Monthly Archives: February 2005

Four Years

It was four years ago today that I did the first weblog entry here. At the time I was investigating an online service called Blogger because it seemed to be a competitor to the ZWNews software which Don Thorp and I were selling.
It turned out that it was and it wasn’t a competitor. Blogger offered itself as a service and it seemed to be being adopted by individuals who wanted to write about things personal to them. ZWNews was software you had to install and it was marketed towards businesses needing easy maintenance of news on the front page of a company site. Long after I stopped trying to compare the two and accepted that there was very little interest in ZWNews I was still maintaining a weblog.
I’m looking forward to another four years of writing. I frankly cannot understand those who get started on this and then stop. Even if no one much is reading it, you’re always writing about something that interests you. It’s the house organ and it plays the house’s favorite songs. Write about what you care about and let an audience find you.

Stock Photography On The Cheap

I often find uses for photographs. Whether it’s for a website design or fresh desktop wallpaper or the design of a greeting card, the perfect photo is the start of a great project.
In the past I’ve plugged iStockphoto on several occassions. But they’ve had multiple price increases in the last couple of years that have made buying an image about six times what it used to cost and that is assuming that you are willing to buy a bunch of “tokens” at a time. If you only want to buy one image at a time the costs (using BitPass) would be 12 times what they charged when I first signed up. On top of that the “tokens” you buy now expire in time if you don’t use them. After all, everyone knows those bits rot over time…
stock.xchng is new to me but obviously not new to the net because they’ve already amassed about half as many images as iStockPhoto (more than 100,000 as of Feb 17th 2005). I can’t really say that they are at the opposite end of the spectrum of pricing from iStockphoto because really iStockphoto isn’t that expensive compared to commercial sites like Corbis or Getty. But if you need a lot of images for some project and you need them high resolution you could end up spending several dollars per image at iStockPhoto, Stock.XCHNG is free. Yup, at this point entirely advertiser supported.
I don’t know if Stock.XCHNG will be able to stay free indefinitely. Hopefully they will. Also, I hope that they will eventually shift to using Creative Commons licenses for images so everybody can pick the license they want easily and they’ll be licenses that people are used to seeing from other areas. Currently they just have some one line descriptions of the options you have for uses people can have for your pictures. They aren’t as flexible, as recognized, as well explained, and perhaps not as legally binding.
Here are my pictures at the Stock.XCHNG.

Picasa 2 Is Not Perfect But You Probably Want It Anyway

Picasa 2 is a new version of the photo organizing/editing/viewing/etc. application that Google purchased. Why Google chose to buy software like that might be a question for you, it is certainly one for me and and I have no answer. Perhaps it was a bargain with the rebate that they had to send in.
It is available for free download (like Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 Starter Edition), quickly loads all your photos and will easily add more as you take them. It offers good printing options, ordering prints from services, etc. Again, all like Photoshop Album 2.0 SE. I don’t think it has tagging of images with their content that is of the same caliber as Photoshop Album’s free edition but it can do labeling. It more than makes up for sub-par labeling by including the ability to back up your photos. Adobe saw fit to remove that feature to encourage people to upgrade to their commercial product. Unfortunately, if your pictures are important to you, it makes using Photoshop Album a gamble unless you want to buy it. It was a bad move and definitely a callous one, but a not atypical one for Adobe.
As a result of the huge improvements in Picasa though, I’m definitely encouraging everybody who doesn’t have a good photo storage/cataloging/printing/etc. application right now to go download Picasa and use it. If you are already using Photoshop Album Starter Edition, switch to Picasa instead.