Friday, August 19, 2011

Infographics are useful visual tools

While doing some research for a new project I'm working on, I came across this infographic of how to make money on the internet.

How to make money web 10001Everybody wants to make money, right? So right off the bat, the author has come up with a clever way to draw eyeballs and potential customers to his content.

But the question, "How do I make money on the Internet?" is complex and can cover a lot of issues. I wouldn't recommend trying most of the things mentioned in the Google page I've linked to. Trying to answer that question in a blog post, or sum it up in a podcast isn't the easiest thing to do. The answers are also subjective and prone to error, since the reality is most of us aren't making tons of money off the Internet. But we'll probably be happy to give someone our opinions on how it could be done.

So, back to the infographic. (Here's a good explanation of what it is.) It's called The Ultimate Cash Flow Flowchart and I found it on the Fast Company website, where it was posted last year. I've also seen it recommended on a lot of different websites.

Take your time looking it over and following the flow. It starts off with a satirical tone, but it moves into a clever and accurate description of ways that people (and companies) are making money.

What about you? Do you have a favourite example of an effective infographic? Feel free to pass it along in the comments and give yourself a warm glow for helping with my research.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Transforming a Panorama into a Movie

I've always liked panoramas when I'm making photographs. Thanks to apps like AutoStitch for my iPhone, it's become pretty easy to shoot impressive panorama's with a minimum of effort. Like the one below, which I shot on our holiday in Saskatchewan last month.

Prairie skies

Of course, shooting with an iPhone is nowhere near the quality that I can get with my Nikon. And when you combine a digital SLR with a sturdy tripod, add in a bit of Photoshop processing and a really cool location, like Bagan, Burma, you'll come up with an amazing panorama shot like the one that Ben Wilmore has done.

He stitched together 14 different images into an amazing single panorama, then turned the image into a movie and posted it to YouTube. The result is a very impressive panorama that seems to go on forever.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The scary world of American politics


The race for the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential nomination is heating up across the border. Like many of my friends, I've been amused (and amazed) at the kinds of things that become campaign fodder in that party. Tea party politics, gay rights, big government, big hair - Canadians like to mock the discussion.

But it's disconcerting to see how crazy, ugly and scary things are getting in the US. For example, consider an article in this month's Rolling Stone, Michelle Bachmann's Holy War. The congresswoman is running for president and you won't believe the back story.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don’t laugh.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. Fans of obscure 1970s television may remember a short-lived children’s show called Far Out Space Nuts, in which a pair of dimwitted NASA repairmen, one of whom is played by Bob (Gilligan) Denver, accidentally send themselves into space by pressing “launch” instead of “lunch” inside a capsule they were fixing at Cape Canaveral. This plot device roughly approximates the political and cultural mechanism that is sending Michele Bachmann hurtling in the direction of the Oval Office.

The profile painted by writer Matt Taibbi is, to say the least, unflattering. But as he notes, don't make the mistake of dismissing her because she's so clearly deluded. Each time her opponents have done that, it's only made her stronger.

In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you’ve always got a puncher’s chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she’s living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she’s built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.

This is the dark side of where our world is headed. No longer do political leaders need to be concerned with truth, or even reality. Get prepared for a Presidential campaign that is going to set new standards for what is considered fair game. And the crazier the better, it appears. Nothing is too outlandish.

It's going to be quite a show. Taibbi's profile of Bachmann will be dismissed by her supporters, who will merely note how by attacking her, he's only proving her point. And perhaps that's the scariest part of this. We've arrived at the point where any serious debate about the truth is not possible. The polarization seems complete and there doesn't appear to be any way to have a rational discussion - at least in public. But as the article concludes, those who call Bachmann nuts and want to laugh off her outrageous untruths and outright lies had better be careful.

It could happen. Michele Bachmann has found the flaw in the American Death Star. She is a television camera's dream, a threat to do or say something insane at any time, the ultimate reality-show protagonist. She has brilliantly piloted a media system that is incapable of averting its eyes from a story, riding that attention to an easy conquest of an overeducated cultural elite from both parties that is far too full of itself to understand the price of its contemptuous laughter. All of those people out there aren't voting for Michele Bachmann. They're voting against us. And to them, it turns out, we suck enough to make anyone a contender.

- Link to the whole article here

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Three Ps of Online Indulgence - Alexandra Samuel - Harvard Business Review

This is the first article I've read in reaction to the Andrew Weiner controversy that looks at the legitimate issue of how to protect your online privacy.

Alexandra has some real insights into why people use the Internet for activities they might not want others to know about and rather than condemning those actions, she offers up some real-world advice for how to do it safely and without crossing over your own moral barriers.

Many knee-jerk reactions are that we just shouldn't indulge in this sort of thing. For that matter, don't do anything bad. Of course, the real world doesn't work that way.

Realistically, there are lots of regular people doing things online that they likely don't want to be "open" or "public" about. That's their right, and this article treats everyone with respect.

Here's an excerpt:
It's no accident that a notorious Twitter #fail comes from someone who is social media-savvy. It's a classic case of live by the sword, die by the sword: those who truly live their lives online are likely to bring their whole selves online with them. One part of that self may be the brilliant politician (or hilarious comedian, or compelling CEO, or articulate spokesperson) but it's likely that there are shadow selves too: The womanizer. The glutton. The partier. The gambler.

None of us is one thing only. We all have shadow selves. Offline society is set up to sanction and repress those, which is a necessary and valuable thing. Social judgment can help control compulsion or addiction: the raised eyebrow from a colleague who catches you checking out someone other than your spouse, the bartender who cuts you off.

The Internet, online society, on the other hand, allows us the elbow room to indulge, to explore our shadow selves without the same social pressure to behave. It does this by applying a veneer of anonymity and creating a sense of distance from our actions. Flashing, for example, is anti-social behavior and the vast majority of us wouldn't consider doing it in public, even with consenting partners. Yet, on NPR today, came a report of the high number of older married couples who are regularly sending explicit texts, despite the fact that it is, in a sense, flashing publicly.

Via The Three Ps of Online Indulgence - Alexandra Samuel - Harvard Business Review

Monday, June 13, 2011

How to make stop posting inline attachments

If you use Apple's default email program, Mail, you may have run into this problem.

When I click on the Attachment icon to send someone a file, Mail automatically adds the file as an inline image, which drives me crazy.

I searched through all the preferences, but I couldn't find a way to change this behaviour, so I had to keep right-clicking on the image and choosing "View as Icon" from the menu. That fixed the problem, but it was a pain.

Then I found the answer via Micah Gilman's Blog. Thank you Micah!

If this is a problem for you, you'll appreciate this fix.

Here's the link to the blog post, or you can just follow along below.
I’ve found this to be a real annoyance, especiallly with a business where I have to send images in emails often. by default displays images inline, and most email clients won’t recognize them as attachments. If you right click (or ctrl click with a one button mouse) on the image you can select to view the image as icon, which makes it behave like a normal attachment. To make this the default behavior you’ll need to use the Terminal to set the preference. Terminal is in Applications>Utilities. Open Terminal and type:

defaults write DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool yes

That will make every attachment you send act like an attachment instead of a pretty unusable decoration.

If you decide this isn’t what you’re looking for, to restore inline attachment viewing type:

defaults write DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool false

Restart Mail and you’re back to normal.

One more thing, if you’re having the issue that Mail is resizing your image like Lissa describes in her comment below, after attaching a file, make sure that you select “Actual Size” from the “Image Size” pulldown in the lower right corner of your message window.

Source: Disable Mac Inline Image Attachments | Micah Gilman's Blog

Saturday, June 04, 2011

I've got Bieber Fever

I had heard about this. But I didn't really see what the big deal was. And I sure never thought I'd get it. But it happened.

I've got Bieber Fever.

Today, on the flight to Toronto, (I'm on my way to the CPRS conference in Saint John) I watched Never Say Never, a documentary about this kid from Stratford and his incredible journey to playing a sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York.

It's quite a story. I'd heard some of it of course. Anyone who spends any time in the social media world has heard of Justin Bieber. But I didn't know his music or much of the story.

It's a great story. The documentary is well done, marching us through the short arc of his career - heck, he's only 16 years old. But I loved the movie. I like old musicals and this is a take-off on that genre. We see the live shows, and meet all the backstage characters while we move towards the big night - the MSG gig. There are no surprises here. But the passion is real and we see a lot of talent at work.

It's interesting because we see plenty of footage from Justin's early years thanks to YouTube clips. Most of his career has been captured on video and it's fascinating to watch the evolution. He's lived a lot of his life in front of a camera but unlike child actors, a lot of this stuff is raw and unscripted. You feel like you're often seeing the real thing - not a performance.

The truth is, I like the story, the music and the film. It's a well done feel good story and that's the way I feel.

Enough already. I've got Bieber Fever. What more do I need to say? I think you'll like this movie. I sure did.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Don't mess with Grand Rapids

Back in January Newsweek published a list of the Top 10 American cities in decline and the folks in Grand Rapids didn't take kindly making the Top 10. But instead of writing a lot of angry letters (actually, they probably did that too) about 3,000 of them got together to create a Lip Dub to refute the charge.

The result is a pretty amazing piece of work that really makes you want to visit the city. It certainly doesn't look like it's a dying town. Here's the video:

It's also fun to read some of the coverage about the video, which is now well on its way to going viral.

The Grand Rapids Press gives us some of the back story, as well as some details on some of the folks in the video.

Awesome YouTube lip dub proves Grand Rapids is awesome from MSNBC gives a good overview of the back story, as well as including a response from Newsweek, which was posted on their Facebook page:

To the Grand Rapids crowd:

First off, we LOVE your YouTube LipDub. We're big fans, and are inspired by your love of the city you call home.

But so you know what was up with the list you're responding to, we want you to know it was done by a website called by Newsweek (it was unfortunately picked up on the Newsweek web site as part of a content sharing deal)--and it uses a methodology that our current editorial team doesn't endorse and wouldn't have employed. It certainly doesn't reflect our view of Grand Rapids.

The Daily Mail online also has a review of the video, including some more comments about the various scenes.

Anyone who tells you that social media is just a fad - well, that's just silly. Welcome to the revolution.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wise Law Blog: Proposed California Law Tackles Social Media, Privacy Concerns

Just how much privacy should we expect in our life?

It's a question that's going to be coming up more and more often, as the social media world matures and our on-line worlds merge with our off-line world to become our "world."

Issues like the one I've linked to here are going to continue to be in the news - at least until we figure this out. And I suspect that given the pace of technology vs the ability of regulators to keep up, any "final solution" is unlikely. We'll all continue to struggle along.

Meanwhile, let's all review our privacy settings on our various online activities, keep track of our credit card information, watch out for gift cards and rewards cards that want to track all our activities - the list is long. On the other hand, most of those things end up improving much of your day-to-day experience - like the recommendations feature on Amazon, for example.

I'm not convinced that protecting privacy means that we need to close down access to our private information. I can think of plenty of situations where I want to be able to share that stuff. What we need is a way for me to be confident that when that information is shared, it's with people who will protect it. That's where the real opportunity lies. Figuring out that issue from the protection of the consumer point of view, while still letting companies benefit.

The link below refers to a blog post that got me thinking about that this morning. It's about a law being proposed in California that has Facebook gearing up its lobbying efforts to oppose. It's a good analysis.

Here's an excerpt:

A proposed new law in California would have radical implications for Facebook and other major social media sites:
The bill, which would apply only to users in California, would prohibit sites from displaying users' home addresses or telephone numbers without their consent and would mandate services remove of any information about a user within 48 hours of the request, or face a $10,000 fine.

Under the proposed law, social networking sites would be required to have all users choose their privacy settings--explained in "plain language"--as part of the registration process. It also spells out a privacy setting that would be mandated to serve as the default on all sites and that would prohibit "the display...of any information about a registered user, other than the user's name and city of residence, without the agreement of the user."
Perhaps predictably, Facebook has already commenced lobbying against the bill, claiming it is a "serious threat" to "California consumers' choices about use of personal data." However, their argument essentially hinges on the idea that consumers of social media products won't be able to give up their privacy until after they've become familiar with the service they're using.

Via Wise Law Blog: Proposed California Law Tackles Social Media, Privacy Concerns

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Why the Tory majority is good news for the NDP

It was a quite a night on Monday, as Canada settled into their couches to watch the results of the forty-first federal election unfold on their TVs. Or, in my case, tune in to hear the news that the Tories had already won a government, and were well on their way to a majority. Welcome to the four time-zone reality that is Canada.

I had been able to follow some of the results ahead of the polls closing here in BC, thanks to Twitter and the determination of some people to bypass Canada's blackout laws about results being transmitted to other provinces. But it's one of those issues that only really affects a few of us out here in the west - not the folks back in Ottawa, so I'm not sure it's going to get a lot of attention now that the election is over.

What has grabbed our attention is the dramatic realignment of politics that has given us a Tory majority and the NDP as official opposition for the first time in its history. My wife snapped a picture of the results as they flashed up on our TV screen, when the NDP moved past the 100 mark in seats leading or elected. Neither of us really believed that we'd ever see those numbers in an election.

Jack Layton and his newly-minted pack of rookie MPs - almost half of them from Quebec - now have a lot of work ahead of them to prove that they deserve to be the government in waiting. And that's why the Tory majority, which means the next election is four years away, is the best thing that could have happened for the NDP. They're not ready to govern yet - not by a long shot - but they have a lot of talented people and now they have a well-defined goal. They're ready to step into the big leagues and bring true social democracy to Canada.

Growing up in Saskatchewan, my view of the NDP has always been influenced by the fact that it formed the provincial government for a good chunk of the time I lived there. And under folks like Allan Blakeney and Roy Romanow, the governments were stable and good for the province. We didn't think of them as wild-eyed socialists. No, the crazies in Saskatchewan tended to come out of the other end of the spectrum - especially during the Grant Devine years.

But ironically, Saskatchewan voters always hedged their bets at the federal level and did not elect that many NDP MPs. And never was this more true than last Monday, when despite an Orange Crush that swept the country, the birthplace of the NDP did not elect a single NDP MP (although they did get almost a third of the popular vote.)

But despite the historic triumph of attaining Official Opposition status, a lot of the talk I heard on election night and since, has been disappointment about how the Tories achieved a majority despite receiving a minority of the votes cast. You'd think this was the first time in our history that this has ever happened, which is, of course, ridiculous.

Majority governments in this country are generally - if not always - won with fewer than a majority of votes cast. That's the reality of the first past the post voting structure, and the presence of multiple parties.

If people really are offended by the results, why don't they support measures to reform Canada's electoral laws and adopt some form of proportional representation, which would ensure that the number of seats filled in the House of Commons was a little closer to the way the votes were cast? Sure, it would take some doing, but it's definitely a possibility. If you want to know more about how that might happen, visit fair For example:

The (unofficial) results from the election were:
CON 167, NDP 102, LIB 34, BQ 4, GREEN

But if those same results were calculated as a percentage of the popular vote, the result would be:
CON 122, NDP 95, LIB 59, BQ 19, GREEN 13

source - fair

Of course, that's not going to happen. We saw that last year here in BC, where voters soundly rejected the idea in a provincial referendum, just as the idea has been rejected in Ontario and PEI (and an earlier attempt in BC). The bottom line is that as long as the people in power have to be the ones that decide to change the way they are elected, the chance of any true reform is unlikely. We're stuck with the system we have.

But, as we saw on Monday night, that can still be exciting and shake up the system. The Tory majority is the best thing that could have happened to Jack Layton and his rookie MPs. Now that they don't have to worry about the next election, they can settle in and prove to everyone that they've got the smarts and the skills and the savvy to turn their somewhat vague policy ideas into real programs that Canadians can be comfortable with. They've got a chance to show that they're a true alternative and cement the social democrat option for Canada.

That's the real breakthrough in this election.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

President Obama at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

My daughter Jaime has taken a real interest in the American political system in recent years. She's become a true media junkie, consuming all kinds of commentary about the process and the way that politics works in the US.

And like so many Canadians, she's watched as President Obama works his way through the transition from a candidate who seemingly could do no wrong to become a President who seemingly can't do anything right - according to his opponents and the pollsters.

But every so often, Obama shows a remarkable ability to put all the stuff that's happening in perspective. And Saturday night, he was at his best at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Whether it's bragging about the face he's now proved he's a "Real American" with the release of his long-form birth certificate, or releasing his never-before-seen birth video, or warning his opponents about some of the rumours that are likely to topple their presidential aspirations, he is in top form.

Take a look. It's an interesting video to watch today, one day before Canadians head off to the polls in our federal election. I wonder what our political landscape will look like in another day or so.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Computer Ads have come a long way

Oldpc 20I came across this post from Top Design Magazine. While it came out in January, it's still timeless.

Talk about a trip down memory lane! I remember just about all of these computers, which were pretty darn cool at the time. Of course, now they look downright ancient.

My favourite part of them is looking at just how expensive storage used to be. Take a look at the image on the right - a 10 MB drive for $3,495 - and that's for a factory rebuilt!

If you're of a certain age, you'll enjoy this stroll through history. And if you're not - well, you'll still find this interesting, if a little puzzling.

Oh - one more thing. Check out the new ad for Macintosh. You can see just how different Apple was from the competition right from the beginning. They've always had a lot of style and their advertising has always looked good.

Oldpc 21And thanks to my old geek buddy, Michael Lane, who pointed me to this great post.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stand By Me - 25 years later

StandByMeStand By Me was an adaptation of one of Stephen King's short stories and it became a monster hit in our household many years ago. At some point, I taped it off the television and for about two years, it seemed that every time I looked, one of the kids was watching it. I'm not sure what it was that fascinated them so much, but they were hooked.

It's been a long time since I've seen it, but this week, one of the child stars, Wil Wheaton, wrote a moving article on his blog, called "Though I hadn't seen him in 20 years, I knew I'd miss him forever."

It tells a story (Will is a writer himself now, just as his character in Stand By Me became) about joining the other cast members and director (Rob Reiner) from the movie for the first time since the movie was released. They were taping interviews for a just-released Blue Ray special edition. Notably absent from the reunion was River Phoenix, who died of a drug overdose a few years after the movie appeared and who had been a friend of Wil's.

Even if you haven't seen the movie (which I recommend you consider renting), take a look at Wil's post. It's a wonderful, honest view of what it's like to watch your life wind by and the mystery of how we end up where we are.

Link to Though I hadn't seen him in 20 years, I knew I'd miss him forever

Friday, March 18, 2011

Perspective is everything when it comes to information

This arrived in my inbox today (so if e-mail is now email, is it in-box or inbox?) and it sums up a lot of issues that are far from resolved for those of us who make our living working with information. (Click on the picture for a larger image.)

I can think of a couple of cliches that could apply to the picture above...

"There's two sides to every story."

"He who pays the piper calls the tune."

Have you got any other suggestions?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It's supposed to be "the happiest day of the year!" And so what better way to start the day than with an Irish-themed flash mob.

Here's what happened in Sydney early on March 17th.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom Flex

This video is a real treat. It's fascinating to see what's really happening during normal events, like the shower running or a drop of water splashing off a desk.

Not a bad way to spend an evening, all in all!

Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom Flex from Tom Guilmette on Vimeo.

I was working a gig in Vegas with a brand new Phantom Flex high speed digital cinema camera. I had to try it out. In fact, I never did go to bed that night. I opened up a wormhole shooting at 2,564 frames per second.

Please visit my website for Phantom Flex 1080p ProRes file downloads:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is there a way to fix spiralling health care costs?

Health care costs are out of control everywhere. At the city, provincial, federal, world level - no one has figured out how to come to grips with the rising costs of delivering health care to citizens.

In Canada, we pride ourselves on our healthcare system, but if you talk to a small group of people about their experiences in the system, you realize that there are serious issues out there.

Wait times, lousy service, surly staff, problems with facilities - the list of complaints can grow long very fast.

Still, at least we're not like the US, Canadians like to believe. But despite the rhetoric of the health care debate in our neighbour to the south, they did pass new legislation that could change the game. Whether the legislation - Obamacare - survives, is an open question. But it does give some people hope.

I came across The Hot Spotters in The New Yorker that looks at a small group of doctors and health care professionals who are applying some exciting (and common sense) ideas to caring for the neediest patients and in the process lowering overall costs dramatically. But although the benefits seem obvious, they face huge hurdles in implementing their changes on a larger scale.

Not everyone, it seems, thinks that controlling costs, or making sick people healthy, is good for business.

This is a fascinating issue and a very well-written (and lengthy!) article. But if you're interested in this topic, you'll find the ideas outlined here worth considering. I hope that we start to see programs like these starting up in Canada (perhaps they already are?) where one hopes the political climate will be more open to implementing them.

Here's the link to The New Yorker article.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Mystery: Why Can't We Walk Straight?

Here's delightful little video from NPR.

I particularly like the quality of this piece. The audio and video are excellent - one of the hallmarks of NPR, as it moves so much of its programming to the web.

I listen to a number of NPR podcasts regularly and their production quality is the gold standard for everyone else.

A Mystery: Why Can't We Walk Straight? from NPR on Vimeo.

Try as you might, you can't walk in a straight line without a visible guide point, like the Sun or a star. You might think you're walking straight, but as NPR's Robert Krulwich reports, a map of your route would reveal you are doomed to walk in circles.

(Via DaringFireball.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011 is a lifesaver for old hardware

This post might not mean much to those of you that have nice, new hardware. But for anyone who is making do with an older computer, be it a Mac, Windows or Linux machine, I just came across a great resource called

I did a very dumb thing and tried to upgrade the version of Skype on my laptop. But the new Skype v5.0 for Mac requires an Intel chip and won't run on my old PowerBook. I didn't notice that before I pressed the button. Big mistake.

No problem, I thought. I'll just download a copy of the old version. But when I went looking for an older version to download and revert back, I couldn't find it anywhere on the Skype website! I needed to have Skype working and I started to panic, because my backup disk is at my house and I'm not there.

However, a quick Google search turned up, or more specifically It's a great resource that seems to have a whole lot of software which has been updated. There are lots of programs for Mac, Windows and Linux.

So if you're not running the latest and greatest hardware, you may find something that you need there.

I was able to download the latest version of Skype 2.8 for Mac and its working just fine.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Time to get something up fast

Well, this is embarrassing.

I'm attending Wordcamp Victoria 2011, which is a tremendous 1-day event for people who are using Wpordpress.

In the session I'm in right now, the presenter was asking about how often we visited sites that weren't updated. And isn't that a pain?

Then I realized that I haven't updated my blog for awhile.

For that matter, anyone who has visited my website at is likely mortified by what they find. I know I am.

So here's the thing. I am working on a new home site for me. It will be up soon with a new picture.

In the meantime, I'm still active on places like and

But blogging is still important to me, really.

There, now I can tell people to visit The DailyUpload.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Do you ever do extraordinary things?

I was sitting in my office today, working on some very mundane office things, and feeling just a bit dejected. It seems that despite all my best intentions, I often end up working on stuff that just isn't that inspiring.

Why is that? Why, despite a list sitting beside me of things that I consider to be important, do I end up working on stuff that seems so, well, ordinary? For example, I've just spent a couple of hours getting my calendar to synch up across all my various computers. I mean really...

It's probably just the usual post-holiday doldrums, when things always seem a bit bleak. Fortunately, they won't last long.

But while I'm not feeling all that excited about what I'm doing, I am delighted to be able to share with you a charming story about someone who has decided to do something extraordinary.

"An isolated wait in the mountains for the perfect shot" is a delightful story about a Victoria-based photographer who has started a unique project to capture mountain portraits. It's shared by another Victoria writer, Tom Hawthorn on his blog.
Each summer for the past three years, Mike Andrew McLean trekked up alpine paths with heavy camera equipment in search of spectacular vistas.

Acting as his own sherpa, the Victoria photographer carried with him a 1960s-era Linhof Technika IV field camera. It has a bellows, stands on a tripod, and requires a black cloth to be draped over the shooter.

After setting up near summits, he then waited for a passerby.

Sometimes, hours passed. Winds whipped along ridges. The photographer was exposed, though not always his film.

Mr. McLean, 34, was working on a project he calls “Range: Mountain National Parks Photographs.” He returned to the Rockies he had explored as a youth, seeking to make photographic portraits of strangers against a breathtaking backdrop.

In an age when wafer-thin cellphones take snapshots, a photographer with a large-format camera is an odd sight to stumble across in so isolated a site.

“This camera is a magnet for conversation,” he said. “You set it up and people are drawn to it. It is a spectacle, a surreal image.”
The resulting photos are extraordinary. Some of them are posted on Mike's website, where you can see a slideshow of the exhibit, as well as read a commentary about the project.

I highly recommend Tom's blog, which is always full of unique stories. A few more of these and maybe I'll come up with something to shake myself out of the January blah's.


Friday, January 07, 2011

10 Most Popular Autocorrects From December, 2010

Maybe it's just me, but I doubt it. No matter how old you get, a well done fart joke can still make you laugh. Or a nicely timed joke in bad taste. Sometimes the cruder the better.

And even funnier are the unintentional crude comments - those wtf? moments - that come up in real life.

You know I'm right, right?

To prove it, I dare you to visit this website and not laugh. If you've ever used a smart phone with autocorrect turned on, you'll be able to relate. And you'll laugh - guaranteed!

So, since it's Friday afternoon, go to and check out the Top 10 whoppers from 2010.

Here's the link.