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Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management. Photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and nature who is exploring the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found.
Author and Blogger. They are not the same thing. Sports occasionally spoken here, especially hockey. Veteran of Sun, Apple, Palm, HP and now Infoblox, plus some you've never heard of. They didn't kill me, they made me better.
Person with opinions, and not afraid to share them. Debate team in high school and college; bet that's a surprise.
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Yearly Archives: 2008
The Man Who Would Buy Apple;But Sun’s Chief, Scott McNealy, Probably Won’t Be Caught Overpaying – New York Times
The Man Who Would Buy Apple;But Sun’s Chief, Scott McNealy, Probably Won’t Be Caught Overpaying – New York Times:
In the last week, Mr. McNealy’s tightwad tendencies have become painfully apparent to the top management of Apple Computer Inc. After months of discussion, Sun proposed an acquisition of Apple last Tuesday in an exchange of shares that would value Apple at $23 a share, according to executives familiar with the talks. That is well below the recent price of Apple shares, which have traded around $30.
Even at a higher reported bid of $33 a share, Sun, by the standards of most takeover deals, would be offering Apple a fire-sale price. Last June, Apple’s stock traded at more than $50 a share, though that was well before the Cupertino, Calif., computer maker announced its recent losses and layoffs.
For his part, Mr. McNealy has declined to confirm or deny that his company is talking to Apple at all. In an interview on Friday afternoon, Mr. McNealy insisted that any discussion of Apple was off-limits.
Fascinating blast from the past, good old 1996. I remember those layoffs well, they were truly painful (and in fact, I was on the layoff list at one time, and talked my manager into not laying me off. I still wonder if that was a smart idea or a stupid one, but I don’t regret it, because shortly after that, the severance package was changed and a layoff later would have cost me at least $30K from the previous package. A moot point, but.. And by staying with Apple, we were able to nurture and grow the mail list system that became lists.apple.com, which led to all of the other email stuff I built for them.
The joy of stringing together decisions. A decision made by Bob Fair in the Apple Business Systems unit in the 90′s made possible Apple being able to do New Music Tuesday and move much of their marketing and customer communication online in the 2000′s. Go figure.
But that’s not what I was posting this about (but heck, why not? old pharts get to remember the Good Old Days, although calling Apple in the mid-90′s “good” is a farce)…
More interesting to most of you might be this: I’ve heard, from various people I trust, that there was one key reason why this deal didn’t go through: Michael Spindler. It wasn’t the stock price, it was that Spindler was demanding a seat on Sun’s board as part of the deal, and McNealy simply wouldn’t allow it (good call, Scott!). That was the rumored reason why the Apple to Sony deal was scotched, too. Spindler was so intent on making sure he got taken care of he scotched the deal.
In retrospect, thank god. At the time, I was praying for the Sun deal to go through. Huge respect for McNealy — very few execs have been able to do what he did and have the run he had with Sun, and he might have been able to do interesting things if he’d gotten his hands on Apple technology. Not as interesting as Steve did when he came back. Stop and think for a minute just how different Silicon Valley — and our world — would be today if the Sun deal had gone through.
Not worse. Not better. But definitely different.
(and of course, I should probably remind folks that before my stint at Apple, I did four years at Sun. Employee 1200ish, still have my lucite block they handed out the day they went public in my office at home. Damn, I’m old…. And hopefully, Scott’s forgiven me for that little tstech oopsie by now…)
(hat tip: Daring Fireball for the pointer)
(Update: already been asked the “how would you know that?” question. Fair question, fair answer: I used to work out at the gym with someone who used to do aerobics regularly with the women in charge of making sure Herr Spindler got to his meetings on time and in clean shirts and at least somewhat briefed on what the meeting was about. There were three of them, they were not huge fans of Spindler (to put it mildly), and later on, some of the more interesting gossip would be re-gossiped around the bench press… Take that source for however you value it…)
Apple has complete control over the App Store and its component parts. I’ve bemoaned this control in the past, but it could easily be used to benefit developers and customers alike. Hopefully, as the App Store continues to mature, Apple will consider making it possible for developers to offer free trial versions of their software.
A number of developers are, in fact, already doing this.
They’re doing it by issuing both a “light” or “limited” version of the App for free, and then encouraging you to upgrade to the full, paid version.
(and am wasting a number of evenings with it right now…. highly recommended, if you don’t want a life)
So you can do this today, at least with some classes of Apps, and I’m not sure just how much a formal “trial version” set up might help the cause here; I don’t think it’ll make developer’s lives easier, in any event.
It’s not as convenience at the Xbox 360 marketplace download&activate model, but it’s actually workable and practical today.
With even more media attention on Apple and the rumors surrounding the latest release, more sites have gone out of their way to call out those who got things wrong. While this has given an opportunity for some to say that you shouldn’t listen rumors at all, I think it just goes to show that sources matter and not all rumors are created equal.
Amused to see referrers into my blog from MacRumor.com. turns out, they took a shot at me (not surprising).
The link to my posting was in this phrase: While this has given an opportunity for some to say that you shouldn’t listen rumors at all, which, while I was fairly critical of the rumor sites (with justification, since THEY WERE WRONG ABOUT KEY DETAILS AGAIN), that’s not at all what I said. What I said was this:
Chuqui 3.0: Thoughts on the new Macbooks — and the circus that preceded them…:
It’s not that you shouldn’t read the sites; they have their purpose. Just don’t take them so damn seriously.
So yes, Macrumors, sources matter and not all rumors are created equal, but accuracy matters even more, and if Macrumors can mis-interpret (or mis-spin, or simply misrepresent blatantly, choose your poison) such a clear and straightforward statement, well, doesn’t that call into question the accuracy of anything else they say?
Which is, in long form, the answer to the question “gee, Chuq, why do you read AppleInsider and not MacRumors?” — and why, if you feel the need to follow a rumor site, you ought to follow AppleInsider.
While I have my issues with AppleInsider as well (honestly, I get really tired of them writing in that “I am speaking in my adult journalist voice, so you must take me seriously”), they pretty much get what they exist for. And that authorial voice I really blame on a bunch of fan geeks growing up reading Mac the Knife in MacWeek. Gah.
Now that everyone has fallen quiet in the post-announce exhaustion of the masses….
Chuqui 3.0: Apple releases MacBook, MacBook Pro Software Update 1.2:
Chuck, I would be very interested in your opinion on Apple leaving the Firewireport out on the new MacBook. As for many others (see the forums) it is a no-buy for me. It almost feels like a slap in the face.
The answer here is pretty simple to me: USB 2.0 won the connectivity fight in the lower end of the market. Note also that the MacBook Pro now only has a single Firewire 800 port; Firewire 400 is now gone.
the implication to me is clear: low-end, the future is USB. If you want high end performance, there’s still Firewire. Although I wonder if we’ll see that move to eSATA or something down the road. That seems to make sense.
I’ll also note for the record that I started making sure all of my bus-powered drives had USB capability as well as firewire months ago. The writing was on the wall if you knew where to look (and where to look is the PC market, where firewire has lost out to USB).
Yes, USB 2.0 is slower. If performance is really that important, Apple’s telling you that the Macbook isn’t what you want. it is, after all, a large series of performance compromises for a hunk less money than a MacBook Pro.
Doesn’t surprise me a bit. I think this is the right move for Apple.
So, my thoughts overall?
I like the new machines. I’m amused at some of the “God, more expensive!” whines… The reality is that from a pure price/performance basis, the new Macbook has equivalent performance (including in video, where macbooks really lagged) to the macBook Pro I have that’s now about 2.5 years old; same performance, about half the cost, and we’re not even getting into the new features, like the new (nifty, I think) trackpad and the LED-backed monitor. The new Macbook pros just plain old toss my current one against the wall.
Too many of the fan geeks get so focussed on price, especially “low price”, especially “I want it for free, diamond encrusted, so I can complain about how slow it is”.
The fact is, and has been, and will be: Apple isn’t about price. It’s about VALUE. You don’t see BMW issuing cars that compete with Kia on price. But for some reason, some folks think Apple should compete with windows-PC’s on price, and are constantly surprised when they don’t.
Could Apple sell a box at $800? Sure. Would they sell a billion? Probably?
Would that $800 computer have the same margins that the $1200 ones do? Of course not. And would an $800 computer cannibalize more expensive computers? Absolutely.
So the end result of an $800 computer? Higher units, reduced margins, lower profit per computer, and a shift away from the higher margin computers. Sometimes, the “cut the profit, make it up in volume” idea makes sense, but the reality is, every time Apple’s tried it, it’s been a disaster (Performa, anyone?); they will sell every computer they can make at the existing price points; could they really scale up to 2X unit volumes to handle demand for a less expensive unit? Maybe.
Would Apple selling an $800 computer be more profitable than Apple is now? Doubtful. And it’s not about selling units (not directly), it’s about making money.
Of course, and this is something the fan geeks keep forgetting, Apple is doing BOTH: unit volumes continue to scale, market share continues to go up, and Apple is making really nice profits. If it ain’t broke…
Will I buy one of the new machines? Probably, but not right away. Other priorities; they’re nice machines, but I stopped with the “gotta haves”. Heck, I was the last person in the universe to own an iPhone, far as I can tell… But I’d much rather spend my money on upgrading the laptop than upgrading to CS4 and paying the Adobe tax (but that’s a different whine…)
If I were to buy one, would it be a Macbook or Macbook pro? I’m honestly undecided. the new Macbooks look powerful enough to keep me happy, even in Bridge and CS4 and doing all of that photo geeking. The smaller screen, I’m not so sure about. Lack of firewire is a bit inconvenient, but only a bit; I’ve been seeing USB coming for a while and setting up my stuff so I can plug things into either as they exist. I’ve yet to use the cardbus, so I don’t miss that at all. And I don’t know yet whether I’ll want the more powerful video. So it comes down to “less money” vs “bigger screen” and “faster video”. and I don’t have a good sense of how I’ll factor those when I’m ready to buy.
But yeah, I expect to buy one of these. One of these days.
As to the rumors leading up to all of this, basically, John Gruber says what I would have said, only better…
Jackass of the week honors go to Duncan Riley at Inquisitr, who a week ago launched the “$800 laptop from Apple” rumor. Worse than merely printing a bogus rumor, today he’s pointing to the new 24-inch LED Cinema Display as proof that he was somehow right.
If you look at where the rumors came from, there are two main leakers: the asian companies doing the contract manufacturing, and the retail sites once things start hitting their inventory systems. I find it interesting that a rumor popped up (and then disappeared) that Apple was going back to in-house manufacturing; the only reason to consider that is better leak management. Stay tuned, this may be something it’s working on, and if so, the fact that the brick stuff leaked so enthusiastically and so accurately might well get Apple to think in that direction.
And the retail? That’s where the rumor geeks blew it. When pricing info started leaking (from, it seems, tech geeks at Best Buy, as far as I can tell), they saw the $899 price point and blithely went running off into the swamp yelling NETBOOK! NETBOOK! not stopping to think maybe that product wasn’t a computer… oops.
and since that was really the focus of so much of the hype of the rumormongering, even though a lot of the details on the machines and the new manufacturing process were right — you have to give much of this round of rumoring a big, fat FAIL, because that was what everyone was yelling about, and they were wrong. A fact they’ll conveniently forget to remind you on.
(me? I got the blu-ray thing right, I wasn’t convinced “brick” was the new process, but maybe something else — and I wasn’t so good there. mostly I kept my mouth shut, because I find all of this rumoring silly, because too many of these “experts” take half a fact and run off into the swamp with it, and people blindly believe them, and then blame Apple when it doesn’t happen.)
These rumor sites are like the psychics that do new year predictions — lots of froth, little substance, if they get something right, they scream from the rooftops, and all the stuff they get wrong, they hope you forget. It’s not that you shouldn’t read the sites; they have their purpose. Just don’t take them so damn seriously. (heck, it’s not just you, the morning of the announcement, a CNET editor on KGO was talking about how he was expecting a $799 macbook, and how Apple was in trouble if they didn’t. Talk about not getting it — by then, even the rumor sites had things under better control than that. But then, I’ll read AppleInsider before I read CNET…)
Now, for some of the other coverage:
Is Steve Jobs Preparing His Farewell?
Steve Jobs is leaving Apple. Not tomorrow, but probably very soon. That’s why he started to say good bye today,
Nope. Thanks for playing. Daring Fireball got it right here. Steve IS reacting to the “Without Steve, Apple is nothing” crowd by bringing forward people that will be part of the future of Apple — but this is the beginning of a long process of transition, not anything happening soon. I think there’s still so much Steve wants to accomplish, he’s just getting going!
Don’t you find it interesting that at a time when Apple’s stock price was going into the toilet (like everyone else’s), a rumour emerged about low-priced MacBooks? A rumour which analysts picked up on, and which thus protected Apple’s share price from falling any further at a vulnerable time.
And now it seems that rumour was not necessarily true, but as the whole market has gone up it doesn’t matter half as much.
So here’s the question: Who would benefit from a rumour like that being spread at that particular time? Someone started that rumour, after all…
The problem is it’s not a single-variable problem. The big players in the rumors aren’t people trying to profit from them (as in stock or investments), but i other things, like advertising/pageviews, or ego/reputation and geek cred. The rumor sites and other geeks falling over each other to out rumor each other aren’t trying to manipulate the stock as much as tehy’re trying to drive traffic or get people to pay attention to them (hello, Jason Calcanis! FAIL).
And here’s what I think is the best summary I’ve read:
There were some significant price decreases in today’s announcements, but they generally amount to reflections of the normal, continuing advance of technology, and not a decision by Apple to play in new markets. For example, the $1300 model of the MacBook now has an instant-on backlit display and a fast graphics processor – which yesterday you would have had to pay $2000 to get in the MacBook Pro line. And at the high end of the line, there’s a $2500 machine with 4GB of RAM, dual graphics chips including one with 512MB, and a 320GB hard drive – more power than you could have gotten in any Apple laptop before this.
Despite the fantasies of low-price MacBooks, it seems pretty clear that Apple knows its core audience well. Some of the statistics that came out at the event include that Apple sells more notebooks in education than Dell does (with 39% of the market), and that Mac sales have outgrown those of the industry for 14 of the last 15 quarters.
Clay Shirky is at it again. Go read the whole thing, it’s awesome.
n the Seventies — this is a pattern that’s shown up on the network over and over again — in the Seventies, a BBS called Communitree launched, one of the very early dial-up BBSes. This was launched when people didn’t own computers, institutions owned computers.
Communitree was founded on the principles of open access and free dialogue. “Communitree” — the name just says “California in the Seventies.” And the notion was, effectively, throw off structure and new and beautiful patterns will arise.
And, indeed, as anyone who has put discussion software into groups that were previously disconnected has seen, that does happen. Incredible things happen. The early days of Echo, the early days of usenet, the early days of Lucasfilms Habitat, over and over again, you see all this incredible upwelling of people who suddenly are connected in ways they weren’t before.
And then, as time sets in, difficulties emerge. In this case, one of the difficulties was occasioned by the fact that one of the institutions that got hold of some modems was a high school. And who, in 1978, was hanging out in the room with the computer and the modems in it, but the boys of that high school. And the boys weren’t terribly interested in sophisticated adult conversation. They were interested in fart jokes. They were interested in salacious talk. They were interested in running amok and posting four-letter words and nyah-nyah-nyah, all over the bulletin board.
And the adults who had set up Communitree were horrified, and overrun by these students. The place that was founded on open access had too much open access, too much openness. They couldn’t defend themselves against their own users. The place that was founded on free speech had too much freedom. They had no way of saying “No, that’s not the kind of free speech we meant.”
But that was a requirement. In order to defend themselves against being overrun, that was something that they needed to have that they didn’t have, and as a result, they simply shut the site down.
Now you could ask whether or not the founders’ inability to defend themselves from this onslaught, from being overrun, was a technical or a social problem. Did the software not allow the problem to be solved? Or was it the social configuration of the group that founded it, where they simply couldn’t stomach the idea of adding censorship to protect their system. But in a way, it doesn’t matter, because technical and social issues are deeply intertwined. There’s no way to completely separate them.
What matters is, a group designed this and then was unable, in the context they’d set up, partly a technical and partly a social context, to save it from this attack from within. And attack from within is what matters. Communitree wasn’t shut down by people trying to crash or syn-flood the server. It was shut down by people logging in and posting, which is what the system was designed to allow
This is a classic pattern that we re-invent on the internet time and time again:
First, we think of whatever we build as something new and revolutionary (which it may well be), and therefore we can ignore past history because it’s not relevant to what we’re doing (which is invariably wrong).
Second, we start using it with a small set of people who generally have a common set of goals and ambitions, so “can’t we all just get along” works. For a while.
Then, if the technology is useful and proves out, the user base expands. the more it expands, the more it gets used by people who’s goals and ambitions are different from the original core group, and the conflicts of “what’s appropriate” starts. How well a system scales is more dependent on how well it allows for these divergent uses than how well the technology can handle the load. the more these conflicts stand in the faces of the users, the more likely the system will fall over and die.
This is really the ultimate failing of mailing lists, because the only way to scale mailing lists across these conflicts of “what this list is about” is to create more mailing lists for each diverging sub-population, and once you split the group up enough ways into enough shards, it loses all context among shards and it’s no longer a community (if it ever way). the only way a mailing list scales and survives is to get seriously anal about focussing content on the tightest definition of “acceptable” for the community and limiting side chat, which is a serious limiter of building community among the users.
At some point, the freakers and trolls move in, because there’s a section of society that gets off on destroy stuff other people build. If you don’t plan for this, when they move in, you die.
And yet, with decades of repeating these mistakes under our belts, we keep re-inventing systems that don’t deal with these problems up front. USENET’s lack of any authority system. non-verified SMTP. Wiki’s without authentication. Anonymous blog comments. non-validated trackbacks. The list goes on. We end up wasting huge numbers of resources trying to backpatch solutions instead of designing them in up front.
And we probably will continue to. sigh.
To me, it ends up to a few simple rules:
Anonymity bad. The net mixes these things up pretty badly. Anonymity implies there’s no way to know who you are, so there’s no way to police or manage your actions. Reality: for every person with a legitimate need for Anonymity, there’s 99 hackers, trolls and freakers taking advantage of the system to frack things up.
Pseudonymity good. No Anonymity doesn’t imply full disclosure. It’s not about knowing who you are, it’s about being able to know that YOU ARE YOU, so that if what you do is unacceptable, it can be policed. And yes, it means that some people (site admins) need to have some identifying info about you, but it can be implied identification, maybe as little as an email address or an IP address. Enough to give them a handle to enforce rules, although obviously, a really motivated troll will make any admin grumpy in any online system, if they want to. Fortunately, those types are fairly rare.
Always authenticate. Every village needs walls and gates, because if you don’t have them, when the vikings arrive up the river, they WILL burn the village. Even with walls and gates, they may still burn the village, but if you don’t do the basics, you dn’t have a chance. And they will arrive, someday. In my experience, usually at 2AM when you’re on deadline before vacation…
You need authority. Anarchy is a nice theory, but if you don’t set rules, when people push beyond what’s acceptable for the group, you have problems putting the genie back in the bottle. The middle of a crisis is a lousy time to try to build consensus on where to draw the lines.
You need police. Even if they spend 99.9% of the time in the donut shop drinking coffee (and in a good community, they will, because it self-polices well) that over .1% of the time, they can mean the difference between losing the community over a conflict.
But beware of self-appointed police. There will be people who will want to define things in terms of what they want instead of what the community at large wants, and will enforce their personal rules on the community if you let them. Don’t let them.
Enable the quiet voices. Most of the material created within a community is from a very small percentage of the user base. Look for ways to find those “quiet voices” that get crowded out of the mosh pit and enable them to contribute. It’s well worth it. Not everyone wants to be part of the loud and noisy group that loves the fight to be heard — and many times, those quieter voices will be your most interesting contributors, if you get them involved.
Beware the squeaky wheel. Just because there are some folks loudly complaining about something doesn’t mean they speak for the community in general. It’s key to understand these complaints in the larger context of the entire group. For me, a classic example of this is “reply-to” on mail lists. If you didn’t set it, there were always a couple of people loudly whining that it was the One True Way of setting up mailing lists, and they hated taking no for an answer. In reality, every time I did a survey of the ENTIRE mailing list population, I found — invariably — that the vast majority (80% or so) simply didn’t care either way, and of the ones that did, the “pro reply-to” group was the minority. I did this survey maybe a dozen times over the years, and got the same result on every list despite wildly divergent populations (from geek to sports fan to skiffy fan). the pro reply-to people hated this, because, of course, they knew better than the entire list population what was good for them….
I always saw the communities I built as community bars where people of similar interests congregate, in fact, I liked to promote the mailing lists not as “a place to talk about the San Jose Sharks” as much as “A place for Sharks fans to talk about stuff”. you’d never walk into a sports bar and get told to shut up if you tried to talk about something other than sports, for instance, but online, that’s fairly common — but in the side chatter is where the friendships and community building happen.
As an admin, don’t be afraid to let a group self-police. Probably the hardest lesson I ever learned. But having said that, the key to being a successful admin is knowing when to step in, and doing so decisively when necessary. Lots of admins (and the most active members of the mosh pits of the community) like to think they can just let the group figure it out; the reality there is that the loud and noisy and the trolls and freakers will drive out everyone else, and then all you have left are noisy freakers and trolls.
If you don’t police it, you’ll end up with that friendly community sports bar being turned into a biker bar by the bikers — at which time the people you built the thing for will all run off and find some other place to watch sports and chatter. Is that really what you wanted to run? a biker bar? Maybe, but not me.
Of course, the bikers always hated that… funny, that.
A couple of days late to the game here, but I hadn’t done as much study of the east in pre-season, so I needed to get that done first…
Pittsburgh Penguins (1) (but the atlantic’s the tough conference in the east)
Montreal Canadiens (2) — I really like this team this year.
Washington Capitals (3) — I really, really like this team this year.
Philadelphia Flyers(4) — good, solid team in a tough division
New Jersey Devils (5) — will be a playoff lock for me until Brodeur proves me wrong.
on the bubble:
New York Rangers (6) — on the bubble because four teams out of the atlantic is going to be tough.
Buffalo Sabres (7) — I like a lot of things about this team, but it’s not really proven itself yet
Boston Bruins(8) — my bet for “I underestimated how good they were” for this season.
Carolina Hurricanes(9) — my bet for “could make the playoffs by beating up on a weak division”
Ottawa Senators(10) — have they put last season behind them? do they have real goaltending? I’m not convinced.
Florida Panthers (11) — best team attribute: finding a way to not make the playoffs. Not convinced anything’s changed.
Tampa Bay Lightning (12) — new lightning management and coach: circus or genius? I’m betting circus.
Toronto Maple Leafs (13) — when you get down to it, a pretty sucky team. Best wishes to Ron Wilson, he’ll need them.
Atlanta Thrashers (14) — not going anywhere this year.
New York Islanders (14) — if they go anywhere this year, it’ll be in reverse.
my choice out of the west, Montreal or Pittsburgh. I’ll take Montreal. Both teams ought to keep an eye over their shoulder for the capitals, though. The east should be fun to watch this year.
My choice for Stanley Cup champ — San Jose over Montreal.
I started a project in February reprocessing my entire library, re-evalluating image quality, and retiring photos I now see as sub-standard. It ended up taking about four months to go through the entire library.
I recommend the process to anyone trying to improve their photography, although it hasn’t always been fun. As I’ve been going through things and moving backwards, I’ve been deleting out the older images from flickr and uploading the new versions. I ended up with about 1,400 images that I felt were “flickr worthy”, where before my flickr library was around 4,000 images. that implies that about 65% of the library got “retired” — images that at one point I felt were okay, but which weren’t good enough for me to want my name attached to them in public now.
For photographers trying to improve their eye and their technique, I think this is useful as a way to judge how you’re progressing the “man, I thought that was good!” is sometimes a real eye opener. So is seeing which photos are salvageable and which are buckets of bits.
I’m a LOT happier with my image quality these days (but I still have work to do). If nothing else, this exercise has given me some insight on when to not even bother taking shots because they won’t work, and as a side effect, when to get my butt in gear and push for a better angle or better lighting. It’s also caused me to work a lot harder on catching the image properly IN the camera; you really can’t fix bad lighting or bad exposure in photoshop, just minimize the damage.
Beyond the simple “I don’t want that with my name on it” aspect, and the “I’ve learned a lot about image quality and all my images should reflect it” aspect, a third reason I’m doing this is Creative Commons; until January I uploaded my flickr photos under a creative commons license. For various reasons I stopped doing that. Since I wanted to reprocess anyway, by doing so and reuploading, not only can there be no confusion about which version of an image is CC and which isn’t (anyone who acquired an image prior to my license change can continue to use it under that license), but if it ever gets to Big Fight stage over an image, there won’t be any ambiguity over the license AND the image itself will have been redone so that the internal bits can be used to prove which version was downloaded and used. Not that I expect to get there, but it’s a nice bonus. I can prove, technically, that an image was NOT ever covered by CC, even if an earlier version of it was.
And honestly? Given what’s been going on the last year or so in life, being able to just sit at the computer and photoshop stuff was a really nice sanity hook and a way to keep busy without having to really expend too much brainpower or energy, and at times, the photography really kept me moving forward when I was just ready to crawl in a hole…
Some nice and sane words about backups and photography.
I think one reason we tend to save everything is because we’re still new to this, we don’t really have a historical roadmap on what to keep and what not to keep. And because it’s so “easy” to keep everything, we do, even though in reality, the logistics of finding stuff later gets so complicated that in many cases the images might as well not exist.
Of course, this isn’t a new problem. I know people who kept every negative, every print, every scrap of paper. And yeah, it’s not much better than throwing it all out, someone has to go through it some day. It’s one reason I’m trying to become more thorough, rigorous and complete in my meta-data and editing, to save someone else the choice of plowing through things for the gems or throwing it away…
In a moment, I’m going to go over my backup strategy, but before we even get there, I honestly think I might be backing up too much. Here’s what made me start thinking like that. Terry recently did a portrait shoot where he took 710 photos during the shoot. His subject reviewed the images in Lightroom, and choose the shots she liked (around 70 initially, then she narrowed it down to her favorite 5 or 6). Then Terry picked his favorites, and he chose 5 or 6.
So, what do we all do next? That’s right, we back up all 710 photos, even though the subject has already said, “I only like these 70.” She looked at them all, told the photographer straight up, “I don’t want any of the other 640 images” but we back them all up anyway. Now, Terry asked me, “What are the chances that she is going to come back some time in the future and ask for one of the ones she didn’t like? Right. Slim to none. Yet, we still store ‘em, and watch them eat up our drive space, and add more complexity to our file management. Like Terry says, “Those 640 images are never going to see the light of day. I don’t have any use for them. She doesn’t have any use for them, but I’m backing ‘em up anyway. Why?”
In my case, I break things down into three categories: keepers, okay, and dings.
Dings get thrown away; no reason to keep a bad photo, period. Of course, sometimes you have to slow down and realize that it may not be what you intended, but it’s not a ding. On the other hand, if you do throw it out, would anyone really care? just to keep it in perspective
My keepers (basically, stuff I rate 3 stars or better) end up in my primary and end up backed up in six different places (no, seriously: my primary hard drive, my time machine OS X backup, two different bootable backups via SuperDuper!, one on my Time Machine disk, one on a bus powered firewire drive I carry on trips, and on S3 as my catastrophic backup). The Time Machine and SuperDuper backups to that drive are automatic, the one to the bus powered is manual and I generally update it weekly.
that would be the “70″ photos in the group above, FWIW. the other 640 images go into a secondary firewire drive. In my scheme, they get backed up to the Time Machine disk, so they’re in two places. At some point, that’ll change, and I’ll shift that to cloning them to a 2nd drive stored offsite.
my Time Machine disks get cloned about every 4-6 six weeks, and those clones are stored offsite.
In my current evaluation scheme (which keeps changing), that 640 images would be split into 1-star and 2-star ratings. 1-star are “perfectly okay but not interesting or boring” images; nothing wrong except they don’t really work, and 2-star, which are images that on later edits of the 3 star, “lose out” to better, similar images.
For a recent shoot at Yellowstone, for instance, I took something like 150 images of Old Faithful during an eruption. throw out 20 as technical dings (“autofocus wigged”, “damn thumb in the way again”). 70 got into the 1-star folder. 60 go into the 3 star folder. When I re-edit the 3-star, I’ll end up tossing 40 or 45 of them down to 2-stars as being too similar to other photos to be worth dealing with further, leaving me with, say, 15 photos in my “primary set”. (for those curious, 4-star and 5-star ratings don’t happen here, they exist as subsets of “best of” and “killer” photos that I deal with later in the workflow.
But then Terry brought up a good point—how often do you really need 20GB for one client (or for one wedding)? He pointed me to an 8GB USB Flash drive, for only $29. If you only need 4GB of storage, you can get one for just $13.95. Heck, you might as well get two, and have two back-ups that hardly take any space at all. You could put them in a tiny zip-lock bag and staple them to your copy of the contract for the shoot. This changes the whole situation pretty dramatically; now its not eating up your main storage; you’re off-loading the finished job to USB drive (or external hard drive) dedicated to that shoot (and paid for by the client).
Mistake. those aren’t archival. You could well go back in 2 years and not be able to read some of the data. or any of it. This is just asking for problems. (you might want to burn an archival DVD for a baggie for the contract, but I wouldn’t build my library around this).
Instead, My process is that about once a year, I buy a new hard drive (500 gigs, good quality, USB 2.0 — about $150), copy my libraries out to it. That stays in my home as backup. The previous year’s version (reformatted and refreshed to the current data) goes offsite. The N-2 version gets reformatted and used for something non-archival. More convenient AND cheaper with greater storage than a dozen of those non-archival flash drives, and every year the files get copied to a fresh drive and fresh media to minimze the chances of being unreadable or alpha particles or whatever. And if something comes along and replaces USB and/or hard drives, then for the annual refresh, the copy is to that new media/technology, thus avoiding the “damn, I have nothing that reads 9track tapes” problem. Or at least minimizing it. An annual refresh might take two or three evenings for a large library, but it’s maintenance well worth scheduling and budgeting for.
Ultimately my collection will get large enough to span multiple drives, even really big ones, but this plan scales pretty well, and at some point, I’ll actually decide I don’t need those 1 star images any more and trash them; but for now, they’re there, just in case. But not clogging up my main workflow, because that isn’t time or cost effective, adn slows down my “real” work…
Former Engadget editor Ryan Block more or less wonders the same thing in asking if the time is really right for Apple to be launching new expensive laptops. While, as he notes, the wheels for the new machines were set in motion long before Apple could have known the current economic situation, Block wonders if now wouldn’t be the perfect time for a netbook — a cheap sub-laptop computer — rather than new MacBook Pros.
A great example of why I stopped reading Block and Engadget.
First, he’s an Eeyore — no matter what happens, he finds a way to spin it so it sucks. (Me: “Hey, Ryan, Apple just dumped the NDAs on the iphones!” Ryan: “yeah, but they haven’t released the source code. they suck”). As they say in the newspaper business (what’s left of it), “good news doesn’t sell newspapers”. Ryan bought off on that mentality, in spades. It gets tired after a while, because there’s both a lack of balance and perspective. One wonders (a) how a company as incompetent as people like Block seem to see Apple (because everything sucks and is flawed) stay in business, much less flourish, and (b) if their products really ARe that bad, why they bother doing business with the company. Other, of course, than the fact they’re paid to write about them… (Erica Sadun is another one on my Eeyore list, although she’s not nearly as bad at it Block is and is actually worth reading some of the time)
Second, it’s typical Block-think. “I want a netbook”. “Economy is going bad”. “Therefore, Apple should release a netbook”. I’ve already talked about why I think Apple won’t do something like (or called) a netbook, but it’s kinda sad to see pundits like Block decide something (like “Apple should release a netbook”) and twist every argument around justifying that idea (Me: “Wow, tornados just obliterated half of Kansas City” Ryan: “Apple needs to release a netbook, so it can donate inexpensive computers to all of those people without homes”)
Having watched the Apple “fanboy pundit blogger analyst media wonk” people for years from the inside, it became clear which ones had a clue, and which ones were playing the “push my own agenda” or “I’m the real story here” games. Those two groups, I simply stopped reading, and life became a lot more fun…. you can guess what category I put Block and the Engadget guys in…
And while the concept of “being an eeyore” might be obvious to most, here’s my classic example of what it means to be an Eeyore:
Me: Hey, Eeyore. Look! It’s a Lamborghini!
Eeyore: They’re way too expensive…..
Me: I’m buying it for you! It’s a gift!
Eeyore: but insurance will be so expensive…..
Me: No, I’m paying your insurance, too!
Eeyore: yeah, but it’s red. I don’t like red cars.
Me? I stop wasting time with the Eeyores, because all they really prove is it’s never good enough. So why bother?
Well, Apple sure took their time getting those invites out. As has been speculated for several weeks now, Apple is in fact holding an event on October 14 to unveil its new line of MacBook computers. The invite, which simply reads: “The spotlight turns to notebooks,” is expected to showcase a revamp of Apple entire line of portable computers.
Oh, thank god. It was getting rather frothy and silly. For instance, in the last 36 hours, I’ve seen:
A rumor site issuing a rumor that said a previous rumor it had published was, in fact correct. Of course, that rumor is still a rumor, so one had to wonder why they bothered.
A site pushing these “brick” photos with a “(unnamed site)” has unearthed these photos…” when in fact those photos have been on numerous sites (with varying levels of accountability for the source, most of it negligent) for days now. I’m sure it was a coincidence the site they pushed as “unearthing this information” was an affiliate blog in the same publishing network.
Yes, folks, Citizen Journalism at its best.
Fortunately, Apple’s ended the first phase of this idiocy by actually admitting they are going to do something, so now we get to watch everyone hyper themselves into a frenzy with increasingly insane fantasies about what Apple is going to announce, followed by the inevitable “what a disappointment” postings when Apple actually does what it always intended todo and didn’t announce any of the stuff these guys made up out of thin air…
I will bet that the nice guys at Piper Jaffray will do that — only they can’t hide behind the “we’re just fanboy bloggers” excuse, in theory, they’re supposed to know what they’re doing. hah.
Apple caught some flack last month for allegedly telling members of the New York media to fly out to San Francisco for its event. The event, which yielded new iPods, was perceived as underwhelming by some — many of whom were hoping for new notebooks as well. Today, Apple was kind enough to give those same East Coast media members 5 days to book their flights back out to San Francisco.
Perhaps because it’s the chosen way to limit the frothiness of the rumor sites? Once Apple admits it’s going to announce something, EVERYONE starts pointing at and legitimizing the rumor and fanboy sites, and the froth goes hyperbolic, so the best way to keep that kind of silly season speculating out of the view of the general public is to limit the time where Apple gives substance to the rumors in any form.
Does that mess up the life of the “professional” pundits? Yeah, but so? spend less time borrowing from the fanboy sites, with or without attribution. It’s all about managing the craziness folks; and when you join in it, you end up getting managed.
I won’t even get into the comments of the ex owner of Think Secret saying apple seems to have changed its handling of this stuff. Well, duh. Just noticed, did you? Apple was adjusting and adapting before I left. Nice of you to have figured it out, years later. (hint: apple is (a) not stupid, and (b) never stands still…. just saying)
I’ll make a wild prediction here: Apple will at no time use the word “netbook”, no matter what some of the pundits might think. A couple of reasons for this:
First, a netbook is still a niche, unproven market. Yes, there’s a small group of people thinking this is the next reality for everyone, but the netbook is still very much a future market (I think it’s a legitimate one, but it’s not soup yet). The numbers indicating that people are (a) buying Linux netbooks, (b) taking them home, and (c) in good numbers, taking them back and buying windows-based netbooks says all you need to know here, that the fantasy of “everyting I do lives online” is still that, a fantasy. Give it five years. Or three. Unlike tablet PC’s, the last “Apple HAS to do this” fantasy wish, I think netbooks are going to be a big market, just not yet. Don’t tell the early adopter echo chamber that, though, hate to interrupt their life with some realit.y
Second, a netbook is all about compromises. you’re giving up some functionality in favor of reduced weight and price. It’s basically a special purpose product (much like those tablet PCs, which as everyone now knows, is a market Apple just plain old missed and let Microsoft dominate. Oh, wait. Nobody’s dominating it, because there’s no market. Never mind). A core competency of Apple is ease of use and user experience; a core competency of a netbook is that the OS and what’s on the computer doesn’t matter as long as you have good connectivity and a browser that doesn’t suck (or something like that). Those core competencies are in conflict.
Now, lower -end computers? $800 laptops? that wouldn’t surprise me a bit. Call it a netbook? Make it a netbook? I’m just not convinced. Position it towards that space? definitely, but ultimately, it’s going to be a macintosh that focusses on portability and price, not a stripped down beast that’s “cheap”; instead, it’ll be “inexpensive”, but still a mac.
Me, I’ll tell you what *I* want. I want a nice, inexpensive laptop that I can carry around and use, AND I want a good, portable LCD screen to go with it. Give me a 12″ or 14″ laptop screen AND a 17″ screen that can live in my backpack and I can plug into in an office environment, and I’ll be thrilled. Best of both worlds, a handy, portable compputer, but god, I don’t want to do photoshop on my photos on a 12″ screen. That’s the kind of tradeoff windows “netbook” geeks might accept, but not me…
And the key missing piece there isn’t the computer, it’s the 17″ screen in a macbook format that you can fold up and carry in a laptop bag with your laptop. Now THAT is an innovation I could sink my teeth into.
This is what the roof of an Eichler should look like. Or, at least, an Eichler with a foam roof that is a couple of years away from needing recoating.
Aside: Eichler’s, by the way, were a mid century modern design by Joseph Eichler. Mostly post and beam (though not all) with an emphasis on an open floor pan facing the outside with an open to the air atrium in the middle. Sort of Levitt-with-style for the west coast. Eichler owners get Eichler specific spam and there is an entire network of web sites devoted to Eichlers.
Fairly smooth, unbroken, sea of off-whiteness. Reflective. Waterproof. A solid roof over our heads to keep us dry, out of the sun, and warm in the winter (sort of).
Of course, being an Eichler, the roof is much more than just a shelter over the house. Since there are no unbroken walls — just windows — between the walls, almost all electrical and any re-routed plumbing ends up on the roof.
Or, more specifically, in the roof.
I feel Bbum’s pain. We also live in an Eichler, a fairly early (1956) model. Great little houses, and we’ve taken pains to try to keep the thing in as close to original state as we can (pretty much everyone in our neighborhood has either added a peaked roof or closed in the beams with a drywall celling and insulation, we’ve done neither)
On the other hand, we had to reroof shortly after we bought it, and we went tar and gravel, and don’t regret it a bit. We ALSO added R14 insulation under the roof, which was a godsend at the time and even more now (and a good reason why we can leave the open beam ceilings). My one regret there was not insulating the garage roof, too. oh well.
But the one real chore with Eichlers is running the infrastructure. With a slab underneath and a flat roof above, getting wiring and piping from here to there is a massive pain; ultimately, you either chew up the slab, mess up the roof, or open up the walls. In our case, our house was redone in the 70s with copper plumbing, so that’s not an issue with us, but I’m not looking forward to the ultimate need to rewire some areas of the house…
But I know a lot of people who really love Eichlers, and I have no regrets owning one. Too many of them have been “remodeled” until they have no personality left…
well, it’s prediction time, because, well, if I guess right, I can be loud and “cherry-esque” about how good I am, and if I’m wrong, we can hope everyone quietly forgets I said anything…
The western conference is going to be a real mosh pit this season, lots of interesting hockey, and there are going to be some good teams missing the playoffs. A three or four game losing streak could mean the difference for some teams, or a key injury. Almost scary, if you’re a contender. There’s no margin of error here.
So here are my thoughts on the west:
Pacific: Sharks(1) — the change in coach will (had better) put this team over the top. If not, what do we do, blow it up and start over? Maybe.
Central: Detroit(2) — and I AM including a “cup hangover here”, or they’d be my #1 seed.
Northwest: Calgary(3) — I’m not sure why, but I don’t particularly like the Northwest, and Calgary seems the best of a fairly weak lot.
Dallas(4) — last year, I expected them to fade. this year, I expect them to make the conference team’s lives miserable.
Anaheim(5) — window has closed, fading fast. Still dangerous, but not a division-champ caliber team, and probably a 2nd round in the playoffs at best.
On the Bubble:
8 teams playing for three playoff places. Not good — for five of them.
Minnesota (6) — probably over-rating them, and my candidate for “most likely to slip down the ratings”, but Jaques LeMaire knows how to minimize the damage and keep a team in the hunt. even if it bores you to sleep watching.
Edmonton (7) — maybe over-rating them, but something about them encourages me. The 2nd most likely team to slip out of the playoffs.
Nashville (8) — should be higher than 8th, but this is a tough division and tough conference
Chicago (9) — probably deserves to make the playoffs. Probably won’t, unless a team or two falters
Columbus (10) — probably deserves to make the playoffs. Probably won’t, unless a team or two falters.
Colorado (11) — will do what I expected Dallas to do last year. Time to blow up and rebuild. But could over-perform, and if other teams slip, could sneak up the standings.
Vancouver (12) — after luongo, well, what? Could go as high as 9th.
Phoenix (13) — better. good? maybe. Playoff good? not in the west.
St. Louis (14) — ouch. another year or two.
Los Angeles (15) — seriously ouch. it’ll be a year or two before this team is a year or two out. maybe.
my choice out of the west: it’s a coin flip between san jose and detroit. I’ll take heads. (san jose)
It’s hockey season again, so we dusting off the blog and getting back to work…
Hope you all had a great off-season!
With the baseball season ending here in the household a couple of days ago (Cubs lose! Cubs lose!), I’m now officially ready for hockey to start.
We missed the first two pre-season games in San Jose while we were in Yellowstone, but made the third, and to be honest, I like what I see. Aspects are a work in progress, but it’s definitely not Ron Wilson’s team any more. More aggressive, offensively focussed, puck control. Just like (gasp) the Red Wings.
And to be honest, much as I liked Campbell, Boyle was my first choice. Now he’s a shark. So is Rob Blake. Will Jeff Friesen? I have to admit, I’m rooting for him.
I am so very much looking forward to opening night on Thursday, to see how the team handles things when it’s for real.
I have plans to contribute more regularly here now that the season has started, and I have some interesting things (at least, interesting to me, hopefully to you as well!) that I want to do this season, if life cooperates — many of them are things I planned last year, but life simply didn’t allow. This year, we’re thinking, will be less — complicated, so we can move them forward.
The one thing I’ll admit to here at the start of the season — I’ve got a series of postings I’ve been working on under the overall theme of “how to make the NHL better”. Note: not “how to fix the NHL”, because unlike some, I don’t consider it broken — but it can always be better. some of the things I’m going to talk about are pretty straight-forward, some of them are obscure, and some of them are going to be either silly or outright flamebait, but hopefully, it’ll get people thinking and talking.
Stay tuned, and we’ll see if you agree.
I seriously doubt these words will survive 100 years. What about you?
I seriously doubt that any words I write will deserve to survive 100 years.
Why should they? Just because they exist now?
Isn’t it a modern arrogance to presume that things will exist when you’re no longer around to care to make them exist?
Fact is, in the past, things in the past continued into the present because someone cared enough to preserve, present and promote. Stuff that didn’t meet that standard disappeared. Sometimes, of course, “preserve” meant taking extraordinary steps at the risk of life and limb, too.
Sometimes valuable stuff has disappeared, too — but the reality is that if something was valuable enough, redundant copies tended to be made, even if it was made by monks on parchments with ink and pen.
Me, I’d be thrilled to find out people considered stuff I did worthy of being preserved. Most of my stuff, especially my blogging? it’s prattle, the modern equivalent of laundry and shopping lists. why should that stuff be preserved? Specifically, why should MY versions of those be preserved? Who in future history department’s are going to care? And why?
Frankly, most of this stuff deserves to turn back into randomized electrons, folks. Don’t put yourself up with the folio’s of Shakespeare quite that easily…
While some people may have called you an impatient fan that doesn’t understand the “nuances” of the game, new Sharks coach Todd McLellan says you’re right.
McLellan has the numbers to prove his point. In studying the statistical charts from 2007-08, one number popped out at him: shots taken by defensemen. Detroit, the best team in the league, had more than 800 shots from the blue line. Sharks defensemen took only 536 shots.
I know I’m opening up a can of worms here, but…
He is right. The Sharks are too passive on the blueline on the power play (but how often have we had a serious quarterback of the PP on the blueline? When you’re throwing forwards back there, you’re admitting you have a problem).
But.. .the fans don’t get it right all the time, either. Common occurences in San Jose (and other arenas) that I see include:
yelling SHOOOOT when the defenseman has his shooting lane blocked by a defender; if they shot, it’d be blocked. If it’s shot and hits the defenders shinpads, there’s a good chance it goes for a breakaway the other way.
yelling SHOOOOT when the player has the puck in his skates, with his face to the boards and back to goal and a defender on his butt. Now, how in the heck is he supposed to shoot, anyway?
yelling SHOOT when the player is behind the goal line…
Do the sharks need to shoot more on PP? definitely, especially on the blueline, but it’s not really about shooting the puck. It’s about being more aggressive about getting the puck at the net. Shooting the puck into a defender for a turnover isn’t a smart tactic, but you’d never know that from listening to some fans.
Of course, when the sharks DO shoot it and it does hit a defender and go out of the zone, the fans boo….
Unfortunately, getting 17,00 fans to yell “move laterally and stop standing there, you idiot” at the same time is rather hard… Maybe the guys in the both can do a graphic to help….
(and congrats to Kukla on the new site and Mike chen for joining the KK family, but more on that later…)