WordPress 2.0

January 13, 2006

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Just upgraded to WordPress 2.0. You may see differences, you may not. It's new to me. And yes. This is what I'm doing on a Friday night. I have been sick today and don't have anything better to do that won't make me sicker…. Plus. I'm a geek.


MarketPlace Music

January 13, 2006

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One of my favorite radio shows is NPR's Marketplace. Among the positive points is the music they choose for the few second breaks between stories. For example, today they kicked in a few seconds of Superstitious. Happy Friday the 13th.


The beginning of the end for Nikons with film

January 12, 2006

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I had pretty much accepted that it would come sometime in my lifetime, but Nikon UK, today has announced that it's starting the phase out of their film bodies. Holy Shit.

As the film camera market shrinks and the popularity of compact digital cameras increases, demand for products that offer advanced features and extra value is continuing to grow. High performance digital SLR cameras are performing well as users shift from film-based SLR cameras or upgrade from compact digital cameras to digital SLR cameras. As a result of the new strategy Nikon will discontinue production of all lenses for large format cameras and enlarging lenses with sales of these products ceasing as soon as they run out of stock. This also applies to most of our film camera bodies, interchangeable manual focus lenses and related accessories. Although Nikon anticipates that the products will still be in retail distribution up to Summer 2006. In recognition of Nikon’s commitment to professional photographers we will continue to manufacturer and sell the F6, our flagship film model, as well as a number of manual interchangeable lenses. Sales of the manual FM10 will also continue outside Europe.


Completing The Fountainhead

January 12, 2006

Last night, I finished up Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead". There probably couldn't have been a better time for that book to find its way to me. I have a feeling Travis knew this when he recommended it and provided me with a copy.

My job is a good one and allows for me to exercise the creative part of my brain in bursts I doubt most people are afforded. However, it's still a corporate job nested inside a partnership with another organization.

One of my main responsibilities is to create new elements for the site. However, with our current structure, I only get to complete the initial steps of the creative process. I conceive of an idea, create the first drafts, and flesh it out to a working prototype. To make an analogy in the art world, this is where an artist has finished all their initial sketches; they have the complete vision in their head, and are ready to begin working in their medium.

Instead of moving to the final phase and brining the vision to light, this is the point where I hand it off to others. An entirely different company, literally.

My work is pulled apart, forced into their existing structure and slapped back together again. The craftsmanship I put in gets deformed. Elegance turns into Average. Refinements to create quality reduced to Just Good Enough.

This is the corporate process. This is the way it works. This is the way that it's always been, and I accept that. As long as I kept taking things as far as I could before throwing them into the corporate machine, I kept a good balance.

I've said for as long as I can remember that one of the main things I want to do in life is to build elegant works. Or, as I usually say it out loud, to make cool shit. In my current corporate world, this manifests itself in taking something as far as I can before handing it off. But over time, I stopped pay attention to the corporate process and it has been wearing me down more than I was aware. It wasn't a conscious thought, but in the back of my brain I knew the vision in my minds eye would not make it to the light of day.

I started to short circuit myself.

No one other than me would be able to tell since the reduced corporate output was effectively no different, but once I stopped a process short the tension of creativity couldn't find a release. The result, not surprisingly, was that the creative core of my mind started to atrophy. Since that part of my mind is my driving force, the outcome being that I really haven't been myself for a while.

The good news: all it's taken for me to get my head screwed back on right is an excellent story that reminded me that I need to create as much as I can and keep those mystical creative juices flowing.


Quote on E-mail length

January 11, 2006

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I've found the time it takes to reply to emails is a rather steep function of their length. Two-liners I often respond to immediately. Very long emails can take me six months to get around to answering. – Paul Graham


Dad's Bio

January 10, 2006

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There is a local radio show called Music from the Electro Lounge that I listen to a lot on the local NPR station. Tonight they are doing and 80s edition with music and some interspersed audio clips. One of the clips was the announcement of the assassination attempt of President Reagan. This, got me thinking about the book my dad wrote with/about Dennis McCarthy. I remember him as "Denny" who was one of my dad's friends when we lived in D.C. He was also the Secret Service agent who tackled Hinckley when he fired on Reagan. Anyway, I pulled down a copy of the book and just flipped thru it for a sec. On the dust cover is a bio for my dad: Philip W. Smith was born in Fayetteville, Tennessee, and attended the University of Southern Mississippi for one year before joining the Huntsville (Alabama) Times. In 1971 he became the paper's Washington correspondent and spent the next twelve years in the capital working for Newhouse Newspapers. He now lives in Huntsville, Alabama, with his wife, Susan, and their ten-year-old son, Alan.


Being carded

January 09, 2006

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Tonight I went out with a few friends for a quick drink after work to celebrate my 31st birthday. I got carded and no one else (most younger than me) did. Makes me laugh just a little.


A new/old word: bromide

January 08, 2006

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Toward the end of Rand's "The Fountainhead", the word "bromide" is used a lot. I've only ever heard it used in its chemical reference before. Never would have guessed it had a second meaning. bro·mide n. 1. a. A binary compound of bromine with another element, such as silver. b. Potassium bromide. 2. a. A commonplace remark or notion; a platitude. See Synonyms at cliché. b. A tiresome person; a bore. In the book it's used as both 2a and 2b. Mainly the former. Each time I come across it in the text, I become aware of the fact that I'm reading and I realize I wasn't seeing words until I hit it. It's not unlike a speed bump that you didn't notice and it jars you out of auto-pilot.


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