Milton Perrin /

Free Isn’t Free

I’ve been around advertising and marketing a long time. Free is still the best hook by far. I think most people know there’s no free lunch, but it gives you an incentive to do what you want to do anyway. It’s like those car ads, $5,000 cash back! How does that work?

I ‘ve got Google Chrome and Google Earth on my computer – very good applications. I use Google Analytics. It’s all “free.” But there’s a cost in there somewhere. GoogleSoftwareUpdateDaemons are always trying to phone home. Most people probably don’t know or don’t care, but it’s unsettling since it happens many, many times a day. They can’t be wanting to update an application 10 times a day. The queries come in many forms, going to different intended destinations. Though I’m not particularly the paranoid type, there’s more in there than just trying to keep my couple applications up to date …

It’s a Load of Crap, but Funny

pick-up-dogs-crapSo I was riding my bike around the neighborhood and saw a handmade sign in front of a house: PICK UP YOUR DOGS (sic) CRAP. Plus a reference to a legal statute. I get it – there’s some large plops that get left by dog owners. My dogs are small so I’m a flicker, I use a rock or stick and flick them into the bushes out of sight. It’s better than a plastic bag in the landfill I think. The next day I rode past the sign and a good-sized dog had done their business right in front of the sign. I can’t imagine the owner could/would get the dog to do it on command but it makes you wonder. The sign was gone soon after …

Too Minimal Minimalism

I’ve been using the Mac systems starting around 6.0.3 or so on a Mac Plus. By and large each version has added something interesting design wise – talented folks them Apple designers. I liked 7.5.5, up through 9.x was ok. The first time I booted the os X beta on my G3 233 (!) was like wow, look at them big fancy icons. The beta was useless but pretty. I’ll admit it, I like skeuomorphism though that’s not cool these days. Anyhow, for a new project I got a Mac Mini with Yosemite on it. Man, it’s dull and flat. It’s efficient I guess but it’s so, so, I don’t know, Soviet looking. I can’t imagine things will stay like this forever – I may be wrong but I think folks (and designers …) will eventually get tired of it and revert, at least a bit. Time will tell I guess.

A Life in a Box of Slides – Who is This Woman?

mystery-womanI check craigslist periodically for fun, looking for odd photo gear, art supplies or whatever. A while ago I saw a post for “Box of Slides $5.” Curiosity got the best of me and I replied. I met a young woman in downtown Tucson with a cardboard box and a jumble of slides. I handed over a fiver and went home to find a box of memories from the distant past. Michigan football games from the sixties, world travels and life events. I’m most intrigued by the images of the woman shown – it appears to be “the daughter.” The dress, the tiara, the admiring friend, the dainty pose of the hands. If she’s still alive she’s getting up there by now. In retrospect I should have asked the young woman where she got it but I didn’t think of it at the time. Maybe she led a charmed life, I hope so.

It’s So Easy …


I’m beginning to think I should go back to painting. Painting is hard, or certainly harder than shooting a great photo these days. The quality of images from phones, much less big rigs is great – just spend some time on The Big Picture at for example – all good stuff and a ton of it. All you need is a good eye – the machine does the rest. Exposure, flash, focus, a little digital enhancement and there you go – ok, an exaggeration but not too far from the mark. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact the photo-ization of the unwashed masses is one of the world’s most interesting phenomenon. If one is trying to sell images though, it looks fairly bleak. Why pay when you can “borrow” it from Google images or just shoot it yourself? You can come up with a gimmick that separates you from the pack. And of course there’s always specific products that need photos, and weddings and such. Simple supply, demand, and ease of creation though means the value will come down in many cases, pretty much inevitably. I also think many photographers don’t want to admit that once the technical barriers are taken away, lots of people have a decent sense of composition, and the visual sophistication of Joe Plumber is constantly on the rise.

Painting’s no different really, just less of it I guess. I could have bought my own Mona Lisa in Shenzhen, China for a song. I wonder what Leonardo would think.

Sensor Crud While on the Road

I was on vacation in Europe recently with my trusty D800 and a couple lenses. I tried not to change lenses too often, using a 28-300mm Nikkor for most things and a 17-35mm for the cathedral interiors mostly. I tried to not change outside in the breeze but inevitably I needed to swap a few times when maybe I shouldn’t have. I didn’t have a computer so I left things on the cards until I got back with just a quick look at the little camera screen as I went. For the first half of the trip, no problem, the sensor remained pretty clean. Somewhere along the way though I got a big fat piece of something smack dab in the middle of the frame. For stills it’s not a big deal, but for video it’s pretty noticeable. Even if I had noticed it, what to do? I carefully use Eclipse and sensor swabs at home but never did it on the road. I wonder if there’s a road kit for sensor cleaning? Or walk into a camera store and take my chances? Or just take the cleaning stuff (more to carry) and give a swipe every few days …

Charity Ends at Home

I’m not a rich guy. I do try to give a few bucks here and there to causes I think are doing some good. By and large I think they are. What’s very, very annoying now is that as soon as you toss them a bone they come right back to the trough. Big Data must tell them once you’ve got ’em statistically it’s best to pound away. Then there’s the gifts. Calendars, address labels, backpacks, mugs, CDs, it goes on and on. I feel my contributions are coming back to me in dribbles and drips. Then they tell all their friends and related charities come stuffing the mailbox. Please oh please keep the contribution and leave me alone for a while. A nice letter or email, say, quarterly is fine and not obnoxious. If you give the homeless guy a few bucks it might not be spent in the best way but at least it’s direct and he doesn’t have my email address.

The Devil You Know

As the world tries to figure out what to do about ISIS, it makes me think of those non-existent WMDs.  Saddam Hussein was an SOB no doubt. But a known SOB and boxed in to a certain extent. Iraq and Syria are a long way from me and I don’t really understand all the factions and who’s who. I wonder how many people over there think they’re better off now than before? I don’t know. From here though it seems like a few trillion dollars and thousands of lives could have been saved with no less and quite possibly a better situation. We’ll never know.

Change is ok

“Whatever be the Constitution, great care must be taken to provide a mode of amendment when experience or change of circumstances shall have manifested that any part of it is unadapted to the good of the nation. In some of our States it requires a new authority from the whole people, acting by their representatives, chosen for this express purpose, and assembled in convention. This is found too difficult for remedying the imperfections which experience develops from time to time in an organization of the first impression. A greater facility of ammendment is certainly requisite to maintain it in a course of action accommodated to the times and changes through which we are ever passing.” –Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823. ME 15:488

Please Choose Me

I guess in late November is was 50 years since the Beatles recorded “Please Please Me.” Growing up I always thought it was please, please, me, as in c’mon, choose me over the other guy. Later on I thought hmmm, maybe that’s not what they meant after all. I read a comment somewhere online commemorating the 50th saying it was ” … surely one of the best songs about oral sex ever written.” I guess it is, maybe. Much more clever when it’s subtle, it’s kept me wondering for 40 years. Only Paul and Ringo know for sure.