Category Archives: Off Topic

Anything not related to photography.

photophlow Article at Digital Photograpy School

A few days back I wrote a guest article at the digital Photography School called “photophlow: A Social Experience for Flickr Photographers“. If you aren’t a regular reader of the dPS, head over and check it out.

Also, I wrote the article as my own project entry for the Social Photography Project that’s still running. If you’re planning on participating, now is a good time to get it done. I’ve only had four project entries, so there’s still plenty of room at the top of the list! The project deadline is February 22.

La Jolla Photowalk Reminder

Remember folks, we’ve got a Southern California photowalk happening on Saturday, February 9th. So if you’re in the greater Los Angeles or San Diego area, stop by for a while and take some photos with us.

It should be a good turnout — Bryan Villarin and I will be there along with John Watson from Photodoto. I’m still working on Ryan Goodman from CameraPorn, and I had Nate Ritter asking me about it earlier today. Looks like it’s going to end up being a blogger convention!

Birthday Party Winners Announced!

Birthday Winners

After seven days of gift announcements, I had my work cut out for me trying to keep track of the raffle entries. In total, we had 97 people enter into one or more prize raffles! Those same 97 people left a total of 405 comments during the month of January, and let me tell ya… it was a real treat doing the tally. I’m only sorry I couldn’t share the joy and excitement of such a task.

Once the tally was complete, it was just a matter of cross referencing the comments with each of the seven raffles, assigning a raffle ticket to each person for each raffle they entered, and generating some random numbers. The raffle drawing went through without any issues or glitches, and we ended up with seven lucky winners.

I must say, you guys are all so awesome for showing such interest in the blog (and the prizes). I saw a lot of new names showing up, and I’m glad that those folks stepped forward and gave a holler. In the end, there could only be seven prize winners, but all of you are winners in my eyes! I’ve already contacted the lucky ones via email, but for the rest of you here are the results.

And here are a few numbers and graphs having to do with the raffle. This first chart shows that the most popular prizes were the Art Print and the Amazon Gift Card, followed by the Flickr Pro Account and the Photo Book. I’m flattered that so many of you opted for my photo and my photo book!

This histogram shows how many comments people left on the blog during the entire month. You can see that a majority of the raffle entrants left 5 or fewer comments. You can also see that only a handful of people left more than 15 comments over the course of the month.

In this next histogram, I’ve removed the raffle entry comments (the ones where you had to leave a key phrase in the message). The chart shows the remaining comments left by the entrants, in other words the “true” comments. You can see that a significant number of comments and entrants are completely removed from the chart, meaning that this group of entrants only left comments to enter themselves into the raffle (nothing wrong with that though!).

I’m not sure that any of this is terribly useful… I just kind of get carried away with spreadsheets and charts sometimes (it’s not my fault, I’m an engineer). At any rate, I’d like to thank everybody who participated in this thing, especially the sponsors who stepped forward with the extra prizes — All Day I Dream About Photography, Image Keyworder, and Top Hosting Center.

And you’re all invited to next year’s party!

Take a Moment and Give Me Some Love

OK, this is totally off topic and completely self-promotional. But hey, somebody’s gotta do it.

With the social photography project running right now, I just got to thinking about some of these networks and how they can be used to support your favorite bloggers. If you’re anything like me, you probably have a few social networks (and blogging networks if you’re a blogger) that you utilize from time to time. But also if you’re anything like me, you might forget to show your favorite sites and bloggers some love — not just the posts or articles, but the root site and the authors themselves.

WHAT AM I GETTING AT?

I guess what I’m saying is that I DO appreciate it when you guys share the love and help boost the authority of the blog. A higher authority can lead to more visitors, which can lead to more great community members, which can lead to more great discussions, which can lead to more interesting article ideas, which can lead to a higher level of enjoyment on your end. So you see, it’s really more about you than it is about me. I rarely, if ever, push this self-promotional stuff on anyone, so here’s my entitled once-a-year “give me some love” reminder for those of you involved with the following networks.

I heart FeedBurner

First and foremost, if you haven’t already subscribed to the feed and you use a feed reader, DO IT NOW. We bloggers love to see those subscriber numbers increase, plus it’s a great way for you to keep up with the daily happenings here on the blog.

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is my favorite network. For those who use it, I don’t need to tell you how great it really is. For those of you who don’t, what the heck are you waiting for? If you’re on the network and if you like this blog, don’t forget to give a thumbs-up to my home page (and review it if you’re feeling extra giving) and a thumbs-up on my StumbleUpon profile (also open for reviews).

Also for you stumblers, if you’ve added me as a friend you can jump on your home page and use the “Share this page with friends” option to remind me to consider your site for a thumbs-up. I can’t guarantee I’ll give it a vote, but if I like it and if I haven’t already done so I’ll give it a thumbs-up.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Technorati is kind of an interesting one… it’s more of a bloggers-only ranking thingy than a social network. But it does give you the ability to add other blogs to your “favorites” and I’m guessing that adds to their authority and ranking (but maybe not, I’m not sure). At any rate, it’s always nice to see that a fellow blogger likes this blog well enough to take the time and add it to their favorites list. So if you’re on Technorati and you like this blog, use the button above or head over to my Technorati page and click on the heart.

Join My Community at MyBloglog!

MyBlogLog is another bloggers-only group, but it’s a little different than Technorati. So again, if you’re on MyBlogLog and you like the site, head over to our community page to join in and don’t forget to stop by my author page and add me as a contact.

So that’s it folks — I won’t bother you with this silly stuff again until next year around the same time. We’ll get back to the standard photography-talk tomorrow.

Schedule for Photophlow Gatherings

photophlow badge

We’ve had a couple of photophlow get-togethers centered around selecting photos in our Flickr pool for the weekly PhotoDumps. I think we’re getting better at this, but the number of images submitted to the pool increases each week too. This last meeting on Sunday lasted four hours and we didn’t even get through all the images! The guys at photophlow are working hard to get us some new features to make this easier, but regardless of the tools we have I think we’ll have to split up the session to twice per week.

This will allow us to get through the photos a little easier, plus we can stagger the times so that everybody around the globe can join in on at least one session. Here’s what I’m proposing as standard weekly meeting times:

9PM PST (GMT-8), EVERY WEDNESDAY

You can check this time conversion to see what time it will be in your timezone.

9AM PST (GMT-8), EVERY SUNDAY

You can check this time conversion to see what time it will be in your timezone.

We’ll run things the same as the last session, with the voting and such. I think that worked out well, and it puts the photo selection in the hands of the community rather than just mine. Basically, I run the slideshow, we talk about the photo, I give a signal, and everybody votes. Anything that gets at least a 50% vote will be featured on the PhotoDump blog post. On average we had 5-7 active people in the room during the last session, so it only took 3 or 4 votes to get the photo accepted. The more people we have involved, the more interesting it gets

At some point (if we continue to do this) we’ll have to split up the meeting time into more sessions, so my hope is that the wonderful team at photophlow can develop some nifty tools for us to run this thing on a more semi-automated basis. My ideal situation would involve a voting system that would enable you guys to run this thing yourselves in the event that I can’t make it to the session. So we’ll see what comes down the pipe, but for now we’ll continue on as we have.

I’d also like to hear some thoughts from people who have participated in these things. Is it worth the time and effort? Are you gaining anything from it? What can we do better?

Birthday Gift #7 – Free Web Hosting

The seventh birthday gift for our one-year party will be 3 months of free web hosting provided by Top Hosting Center, and instigated by our buddy Antoine. Here’s what they’re offering up for one raffle winner:

Top Hosting Center Logo
  • 10 GB HDD Space
  • 10 GB Bandwidth
  • 10 MySQL
  • 10 Domains
  • 10 Sub-Domains
  • 10 Emails
  • 10 FTP Users
  • NO Free Domain Name

This could be a great way to get yourself started with a new website to test the waters. If you find out that websites are too much hassle or if it’s just not your thing, at least it didn’t cost you any hosting money!

SO REMEMBER…

If you want in on this one for the raffle, leave a comment on this post with the phrase “FREE HOSTING” in the comment somewhere. And don’t forget that every comment you make for the entire month of January (on any post) will count as a raffle entry for this and the other giveaways.

Also, check the main Birthday Party page to see all of the prizes being offered. And if you have a prize you’d like to give away for the birthday party, let me know!

Photophlow Round Two, Who’s With Me?

photophlow badge

Last week’s photophlow experiment was fairly successful. We had a good group of people show up to view and talk about the images in our Flickr pool. The downside to the meeting was that it took almost 4 hours to get through 170 images. It was a touch too long, so I want to try this again and maybe refine our process. This one will be a little more structured, and hopefully it will be even more educational and entertaining for everybody involved.

8AM PST (GMT-8), SUNDAY JANUARY 20

Again, I’ll try to show up a little early (as long as Flickr doesn’t decide to turn the lights off for half a day again). I’ve switched the date and time to accommodate those who couldn’t make it last time, so we’ll probably see a different group hanging out with us. And to make things more productive, here are some ideas to keep us moving along through he photos.

  • I CONTROL THE PHOTOS
    The photophlow team is working on a “slideshow” mode to basically force everybody into private mode (thus not displaying images to the group when they are clicked on by other members). It gets too crazy if everybody is clicking on their own stuff while we’re trying to go through the photos in the pool, so if you want to check something else out set yourself to private mode so you don’t disturb the group.
  • BE FAST TO COMMENT
    If I see a dead silence for more than about 10 seconds, we’re moving on to the next image. If you want to discuss an image, get that first comment out there quickly. Photophlow is fast-paced, so don’t hold up the show.
  • BE FAST TO MOVE ON
    It’s easy to get caught up discussing a single photo for 5 or 10 minutes, but try to limit the discussion so the group can move forward. If you want to make comments on the Flickr photo, open it up in another window or tab and come back to it later.
  • WHISPER NON-RELATED CHATTER
    Use the whisper function if you want to have a side conversation with somebody else in the room. Too many conversations happening at the same time results in a lot of confusion, especially after you have about 15 people in the room.
  • BE OPEN, BUT BE NICE
    It’s fine to say that you don’t like a particular photo, but it doesn’t add much to the discussion. Offer up the things that you like about it, and discuss the elements that you think might improve the photo. This is where a lot of the learning takes place — when everybody offers their perspectives in a non-threatening manner. As a rule of thumb, just assume that the person who took the photo is in the room with you.
  • YOU PICK THE PHOTODUMP PHOTOS
    I’d like to see if I can get you guys to do some of the work and actually pick out the photos for the PhotoDump by voting. Here’s what I propose: When I “/ponder”, you “/approve” if you want the photo to be included. DO NOT “/disapprove” if you don’t like it — that’ll just make the votes harder to count quickly. I’ll let the voting go for about 10 to 15 seconds, then we’re moving on to the next photo.
  • HAVE FUN AND LEARN
    Don’t forget to have fun. If you break “the rules” by accident, it’s not the end of the world. Just have fun and be courteous — everything will work out fine.

As the photophlow team continues to develop the application, this little meet-up should get easier. Not only are they working on the presentation mode, but they’re also talking about developing a voting system of sorts. The main idea right now is to get in there and help us figure out how to best utilize photophlow. If there’s enough interest in certain features, the guys behind the website are very receptive to input and feedback. You could actually help shape the outcome of photophlow.

So let’s give this thing another shot this weekend, and we’ll fine tune it from there. In the near future, we might need to split this up into two sessions due to the amount of photos submitted to the pool each week. Not only that, but a set schedule should result in more participants so people can plan ahead. So who’s showing up this Sunday?

Birthday Gift #5 – A Free .com Domain

The fifth Birthday Gift will not be a kidney (sorry to disappoint, Phill). Actually, Antoine Khater from All Day I Dream About Photography is offering up a one year .com domain name registration for the birthday raffle. What could you do with a domain name? Maybe you could start up that website you’ve had in the back of your mind. You could join the ranks of photography bloggers and photobloggers, or maybe you could start up a blog on a totally different topic. Heck, you could even get your own name if somebody else hasn’t done so already.

It seems like everybody has a website of sorts nowadays, so why not join in? Or if you have, and you’re like me, you could always find a use for another domain name… I think I’m up to six or seven of them now (although not all of them are being used).

SO REMEMBER…

If you want in on this one for the raffle, leave a comment on this post with the phrase “FREE DOMAIN” in the comment somewhere. And don’t forget that every comment you make for the entire month of January (on any post) will count as a raffle entry for this and the other giveaways.

Also, check the main Birthday Party page to see all of the prizes being offered. And if you have a prize you’d like to give away for the birthday party, let me know!

ADIDAP is Down, But Antoine is OK

Antoine is fast becoming a friend of mine, and he’s having a bit of an issue with his photography blog at the moment… actually, with his host. And it may be terminal. I know some of you read his blog, so I just wanted you guys to be aware that he’s fully aware (and a little ticked off). So think happy thoughts, and let’s hope for a successful revival so we can get back to reading his stuff.

UPDATE: Antoine’s site is back up and running! Glad to hear he didn’t lose any information.

Birthday Gift #4 – My First Photobook

If you thought one photo was a fun idea for a birthday present, then how about 25!? Prior to Christmas, I put together a photo book of my favorite photos and sent a few of them out to my family for the holidays. I had six books printed, and I shipped two of them to myself. I’m keeping one on my bookshelf, and the other one will be shipped off to one of you!

So like I said, this book is one of only six in existence (and I probably won’t be printing anymore). Not only that, but it will be the ONLY signed copy of the book out there — nobody else got the signed version.

Granted, the print quality is not quite at the level of the art print from yesterday, but it’s honestly not bad. I bought the book through Shutterfly, and I was pretty impressed with the overall ease of use, pricing, speed to fill the order, and the very decent quality of the book that arrived.

The book is 8-1/2″ by 11″ and you can see a preview of the contents in the embedded Quicktime movie above (feed readers will probably need to visit the site to see it). You can see that they have several options for layouts, and I didn’t even use a fraction of them. These books are a pretty neat way to gather up a group of your photos and put them all in one place.

SO REMEMBER…

If you want in on this one for the raffle, leave a comment on this post with the phrase “PHOTO BOOK” in the comment somewhere. And don’t forget that every comment you make for the entire month of January (on any post) will count as a raffle entry for this and the other giveaways.

Also, check the main Birthday Party page to see all of the prizes being offered.