of the names the fans were used to are gone, and the big name, Modano, is fading rapidly to black (and was jerked around gracelessly by the team when they stripped him of the “C”).

Both Dallas and Colorado were handed shiny brand new teams already finished and competitive and winning — it was fairly easy for the fan base to buy into that, unlike a traditional expansion franchise like San Jose or Tampa or Atlanta. Those teams have never HAD down cycles where they’ve had to rebuild through youth and have a couple of down years as a result. We don’t know what the fans will do when the team is mediocre, but we’re going to find out. If you look at the history of almost every team in any sports league — that always means reduced fan interest and fewer tickets sold. That’s natural (except in Toronto, where there are simply too many fans clawing for too expensive tickets)

Also, let’s not forget that Detroit has been seriously jacking up prices over the years — and the local economy has hit a serious air pocket. They’ve finally found, the hard way, the point at which people say “love hockey, gotta pay the rent”. Dallas is in a similar situation, and let’s not forget a few years ago they moved into a new building and jacked up ticket prices in a major way when they did. When you’re challenging for a Cup every year, you can raise prices — but will the fans stay when you become merely decent?

All of this hand-wringing about these franchises ignores a lot of factors, some out of the team control (local economy), some within (arrogance towards the fans in Detroit, for instance), and the natural cycle. To blame this on the CBA is silly.

It also ignores the fact that in other cities, you’re seeing teams that were in serious down cycles show a resurgence. Look at Chicago (finally!), look at St. Louis.

Back before the current Red Wing owners bought the team, we should remember that Detroit struggled to win and struggled to sell tickets — while Chicago was a strong team with a full building. Then the Wings got a new owner who rebuilt the team and funded a better team and marketed it well, while Chicago stagnated, moved into a new building fans hated, had lousy teams and an owner that was arrogant towards its fans, and the fans ran away in droves. Now, the Wings are showing the signs of arrogance, and the new Wirtz in town seems to be a real breath of fresh air in Chicago, long needed.

It seems that Spector and Tom are arguing that a team that is good should ALWAYS be good, and the CBA should somehow be structured to support that. That would imply that the other teams in the league should always be weak; this is a variation of the “New York should always be in the playoffs to keep the networks happy” argument.

And that’s false. the CBA should be set up to allow good management to succeed in whatever market, and no CBA can prevent economic collapse in a team’s city, or save bad management from itself — unless you want to go back to a model where the rich teams could spend whatever they want to buy themselves out of mistakes, but that leads to leagues where half the league is really a minor league system for the “real” teams (ask the Kansas City Royals fans; both of them).

Spector and Tom are taking part of what is the natural life cycle of teams and blaming the CBA for what is three teams coming to the end of a nice, long run — and in the case of Detroit, shooting itself in the foot along the way with pricing in the face of a weak local economy. If the CBA is to blame for anything, it’s that it no longer allows a team like Detroit to simply buy a team, it has to now go out and build one again. At the same time, that CBA is allowing teams like Chicago and Philly and the Islanders and St. Louis and even places like Columbus and Atlanta to improve their teams and become competitive quickly.

To me, the CBA is a GOOD THING here; instead of certain teams being able to guarantee their dominance, all teams now have a chance — and that’s good, unless you want to believe in a league where six or eight teams are the “real” teams and the rest are cannon fodder. One could in fact make an argument that part of the reason this league hasn’t broken out of “regional sports” mode is because the old CBA made it hard for teams that weren’t already able to spend lots of money on teams to build teams to compete with the “powerhouses” — and now, they can, and teams like the Rangers and Red Wings aren’g going to be guaranteed playoff spots or high performing teams just because they can out-spend their peers.

Good teams in Atlanta and Columbus and St. Louis and Tampa will do wonders for growing this league, if the people who deep down inside want this league to contract and crawl back into it’s “traditional” markets of Canada and the Northeast don’t get in the way (again).

Funny thing is, Spector could have written this article five years ago about the death of the Blues, and ten years ago, his “powerhouse” Stars was actually a failing team in Minnesota and many were skeptical of the move to Dallas. And fifteen years ago, it would have been Chicago. But, of course, the real point here is to rip the CBA and Bettman, because that’s what we do. Well, they do.

As always.

Reality is — these up and downs are part of a natural cycle. Good teams stop being good, fan interest wanes. Bad owners struggle, good owners improve, and fan interest comes back. The only real difference in this CBA here is that there’s no longer a guarantee that a deep set of pockets can spend themselves out of bad management decisions, and that is something I find hard to see as a bad thing. Yes, you’re seeing weakness in some markets. But you’re also seeing growth and resurging attendance and interest in others. But mentioning that might weaken the argument, no?

Is Sean Avery good for hockey?

KuklasKorner : Hockey:

A friend of mine (not a Rangers fan) argues that—love him or hate him—Sean Avery is good for hockey in many ways. I’m not always sure, myself… but he certainly does does know how to draw a spotlight.

To a point — they’re right. “Bad boys” are a part of the league, and part of what makes the league interesting. Think about some of them in the NHL’s past:

How about Essa Tikkanen? who do you remember first? Tikkanen? Or Dino Ciccarelli? Chances are, Tikkanen comes to mind first, and he and Ciccarelli were very similar players, but very different personalities…

Claude Lemieux? Theo Fleury? How about Chris Pronger? For as good a defenseman as he is today, isn’t his prime attraction for most fans the ability to boo him? The wondering if he’s going to lose his temper (again) and if he oes, how long he’ll be suspended? Part of his attraction is that he DOES lose it, and always has.

Isn’t that “bad boy” image part of the attraction of the fighters in the league? Bob Probert, for instance.

If you think about it, some of the most famous people in the WWE are the bad boys.

The trick is to play near that line, but not step over. Sharks fans loved to hate Fleury when he came to town. Dallas fans don’t think quite so fondly of Bryan Marchment. Detroit fans (and Chris Draper) don’t send Claude Lemieux christmas cards, I bet.

But the funny thing is, I’m having trouble thinking of a guy who crossed that line on a “league wide” way in the NHL. It’s fairly easy in other sports (Michael Vick, anyone?) but in hockey, it’s tough to think of someone who simply went that sideways — and stayed in the league.

Avery’s definitely had control problems; I think Dean Lombardi did a wonderful job of reigning him in without screwing him up — and then selling him off after he was rehabilitated but before he went sideways again. If you realize that at one point, Avery was kicked off the team and banished, and most of us felt he was through and was going to be given away, that’s a stunning rehabilitation and credit goes to both Lombardi and Avery. But if you watch Avery since he’s gone to the Rangers, you also see that self-control wavering again, and I wonder if he’ll one of these days blow it big-time.

that, frankly, is one of the reasons we pay attention to him; since I’ve been talking about Gaetz the last couple of days, I think it’s the same kind of attraction. Avery is, in his way, a lot like Gaetz: we watch him not just because he’s a decent hockey player and a physical punisher, but because — if we’re honest — we’re wondering if this is the day he loses it, and what’ll happen if he does. And that edge is part of what makes his game effective, but it’s also that edge that makes him an interesting player in the game for fans, and not just another third liner with an edge.

Caps Fire Hanlon, Name Boudreau (with serious digression into Spiders and Sharks history)

Japers’ Rink: Caps Fire Hanlon, Name Boudreau Interim Head Coach:

The Washington Capitals have relieved Glen Hanlon of his coaching duties and named Bruce Boudreau the team’s interim head coach, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Congrats to Boudreau! In the word of hockey trivia you didn’t know you didn’t know, Boudreau is another of the San Francisco Spiders alumni to actually have a career after working with the team. He was originally hired as an assistant coach under Jean “that’s now how we do it in the NHL” Perron. There was some kind of falling out early, and he was “re-assigned” into a role as a roving scout. What that entailed I was never sure of, other than it seemed to require that he never actually be in the same city as the team for the entire season.

Lucky him, he missed most of the fun watching the team implode…

Yes, the coach of the Spiders for its one year of existence was Jean Perron, former coach of the Montreal Canadiens, and as far as I can tell, the only coach of an NHL hockey team to win a Stanley Cup and get fired before the next season started. His favorite phrase around the Spiders offices seemed to be “that’s now how we do it in the NHL”; to which the general response was “Jean, you’re not in the freaking NHL, or hadn’t you noticed?”

Actually, it was mostly said behind his back. He was a bit…. touchy… to work around based on our discussions with everyone who were in the offices all of the time.

Seeing Boudreau pop up into the NHL again got me thinking about the Spiders and some of the people involved with the team. I found the roster here on

The roster is this fascinating mixture of ex-sharks (trying to capitalize on the fans name recognition), career IHLers looking for one last shot, a few youngsters seeing this as a way to push their careers and some projects from the Montreal Canadiens organization that Perron convinced them to let him have.

Link Gaetz (mentioned the other day) was well on his way past his ability to play hockey at a high level, he only suited up for three games. His fight with alcohol in his life is well-known, unfortunately, alcohol kept winning. When he was with the Sharks, he as almost a prototype of the kind of player you now see in the league with Brashear or Laraque — big, bruising, tough and could actually play some pretty decent hockey. When the knuckles weren’t swollen and bleeding, he had pretty decent hands, and could have had a pretty good career. Unfortunately, off-ice he was pretty much a basket case, and when he had the car accident, that pretty much defined his life and ended any serious NHL career change; it happened around 10AM when the car he was in exited the freeway at way too high a speed and lost control. Gaetz was ejected (no seatbelt) and tried to pulp his brain on the asphalt — and almost succeeded. The accident was alcohol-related (yes, that early in the morning), but the alcohol may also have helped Gaetz survive by keeping him limp during the ejection and landing. He was passenger, not driver, by the way. There were questions at the time, given the severity of the brain damage, whether he’d walk again. He did, but his skating was never the same; by the time he was with the Spiders, he simply didn’t have the mobility any more, he was basically a “stand up and swing” type of guy like Dave Brown.

I normally don’t link to fight videos but this one *is* the Linkster; a classic bout between him and Probert at the Cow Palace. Look very closely as Link exits the arena at the end of the clip, and you’ll see Laurie and myself — our seats were right next to the team tunnel.

The stories about Link in San Jose are legion — no other player was such a fan favorite in the early days, or so legendary, and while much of what you hear through the fan grapevine on most players is bullshit, with the Linkster, you could see it happening. It’s not unusual for some players to get a rep for howling at the moon a bit, but Link had the reputation for climbing trees to try to beat the moon up because it was staring at him… The only other player with the Sharks that had that kind of “did you hear what he did this time?” rep among the fan rumor mill was Brent Myhres…

Linkster only played 3 games for the Spiders — and had 38 PIM. That pretty much sums it up.

Sandis Ozolinsh also played for the Spiders; it was the year after the lockout that the Spiders came into existence, and Sandis was holding out for a new contract. He played two games for the team, and scored the first goal in franchise history — then signed a contract with the Sharks, drove south 90 minutes, and suited up in teal again, and scored the Sharks first goal of that season. That’s probably a record that won’t be matched soon…

Other ex-sharks? Dale Craigwell, who was a really promising center for the team early on, until he broke his ankle badly; his major asset was speed, it never fully recovered, and he ended up with the Spiders and played admirably, but he’s another player that injuries hurt a promising career.

Also on the team — Robin Bawa, who also played for the Ducks, and was one of my favorite early Sharks. Not the most talented guy, but was willing to do whatever it took, including fight, although he wasn’t particularly good at it. The kind of lunchbox/character guy teams need. David Maley, who played for the team primarily because he was trying to start up a hockey business in San Jose and wanted the publicity. He’s now a Shark part-time broadcaster when Jamie Baker isn’t in town, and his Rollin’ Ice is doing just fine.

Ed Courtenay was most notable for his lack of speed. One of the most infamous calls in hockey was by Dennis Hull (who did color for the Sharks early on…) when a puck kicked free and Randy Hahn called out “It’s a breakaway!” and Hull responded “No, it’s Courtenay!” — and he was right. He got caught. But Courtenay had a good minor league career, and was closing it out with the Spiders.

Mike Lalor was another guy who wandered through San Jose for a bit, then came back with the Spiders until the Dallas Stars took him on. And Jeff Madill was a Sharks cup of coffee and minor leaguer who came and played for the Spiders. He was one of the team’s clothes-hounds (along with Ian Boyce), and would have given Drew a run for “best dressed” most of the time. He was also the one player who not only was very aware of the photographers around the rink, but would smooth the wrinkles out of his jersey before a faceoff if he thought someone was going to take photos. Seriously. Martha Jenkins (SF Chronicle, SF Giants) was the official team photographer (and hockey seriously scared the crap out of her, I’m not sure she ever got comfortable being inside the glass shooting — don’t blame her, either), but Laurie and I had full press passes, and she did a lot of photography as well — so she got very familiar with Madill’s ability to get in a picture and get out the wrinkles…

Madill finally retired, and last we heard, was selling cars somewhere in the midwest. Good, solid minor league hockey player, and I’ll bet his suits still have no wrinkles….

And that’s probably enough for now, but since I mentioned Laurie’s photography, it means I probably need to write about how she ended up scouting goalies for Ian Boyce, and the night Dan Shank tried to pick her up — while the game was going on.

Ah, the joys of minor league hockey…

On the Ethics of Citizen Photo Journalism

Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection: On the Ethics of Citizen Photo Journalism:

I took a photo of the guy crushed under the train but it was pretty gruesome. I’m not sure why I took a photo of the incident other than it was just sort of a gut reaction to shoot anything that possibly could be citizen journalism with my camera.

I was pretty freaked out seeing the guy under the train. Afterwards I thought about publishing the photograph but questioned the journalistic integrity of that. Surely this guy must have family right? And why add to the ugliness in the world by publishing something so terrible. I contacted my friend John Curley who was an editor at the Chronicle for many years and now teaches at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism to ask his opinion. John got back with me and said that the Chronicle would not print such a photograph and so that confirmed what I was feeling and I chose not to publish the photo.

And here’s one of those times when the right thing happened…

John Curley is right here. Way back in the ancient days, when my dad owned the newspaper, he wasn’t just owner, editor and publisher, but one of the photographers. He’d get the late night calls at times and go out to places where things had happened. Sometimes I’d tag along. A few times, when they were out, I’d get out there myself (an interesting situation, showing up at a fatal car crash at 10PM with a camera and press pass — at age 8, with a driver).

In these situations, sensitivity is paramount. You can (and need to) get the story over, but you need to be sensitive to the victim and family, but you ALSO need to be sensitive to your audience. In the case I noted above, it was a car hitting a pedestrian fatality. Not exactly a place for an 8 year old, normally. The photo that ran — was of the damage to the windshield of the car.

You don’t need to get graphic to tell the story. And you can tell the story and still be sensitive to those that the story affects, if you keep in mind the people involved, and not just think about getting the photo.

Sometimes, there are bigger issues than getting the shot.

The Best Thing to Do as a Photographer is to Stick Up for Your Rights

Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection: The Best Thing to Do as a Photographer is to Stick Up for Your Rights:

It takes guts to take a photo of someone when they are pushing themselves on you and stepping all over your rights, but I’m glad Jeremy took the photo above. It helps to get the message out and make the guy above look like an ass. I’m not sure where this is but if I see the same store in my travels out walking I’ll be sure and stop by to shoot a bit there myself.

People like the guy above need to learn that they can’t hassle photographers for doing what is their right to do. And they don’t learn this lesson because 95% of the time people just acquiesce and give into authority that they assume but don’t actually hold.

Here’s a place where I disagree with Thomas Hawk, and I feel he’s doing photography a disservice.

it’s not that he doesn’t have a right to take a photograph; it’s that the subject he’s photographing also has rights here, too, and this is one of those classic cases where rights are in conflict and some judgement needs to be taken to balance those rights.

When Thomas goes up against some corporate dweeb telling him not to take a picture of a building? I’m fully behind him. I think that kind of corporate control is stupid and out of line. But taking a picture of someone who doesn’t want their picture taken? What about his rights to not be hassled, to some privacy, to having some choice here?

Where does this stop? The person in question isn’t part of a news story, so there’s no journalistic “inform the public”. There’s no way any legitimate publishing concern would accept the photo without a model release — and there won’t be one, obviously. It’s not a public figure, so you can’t even make the claims of the paparrazi that the person is in the public interest. This is just, well, because someone wanted to. Even though that person said no.

So, if you can take a picture of someone against their will, where do we draw the line? if Thomas leaves his blinds up, is it okay to take a picture of him through his window while he’s in the shower? Can I start taking pictures of children in the park, even if their parents don’t want me to? How about hidden cameras in store dressing rooms? If the person’s right to privacy doesn’t matter, and if their permission (or revocation of permission) is meaningless, just how far are you willing to go before you start thinking that maybe the subject SHOULD be able to say no?

Frankly, Thomas’ position here is why there are arguments for more restriction, because he’s so focussed on what he CAN do that he’s forgotten the rest of it: whether he should. And they’re very different things. He’s merely thinking of the legalities and what he wants — given there are multiple people involved, waht the OTHER person wants needs to come into play, too.

And since there’s no reason to take this picture (other than “because I can and you can’t stop me”) — no public figure aspect, no journalistic aspect to the picture — there’s no reason to take this picture without the subject’s permission other than ego. And that’s a lousy reason to take it.

Can he take this shot? Sure (and his subject can try to make him eat his camera, too). but should he?

If you ask me, no. A person has a right to NOT be turned into a public event, to not have his picture taken. And I have trouble when people get into a mode of “you can’t keep me from my rights, but I’m going to ignore yours”. Winning in life is doing what is right, not legal, and about finding the appropriate compromises between conflicting sets of rights, not simply demanding your own and denying others.

So in these cases, by demanding their rights, thomas and those like him are doing wrong, for the wrong reasons.