Friday, November 16, 2012

The Disappearance of Darkness - book release

I had always used film in my photography until the last few years, when, like virtually everyone else in the world, I switched to digital photography. And while I enjoy this brave new world, I often feel nostalgic for the "old" ways.

I have lots of happy memories of heading out on film shoots, carrying a lot of equipment and coming back with a few, carefully chosen exposures. We did a lot of editing before clicking the shutter in those days. I used to do my own darkroom work and the experience of developing the film, viewing the negatives, then making a contact print to see just what I had, was wonderful. I got a lot of pleasure out of the process, even if sometimes the results were less than optimal. But now, the pleasure is more in being able to see the results immediately. And if I don't have the right shot, I can take another right away. I do like that option, but I can't help feeling that some of the creative process has gone away.

While I know that digital has obliterated film, it's still jarring to realize how complete the victory has been. This little trailer, for a bittersweet book about to be released about the end of the film era, struck a chord for me. I'm sure I'm guilty of romanticizing what I used to do, but that's the way it is. While I love my digital Nikon and the amazing camera in my iPhone, I miss those old film cameras, and the hours spent in the darkroom and the joy of discovery. That's just the way it is.

This looks like a good book. I think I might add it to my collection of photo books, which themselves are probably going the same way as the photograph on film.

UPDATE - I've ordered a copy for myself from Amazon. If you want to get your own, visit Robert Burley's website and order it from there.

Disappearance of Darkness Book Preview from Robert Burley on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Obama victory - on the scene report

I'm starting to think that my daughter Jaime is a good luck charm for politicians. They'd be wise to take note of this.

Jaime was in Chicago yesterday night for Obama's victory rally - and it was quite the experience!

This morning, she talked to CBC Regina and described her day to host Sheila Coles.

Link to CBC Regina interview with Jaime

This was Jaime's third time working the ground on election day - once here in BC, once during last year's provincial election in Saskatchewan and now working for Obama in Iowa. And so far she's 100% successful!

So, if you're considering running for office, look her up. She's got an impressive track record as an election worker.

Way to go Jaime.

By the way, I've asked her to send along some photos, so if she does, I'll add them here later.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Jaime is on the Obama campaign trail

A lot of Canadians are interested in the US election results today. But some are more interested than others.

Today, my daughter, Jaime, is in Chicago to help get the vote out for her favourite - US President Barack Obama.

Jaime has volunteered for the Obama campaign after spending the weekend visiting her sister, Kelly, who lives in Edwardsville, Illinois, about four hours west of Chicago.

Today, she's been bussed over to Iowa to help in that battleground state. But the best part, for her, is that she'll be able to go to Obama's victoria rally (she hopes) in Chicago tonight.

This morning, Jaime was a guest on CBC Regina's Morning Edition, hosted by our friend, Sheila Coles.

I grabbed a copy of the interview and I've posted it for anyone who wants to hear.

Link to Jaime's interview.

On Wednesday, Jaime will be back on CBC to talk about the results with Sheila and I hope to get that interview as well.

Much more to come.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Why isn't poverty an issue in America?

I didn't watch the American Presidential Debate the other night. But I did see the coverage and I was struck by how shallow most of the commentary seemed.

The first debate was about domestic issues but I didn't hear anything about poverty. It may have been raised, but it didn't grab the attention of the commentators or those writing about the debate.

It struck me as strange that a topic for which the President was so passionate about in his first presidential campaign - the plight of inner city children living in poverty - was not on his agenda any longer. But why not? Are the problems that were so prominent four years ago all better now? I doubt that.

This morning, I remembered seeing an article a few weeks ago about Chicago's inner city neighbourhoods - specifically two that Obama worked in as a community organizer. I had noted the article then, but sent it off to Instapaper without reading it and hadn't gotten back to it. So I went and looked it up.

The article is What Does Obama Really Believe In? from The New York Times Magazine.

It shares the tale of a youth worker who lives in the same area as Obama once worked in, and who is trying to help the children in his neighbourhood escape the poverty cycle they're trapped in. It's not a happy tale. Along the way, we learn a lot about the nature of extreme urban poverty and about how American thinking about helping the poor has evolved since LBJ's famous War on Poverty in the 1960s.

It's a fascinating, well-written piece, well worth the time it takes to read through. I still don't know why poverty is never mentioned these days on the campaign trail. But at least I know there are some very good people who are still dedicated to finding a way to alleviate it. There are no easy answers, which is probably why we don't hear more about it. Sound bites and extreme poverty don't go well together.

Link to What Does Obama Really Believe In?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Les Miserable looks Les Fabulous!

This is a movie that I am going to have to see. The trailer is superb!

A Conservative History of the United States : The New Yorker

A hilarious - if somewhat disturbing - look at how American conservatives view their own history. Perhaps they haven't heard about the Internet or Wikipedia…or perhaps they'll create their own once they get control.

A Conservative History of the United States : The New Yorker

Why Philip Roth needs a secondary source

I love Wikipedia. I use it every day, often many times a day. And when I have some time to kill, I often search it for interesting stories.

It is perhaps the best example of what some would call the "true" web - or the kind of web that was envisioned by those who created it. It's open source for information.

Last week, there was an interesting story in the Guardian about Phillip Roth's frustration with Wikipedia because the editors wouldn't make a change to an article about him on the site that he felt was wrong. Simply put, they said that Phillip Roth wasn't credible enough to make changes to an article about Phillip Roth.

So he wrote a letter, which was published in the New Yorker about the correction. And lo and behold, that letter was accepted by Wikipedia as credible proof of his identity and the change was allowed.

That incident is being used by some as an example of why Wikipedia is not a credible source. But in his own Guardian article, Cory Doctorow puts the issue into perspective and tells us why Roth needs a secondary source.

Great stuff.

Link: Why Philip Roth needs a secondary source

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jason Alexander calls it in the Aurora aftermath

I'm late to this particular item, but in the wake of the horrific shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Jason Alexander has written an exceptional, common-sense essay in response to those who say that there can be no compromise on gun control.

As others have said, this is the best thing I've read since the shootings.

Jason Alexander:

(Via Daring Fireball)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books?

This is a wonderful essay, written by Amanda Katz, commentator for NPR Books and the deputy editor of the Boston Globe Ideas section. While I don't usually quote from the end of a piece, her concluding paragraph is wonderful and I can't resist putting it up here, for those of you who might not read that far into her piece. But you really should read the whole thing.

But what do we lose as we bid farewell to what may turn out to have been a brief period in which common people owned physical books? I think of my own already excessive book collection, with its books that I have loved and worked on (as an editor and translator) and received as presents. Though I hope someone in the generation after mine will love living with them too, it doesn't really matter to me: I won't be there to see it.

But when I think of sorting through the boxes of my grandmother's books — even the ones we couldn't keep, or didn't want — and what we found there, I am grateful not to have been handed her Amazon password instead. Among all the gifts of the electronic age, one of the most paradoxical might be to illuminate something we are beginning to trade away: the particular history, visible and invisible, that can be passed down through the vessel of an old book, inscribed by the hands and the minds of readers who are gone.
Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books?: ""

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A problem with Evernote upgrade

I just upgraded my edition of Evernote to Premium, which seems like a pretty good idea.

I use Evernote a lot as a note capturing tool, because I can easily format the notes to work as a mini-outliner, as well as capture pictures, pdfs, screen-shots, etc. I have plenty of other alternatives on my iPad and Mac, but I do like the convenience of Evernote and the fact it synchs all of my various devices effortlessly.

So I was surprised when I upgraded and discovered that something had caused all of my notes to duplicate themselves during the upgrade. I ended up with a lot of duplicates. I searched around for someone else who had run into a similar problem but I didn't find anything.

I ended up manually sorting through and deleting all the duplicates. But the job was tedious and annoying because you can't highlight multiple notes for deletion. You have to highlight the note, choose delete, then confirm, for each note. It took awhile.

There might be an easier way, (there probably is) but I didn't have time to look for it and it wasn't obvious anywhere in the documentation. But it also shouldn't have been necessary - unless I did something wrong to cause the duplication.

Oh well. It's done now. But I thought I'd write this up in case someone else has the same problem and finds this blog post in their search. Please add a fix in the comments, if you happen to come across one.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How Pixar very nearly lost Toy Story

Last weekend, I had a near-death experience (at least it felt like that to me) when I accidentally wiped out the database for a website I manage.

With one click, I suddenly realized that I had deleted almost every page and post that had been published over the past year. Yikes!

Fortunately, I have a back-up plan. So imagine my horror when I realized that my automated backup system hadn't actually been working properly for the last few weeks!

Long story short, after spending a lot of hours sweating like crazy, I did figure out how to restore the database, and everything is working just fine.

So I can relate to this nicely told tale, about how Pixar very nearly lost all of Toy Story. The parallels with my own experience are pretty close.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, my new, improved backup regime is working nicely, thanks for asking.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

SOPA, Internet regulation, and the economics of piracy

When Wikipedia went dark earlier this week, it grabbed the attention of many people who don't spend much time worrying about piracy or copyright issues. But in conversations about the problems with SOPA, I noticed outright skepticism from some folks about the worries raised by opponents of the legislation.

Fortunately, the opposition appears to have forced legislators to shelve their bills. But the claim that Internet piracy is threatening the economy continues to have legs - despite a lack of credible evidence to support it.

This article, by Julian Barnes, from, looks at some of the claims made by those supporting the bill and challenges many of their assumptions, such as the financial harm copyright holders are suffering.
. . . I remain a bit amazed that it's become an indisputable premise in Washington that there's an enormous piracy problem, that it's having a devastating impact on US content industries, and that some kind of aggressive new legislation is needed tout suite to stanch the bleeding. Despite the fact that the Government Accountability Office recently concluded that it is "difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the net effect of counterfeiting and piracy on the economy as a whole," our legislative class has somehow determined that—among all the dire challenges now facing the United States—this is an urgent priority. Obviously, there's quite a lot of copyrighted material circulating on the Internet without authorization, and other things equal, one would like to see less of it. But does the best available evidence show that this is inflicting such catastrophic economic harm—that it is depressing so much output, and destroying so many jobs—that Congress has no option but to Do Something immediately? Bearing the GAO's warning in mind, the data we do have doesn't remotely seem to justify the DEFCON One rhetoric that now appears to be obligatory on the Hill.

SOPA, Internet regulation, and the economics of piracy

(Via Boing Boing.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Is it just me or is time passing quicker?

Dt com"Was that two years ago or 20 years ago?"

That's what my cousin asked me when I was raising an anecdote of some kind that had happened to "just a couple of years ago."

When I thought about it, I realized that in fact, the event was a lot closer to 20 years ago than two.

I'm sure it's a function of getting older. After all, the scope of our memories has grown a lot, and what used to take up a big chunk of our life (like a school year, for example) now passes by in the blink of an eye.

I've come to think of my brain as a vessel that can only hold so much memory. And my long-term memory is pushing my short-term memory right out. That's a good an explanation as anything else I can come up with for why I can remember what happened to me during my trip to Europe in 1978, but I struggle to remember why I walked into the kitchen just now.

All of the above is a long-winded way to admit that while its been a long, long time since this blog was updated, I hadn't actually noticed.

Today, I'm attending WordCamp Victoria 2012 and it's been fun to listen to lots of people talk about why Wordpress is important to them and along the way, there's been a lot of talk about blogging.

Ironically, The Daily Upload is not a WordPress blog. It's on Blogger, where I started it almost eight years ago.

But I've been doing a lot of work with WordPress over the last year or two and I like it a lot. In fact, I've got a new version of in the works. And that's a good thing, because I first built that site almost 12 years ago - and a lot of the copy there dates from then. Well overdue for an overhaul.

I started building websites years ago, long before we had content management systems like WordPress, or Drupal, or others. I learned HTML and I still build, maintain and work on old-fashioned "static" sites, like this one or this one. But now I've switched to WordPress builds, like this.

OK…I think I've purged enough for today. It feels good to put a post together, and now that I've told you about the new website that's coming, it's time to stop procrastinating and get it done.

Thanks for listening.