Category Archives: Rants and Raves

Flying is Fine — Extra Screening Sucks Hard

TSA Security Line
Thanks to flickr user redjar for the image.

I hate airports.  Not flying, flying I love.  But the process of dealing with airlines, and luggage, and most especially the TSA/Security Theater aspect of the process drives me crazy.  I flew down to SJC this week for a technical conference, MySQLConf.  It was a great conference: I met neat people, I learned new things, I got excited about tech again.  I loved that part.  The flight down was fine.  Easy, no problem through the airport.  Only the usual anxiety about the process.

Continue reading

How (not) to Influence Technologists

So I got an email today from a very cool company I know about.  They’re doing very interesting things with caching in the web applications space, and I generally approve highly of them.

But this email was vexing to me.  It was unsolicited commercial email.  Otherwise known as spam.  Boo.  Hiss!    Since I think they’re doing neat things, AND since I’ve already have a relationship with the company, I would doubly surprised to get this email.  The email was pretty targetted at what we do, and was addressed directly to me.  All very easy to do these days with databases, so I don’t hold illusions that this was crafted by hand for me.  Hardly.

But I am surprised that they didn’t cross-reference their existing customer/contact list against this to avoid this situation.

My first email to them was along the lines of “This is spam.  I’ve been talking to you already.  Why are you spamming me?”  The reply I got back was disappointing:

Our intention is not to spam, but to inform people of our products, new features and functions, webinars, etc. and offer a free trial to anyone who may want to test.  I will remove you from our mailing list if you prefer not to receive this kind of information.  We always include an unsubscribe link in our emails for people to stop receiving them if they

Our apologies to you.

I never signed up for your mailing list.  I never view webinars.  And generally, I add companies that spam me to a blacklist.  I don’t like it!

But this company does really neat things.  They’ve got cool technology, and offer tools for free to the open source community to help manage caches.  So, I wrote back:

It’s too little too late to say “we’ve got an unsubscribe link at the bottom.”  I sign up for things I’m interested in.

To be clear, I /like/ $COMPANY.  I think you, as a company, are doing neat stuff.

But I /also/ think this kind of approach is really really lame.   I know it’s the standard way that these things are done.  That cold calling and soliciting people who might be interested (or not) to get business.

But for all us technologists, it’s just annoying trash.   This isn’t how to make yourselves look like rock stars to us.   Presenting meaningful talks at conferences is.  Offering cool tools that we can use to better our websites is.   And you’re evening doing these things!

And let me be clear, I’m not pissed off at you, $PERSON.  I just really hate this style of advocacy, and I think it doesn’t serve you well.

And I sent that.   To any of your marketing types to read this, this is my take away for you:

  1. Don’t spam your existing contacts.  It’s off-putting.  We don’t like it, and
  2. Do more interesting things than spam.  Show yourselves to be world-class through your deeds.


Digital Rights, New Media, and Copyright Infringement

I discovered today that a work of mine has been infringed upon.   Let me back up, and tell a story.  Long ago, months, maybe sometime last year, (one of their interns, anyway) approached me about using a photograph in my flickr stream in one of their projects.   I told them no, and that they should never look to my photostream as a source of images.  I’m not interested in licensing them my photographs for merely attribution.  That’s why my flickr stream is set at “All rights reserved.”  Not some rights, all of them.

I understand that it can be a hard thing as a new media company to figure out what images online can be used, and the ones that can’t.  But I expect, and I demand that everyone who is going to do this operate as professionals. And being a professional means doing the work to figure out the source and the license terms of the images you want.

It’s very easy in the new web 2.0 world to hire an intern, and tell them, “Hey, go browse flickr for images that look like X, Y, and Z.”  Super easy, and you’d think, super effective at getting great content.  Given how many images that flickr has in their databases, you’d be right.

The image at right of the garlic is the one that NowPublic copied to their servers. I am an artist; my time and particular point of view are what make the things that I create have value.   I even have it available for licensing, but unless you speak to me *FIRST*, you’re stealing my work, and my effort, and my intellectual property.

Here’s what they did:  The copied my image, and put it on their server, in the hopes that I’ll either be overjoyed to have someone accept me, or at least that I’ll accept their use.   But that’s not the case.  My art is meaningful to me, and it’s not free for anyone to take and use.

Infringing act

Being new media means doing new things, creative things. But it also means respecting content creators and their rights.  NowPublic doesn’t appear to do this.  I’m really disappointed in them, and I know that I’m not going to think of them positively when asked about them.  How hard is it to ask first?


The end of Ivey, film processing, resources for local (analog) photographers

I heard the other day that Ivey Photo is going out of business today, June 30th. What a shame! They’ve always treated me well as a customer; answering my questions, and being helpful. I’ve been a smallish user of film development through them, and a non-user of their other services (quality printing).

But then I heard last week that they were going out of business, as seen in the Seattle-PI.

So today I stopped in and I thanked them for all the great work they’d done for me; for the help that they’d provided me in being an artist, and doing my art. Jesse, whose last day is today, thanked me for what I’d said. He gave me some resources for other local film development.

I got into photography a long while ago, and I only got good at it when I stopped, slowed down, and used film. I think it was because the process had a lot more labor behind it for me — that for everything I did I had to be sure about my choices because I couldn’t simply correct them on the fly and recover there. I had to know that I was composing things well, and had to commit to the choice of firing the shutter.

I’m writing this post to both promote the local analog photography community, and to bring attention to the existance of the community. Here are some local resources for doing film photography around Seattle:

Film Processing

  • Moonphoto
    7704 Greenwood Ave. N.
    Seattle, WA 98103
    35mm and 120 B&W, C-41, and E-6 film processing, and scanning, darkroom printing, exhibition grade fiber prints, copying of negatives. Pricing is roughly $8.50/roll for development, less if other services are combined with it.
  • Panda Photographic Lab
    533 Warren Ave N.
    Seattle, WA 98109
    C-41, E-6, B&W film development, exhibition grade prints, B&W darkroom prints, digital prints, optical color prints, other services.
  • Film Stop
    508 3rd Ave W
    Seattle, WA 98119

Scanning / Digital

  • Cosgrove Editions
    Dick Busher
    Tango Drum Scans, Inkjet prints on archival rag stock, giclee)

Printing / Mounting

  • Wallingford photo center
    1815 n 45th st
    suite 104
    seattle, wa 98103
  • Dos Rhinos (Giclee printing)
    31004 28th ave S
    Federal Way, WA 98003
  • Color One (Mounting / Finishing)
    Carl Bebe
    411 2nd ave south
    seattle, wa 98104

I’m going to miss Ivey being around. Their services were awesome, and it’s a blow to the community for them to be gone. I hope this list proves useful.

Burned out at Burning Man (Sierra Club article)

A friend of mine referred me to this article that is the cover story for the July issue of the Sierra Club’s magazine. The article presents interesting arguments about the balance between the kinds of gigantic, fiery self-expression, about creating community, and changing peoples’ minds through radical expression.

It’s an interesting read, and made me think sovaldi india. It’s an interesting article. Go read it! :)

Take care,

8 Million Gallons of Sewage Spilled into Ravenna Creek

So apparently over the last 10 days or so, King County has spilled about 8 million (total) gallons of sewage into Ravenna Creek (and then Lake Union/Lake Washington).  This strongly impacts local ecology and recreational areas around here.  The place impacted is at the Seattle Arboretum, and beautiful place to photograph wildlife and native vegetatio, and it will be impacted for a long time over this!

I am appalled at the County and their apparent negligence over this matter.

Mistake sends raw sewage into Ravenna Creek


From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

An estimated 8 million gallons of raw sewage has poured into Ravenna Creek after county crews mistakenly diverted it into a Seattle storm drain, a King County spokeswoman said Saturday.

The sewage has overflowed at a rate of 800,000 gallons a day for 10 days and likely went into Union Bay, county Wastewater Treatment Division spokeswoman Annie Kolb-Nelson said.

“We are committed to finding out what happened,” she said. “A spill of this level is unacceptable. We need to take steps to prevent this.”

Dentistry, mouth feel, nitrous, and lisping.

Yesterday, I had to go to the dentist.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had dental work.  Like 10 years long time.   So I’m behind on my maintenance.  Yesterday was my third time seeing this dentist, and the first time having invasive work done.  I highly recommend Loren Tarr in Madrona.  Great guy.  Very nice, very kind.

A couple years ago, one of my molars; which had a few fillings in it, and it broke.  I pulled the pieces out that I could when it happened, and things mellowed out with it.  It didn’t cause me problems, so I let it be.

I have a lot of work that I need done in my mouth.  Fillings on a lot of teeth.  A handful of crowns.   Lots of fun.  Maybe $9000 of work needed.  Yesterday, he did some of that work. Three fillings in my upper left quadrant of my mouth, the extraction of the old broken root-tip, and a decayed tooth that was a lost cause.  Those came out, and I went home.  He gave me a scrip for vicodin, but I don’t think I need it.  Yesterday was the only day with pain.

They asked me if I wanted nitrous oxide.  I said yes.  What a trip!  At first, they asked me if I was feeling it, and I wasn’t, so I told them no. They turned it up.   And then I felt it.  It was kinda fun, and for a while, as they were preparing to begin, things were floaty and disassociative.  But then I got to feeling that I was too disconnected from what was going on, so I had them turn it down some.   Proceedure occurred. Fillings happened.  Somewhere.  I wasn’t terribly engaged to what was going on.  Which is the point.  Time passed (somewhere).  Then I had them turn it down some more, cuz I was feeling overwhelmed.

Then we got to the extraction.  Of the broken molar in the back, that was easy, and I didn’t even notice it happen.  But the front.  Oh god.  I had him tell me what he was doing as he did it, because otherwise I would have not known.  I hate to not know.  They use a tool that presses between the tooth and the bone to move the bone a little.  Bone is softer than tooth.  It felt … odd.  And it crunched a little.  Ugh.    And then it came out.  I kept the tooth, and it’s at home somewhere.

Now I have a flipper (two fake teeth on a removeable partial plate, like a denture).    The flipper was then test-fitted.  It fit ok, as far as we could tell with half my face numb.

I hate it.   It feels weird.   Eating is weird, and now I lisp.  So, next week when I go back for the follow-up I’m going to talk to my dentist about this, and move up the priority on dental implants for the missing front tooth.  The rear one too, I guess.  But I want to be able to do without this as soon a possible.