I’ve always said that I’d prefer to have an Evil Geek (Bill Gates) rule the world instead of an Evil Marketing Guy (Steve Jobs). Sort of like the difference between having the nerds or the cool kids run your high school. And sure enough, now that Steve has a dominent platform, he’s running it like the cool kids would.
I mean seriously. Geek evil is sort of like ‘pinky and the brain’ evil. Yeah, they might take over the world, but that’s what they plan every night. And even if they succeed, all they’ll end up doing is having chair jumping contests and all night Star Trek marathons (how else do you explain much of Microsoft’s software?)
Marketers, like Steve, are different.
Continue reading Evil Geeks vs. Evil Marketers
Jim Tierney, the President and ‘CEA’ of Digital Anarchy, recently sat down to talk with Grant Friedman of Colorburned.com. This is a terrific blog and info site that I became aware of when Grant contacted us about some of his online contests. Jim and Grant had a lively conversation via email, as many of us do these days. You can read Colorburned’s interview with Jim Tierney here on their site.
Continue reading Chief Executive Anarchist on Colorburned.com.
While writing a post about how my little iThing takes great digital photos, I did some news surfing about the shrinking size of technology. The two articles listed below caught my eye. Their topics are different but the underlying theme is similar.
First, on Computerworld.com, an article called ‘Future shock: The PC of 2019‘ talks how personal computers will look in a decade: Small.
Just yesterday, I took this photo of a charming chalk stamp on the pavement. Seems to fit the topic of this post because ‘Thylacine’ is a generally extinct, but still sighted and possibly mythological creature. Just like technology can be. See this Bizzare & Extinct site for images.
Continue reading Technology gets smaller.
Our software company, Digital Anarchy, makes an annual mecca to NAB, which is the National Association of Broadcasters convention. The show is held in Las Vegas in late April, when it’s wonderful to stand outside at 2pm in the beating sun, then run back into the over-air conditioned show to dry off the small beads of sweat.
This was the first year since 2001 that Digital Anarchy was not a vendor at NAB. We sold our video/animation product line in August 2008 and are a Photoshop-only developer now. But we love the event and people, and it’s always cool to see new technology, so there we were. Drinking a little more than working, for once, often with colleagues from other plugin companies.
Representing below: Folks from ReVision FX, Digi Effects, Automatic Duck, Grid Iron, and Digital Anarchy.
Continue reading The mecca of NAB.
One of my roles at Digital Anarchy is creating the web and print graphics. Whenever I tell someone that I do design collateral for a software company, if that person is not in technology, s/he almost immediately asks me to design a ‘small and easy’ site for free. (ps: no such animal) Either that or I am asked to help with his/her internet connection or email issues. Huh? This cartoon that I am reposting from the terrific Monstermunch.com says it all.
This topic of trying to get something for nothing — or asking the wrong person for help with a technology initiative — makes me think of a great article that I read yesterday called ‘What Price Pro for Hire?’ It came in through the e-newsletter from the magazine Videomaker.
Continue reading Just pay the pro already…sheesh.
Typically I try to blog about stuff related to photography, Photoshop, and all things graphical. But photography and graphics are all about workflow, and workflow is all about saving time and effort, so this article on Wired.com has peaked my interest. It’s called ‘Diary of a Self-Help Dropout: Flirting With the 4-Hour Workweek‘.
(above, image from the article) Written in a very humorous style, this article is about a freelance writer who has difficulty and some mild schizophrenia about managing all of his jobs and tasks. Sounds like…all of us.
Continue reading 4-Hour Workweek via Wired.com
I have recently read articles about how two well-known software companies conduct their design and development processes. A mixed bag of ideas — just like product design itself — but the overall message is that the companies are innovative and open-minded in their approach to development, while still keeping a tight control over quality and standards. We’re talking about Apple and Google. Continue reading Good standards for good design.
As a developer for Photoshop (and now Aperture) I rarely spend time in other host graphics apps. There are other purchasable ones, like the Corel Painter Suite, but they generally don’t publish a good API that plugin developers like Digital Anarchy (that’s us) can hook into.
There are also a bunch of free image editing apps. For our customer model, they simply fall short of what Photoshop can do and none are widespread enough for us to support. Which makes sense since these free apps are not trying to be Photoshop, just act as an alternative for folks who aren’t doing graphics for a living and don’t want to invest money into graphic manipulation.
Having said that, I occasionally run into a summary list of free Photoshop alternatives. Thought it would be interesting to post a list that I found on Downloadsquad.com through a friend’s blog, pirandello.wordpress.com. Continue reading Photoshop free alternatives
I read today on the Studio Photography blog that Polaroid will stop producing its instant film. The article rounds up some interesting vignettes about Polaroid aficionados and why they love the medium, but here’s the meat of the news:
“Sixty years after Polaroid introduced its first instant camera, the company’s iconic film is disappearing from stores. Although Polaroid says the film should be available into 2009, this is the final month of its last production year. Eclipsed by digital photography, Polaroid’s white-bordered prints — and the anticipation they created as their ghostly images gradually came into view — will soon be things of the past.”
This discontinuation feels quite sad. Although I don’t use Polaroid anymore, I remember years back when my friends and I would take Polaroids of each other at parties and tape the photos to a window or sliding glass door. By the end of the evening, we’d have a timeline of the party and all of the silly and sweet things that had occurred.
hmm, and perhaps my statement multiplied by 1 or 3 million is why the instant film is being discontinued. Memories don’t always translate into dollars. Also, while Polariod is nostalgic to me and perhaps the generation above me, it’s not to someone in their teens or 20’s.
Seems to me that if Polaroid did some marketing and made that medium feel relevant, then it could still sell okay. But I guess they’re a big company and it’s just not worthwhile to their bottom line.
I noticed last week that most of the images from the Life magazine library are searchable through Google Image Search. Pretty cool sifting through so many iconic images.
Sadly, the one major casualty of moving our blog over to WordPress — and the server maelstrom that followed — has been losing all of the wonderful comments that people made. In particular, I remember seeing someone post a photo of himself wearing a Digital Anarchy t-shirt shortly before the blog went down, and I am very sad to have lost that photograph.
We still do want to hear your thoughts and see you in our Digital Anarchy tshirts. Enjoy our blog’s new look and let me know what you think.
I’ve recently received links to two new ‘gathering places’. The popular Kenstone.net site has posted a new version of their Final Cut Pro forum at www.kenstone.net/discussions/list.php?3. Our company is a big fan of Kenstone.net because they always provide solid and thorough reviews of products (including ours) and they have a terrific archive of helpful articles covering color correction, compression, editing, audio, hardware management, etc. A lot of prominent reviewers have contributed to Kenstone.net over the years.
The other site, www.vfxconnection.com, seems to be sparkly brand new. Looks like a networking site and job connection board for folks in the broadcast and special effects industry. I’ve already noticed a few friendly faces from trade shows as registered users.
There’s a great thread on the AE List (www.media-motion.tv) about designing data graphics. Some really great links came up (thanks in particular to Rich Young). In truth, I love graphics derived from data. I think it can be truly beautiful to see how some data sets emerge visually. Our Data Animator 1.0 is just a baby step towards a more full featured set of plugins for really playing with data. Hope to do more with it soon. Some links…
There is the master of infographics, Edward Tufte:
If you do anything related to designing information graphics, his three books are must reads. They contain some beautiful examples of charts and graphs. If you didn’t think infographics could be beautiful you have not seen these books. One of my regrets with Data Animator 1.0 was that we couldn’t incorporate more of his ideas.
Continue reading Visualizing Data
The folks at fxPHD.com have started a new term. If you’re looking for visual effects training, they have some of the best out there, especially for the higher end stuff.
They are an excellent example of the new type of training available that I think either enhances traditional education or completely replaces it. For computer based artists, I really don’t know that the $25,000/yr schools give you your money’s worth.
There was some talk at NAB of software as a service… moving all the apps online. While this is an interesting notion for word processors and spreadsheets, I really don’t think it works so well for design applications. Particularly video apps. The issue is that the amount of data we’re dealing with is increasing a lot faster than the bandwidth we have available to upload the stuff. How are you going to edit HD online? Or 4K? (or 5K! jeez…) Same applies to photos… sure, basic iPhoto type stuff _may_ be ripe for online… but even then I’m not sure. Most of the consumer cameras out there are 7-8 megapixels, and while one photo isn’t that big, it’s still pretty easy to generate a GB of shots. If you’re shooting 16mp, RAW files it’s pretty easy to generate 4gb of photos.
Not that it’s impossible to get all this uploaded, but it’s unwieldy. I think moving to online apps is an interesting idea, but for graphics I just don’t see it as being practical. At least, not until bandwidth is increasing as fast as the file sizes.
Is anyone else completely over schelping out to the desert for a week every April?
I mean, the networking is great and useful, but with everyone having broadband I’m really beginning to doubt that I need to give one on one demos to every attendees for four days. There really has to be a better way of interacting with customers and showing off new products.
I’d love to see some comments on why we should keep going to NAB as an exhibitor. It just seems like there should be ways of reaching more of our customers, and doing it more efficiently than with tradeshows.
As it turns out, yes, they can. But it makes it easier if you don’t say idiotic things like ‘girls can’t do math’.
There’s a great site I just ran into: www.girlsgotech.org
It’s run by the girl scouts and, obviously, is a tech site aimed at girls. Which personally I think is pretty awesome.
One of the interesting things about being in the software industry is the almost complete lack of woman, outside of the design/PR/sales parts of the industry. A female programmer is as rare as a non-caffeinated programmer. They exist, but you need to look pretty hard for them.
Continue reading Can Girls Do Math And Science?
So let’s start off with the two basic points of this:
1) School is worth going to, but not necessarily the high priced ones. There is, usually, a lot to be gained from an education that can be difficult (although definitely not impossible as we’ll see) to pick up other ways. The truism “You get out, what you put in” applies to school as much or more than any other endeavor. However, ’school’ can have many meanings.
2) Starting off your career $50,000, $75,000, or more in debt is not a good way to kick things off. It’s difficult to say any education is worth that because there are so many good options for education that AREN’T that expensive.
It’s been an interesting phenomenon at Siggraph of late that the booths for the schools (Gnomon, Academy of Art, Brooks, etc) are bigger than the booths for most of the software companies or studios. This has always struck me as a little odd, until one of the folks I work with told me what the current tuition is at the school he graduated from. It’s pretty astronomical… which I guess explains the booth sizes.
Continue reading Overpriced Schools For Design, Visual Effects, Photography, Whatever
This gadget came to my attention and I had to buy one. It’s the Jakks EyeClops Bionic Eye.
For $40 (from Amazon) you get an SD resolution macro video camera. If you’re fascinated by things that can only be seem with a high level of magnification this is great. The quality isn’t fantastic, but it’s good, especially considering it’s $40. It outputs via a standard (RCA) SD cable, so you should be able to capture the results.
A worthwhile toy for the video geek on your list…