Electronic Calendars Are The Tool of the Devil

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Still in New Zealand and heading home soon. Lots to share, but I can't resist posting this blog post by Joshua Topolsky, in which he ruthlessly destroys a moronic NYTimes article about the prevalence of paper calendars:

[H]ow can anyone repeat this luddite drivel with a straight face? It’s not just that much of what is printed in this article is untrue — a lot of it comes off as downright silly, and the author doesn’t seem to take a moment to ask any of these people to qualify their statements. It’s like she wrote the piece to back up arguments made by those profiled. The result is a piece that seems more intent on propagating one skewed view than it does with telling a story that has legitimate meaning.

New Zealand: Day 1

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Arrived in Wellington, NZ last night after 24 hours of brutalizing travel. Spent the day yesterday trying to stay awake, but I was able to wander around Wellington and try to capture the local flavor through my lens. The following were taken using my Canon 50D and my Fuji X100:



Big thanks to /Filmcast listener Sam for taking me around, and being incredibly patient with me as I got increasingly loopy.

I'm Going to New Zealand

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On Sunday, July 24th, I'll be getting on a plane and heading to Wellington, New Zealand. Paramount Pictures will be funding part of my journey, during which I'll get to visit WETA, meet Peter Jackson, and chat about his new film The Adventures of Tintin. However, I'm also paying out of my own pocket to stay in New Zealand for a few extra days. My hope is to see some of the spectacular sights of the South Island and visit some locations from Lord of the Rings while I'm at it. If I have time/am conscious, I'll try to blog about my experiences, although it's more likely that I'll save all my content until I return home.

Obviously, updates will be sparse on here for about two weeks, but I plan to take tons of amazing photos that I hope you'll be pleased by.

If you have any suggestions for places I should definitely visit, please leave them in the comments (along with specific details about how I might get there). I'm planning on being on the South Island for about 2 days.

If any of you New Zealanders would like to meet me, I'll probably be hanging out at the lobby bar in the Museum Art Hotel in Wellington on Tuesday night (7/26) at around 8 PM. This could easily change though, so do follow me on Twitter to make sure you stay up to date with what's going.

Wish me safe travels. I'll see you on the other side.

The Importance of Endings

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Paul Ford has a nice meditation on the power of social networks to convey narrative, and why we still need curators (and journalists) to organize all the information out there for us, rather than computer algorithms:

I keep sensing some serious hurt feelings from the older-media side — "Why would you love that thing instead of me?" They act like my wife would if I brought home a RealDoll. But it's not like that. I don't think people love Twitter or Facebook in the same way they might love Parks and Recreation or Twilight. Rather, we like the beer and tolerate the bottle. And even if we have those other browser tabs open, we're still hungry for endings.

Four out of Five Community College Students Want a Transfer

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Lily Altavena, detailing widespread dissatisfaction with community colleges (via Mike):

As many as four out of five community college students in the United States want to transfer to a four-year institution so they can obtain a bachelor’s degree, according to a report released Thursday by the College Board. The report, on the challenges facing students who transfer from two-year public colleges to four-year institutions, also found that two of every five undergraduates in the United States is enrolled in a community college.

A Concise, Complete Guide to the News Corp. Hacking Scandal

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Interested in this whole News of the World debacle, but totally confused about who is hacking whom? Check out this excellent guide that you can read in just a few minutes! (via Jay Rosen)

The Price of Typos

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Virginia Heffernan, on the proliferation of typos online and in print:

Bad spellers are a breed apart from good ones. A writer with a mind that doesn’t register how words are spelled tends to see through the words he encounters — straight to the things, characters, ideas, images and emotions they conjure. A good speller, by contrast — the kind who never fails to clock the idiosyncratic orthography of “algorithm” or “Albert Pujols” — tends to see language as a system. Good spellers are often drawn to poetry and wordplay, while bad spellers, for whom language is a conduit and not an end in itself, can excel at representation and reportage.

"Forgiveness Was Not Enough"

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From the NYTimes comes a story about a man who tried to kill another man, and how the victim is trying to spare the killer's life (via Sara):

Q Mr. Stroman has admitted trying to kill you. Why are you trying to save his life?

A I was raised very well by my parents and teachers. They raised me with good morals and strong faith. They taught me to put yourself in others’ shoes. Even if they hurt you, don’t take revenge. Forgive them. Move on. It will bring something good to you and them. My Islamic faith teaches me this too. He said he did this as an act of war and a lot of Americans wanted to do it but he had the courage to do it — to shoot Muslims. After it happened I was just simply struggling to survive in this country. I decided that forgiveness was not enough. That what he did was out of ignorance. I decided I had to do something to save this person’s life. That killing someone in Dallas is not an answer for what happened on Sept. 11.

Readers Without Borders

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Borders will close down its 400 stores and its corporate headquarters, leaving over 10,000 people without jobs. Sure, we once hated how megacorporation chains destroyed mom-and-pops, but even the chains are dying out now. In the end, it's the readers that will lose.

Breaking Bad's Fourth Season Begins with a Bang

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Last night's Breaking Bad season premiere was an absolutely riveting hour of television. I'd strongly recommend you catch up on this thing if you haven't yet. And if you have already, do yourself a favor and check out Grantland's exquisite interview with Vince Gilligan, analyzing some of the finer points of the episode.

Truths About Weddings

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Melissa Lafsky lays down some harsh truths about what it means to commit to spend the rest of your life with a single person (and how weddings bring it all out):

Everything you don't absolutely adore about this magical human you've pledged yourself to is going to now manifest itself in wild screechy detail. You will fight about things you didn’t even register during those blissful days of moonlit walks and Sunday afternoon sex. Eventually, you will have to face a stunning reality: The person you are marrying is exactly who she/he is, and will never be anyone else. Not now, and not once you're married. Whether that's a beatific thing or a source of night terrors all depends on you. (Note that I didn't say it depends on your partner. If you don't like what you're marrying, then it's on you to either get over it or call it off. Sorry!!)

All your interactions will be weighed with a new gravity. When you do fight, it's fighting as a COUPLE THAT WILL BE MARRIED. Those things that were mere annoyances are now albatrosses draping your shoulders for eternity. (Seriously, it's no coincidence that Coleridge’s Mariner ranted to a wedding guest).

Photography Meets Rube Goldberg

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Mind-blowing. Simply mind-blowing (via Strobist).

Google Grouping

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Fascinating analysis of the necessity of putting friends into groups, and in particular, Google+'s cool Circles feature:

When I first started using Google+, I had a sense of déjà vu as I categorized my friends. I’d done this before… on Flickr, on Facebook, on Twitter, on my instant messenger contact list, and in my address book. Shortly thereafter, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth the effort to rigorously group everyone. Then I started thinking about whether it was ever worth the effort to do so...[T]here are some human subtleties we’re missing in the digital world.

Love Fraud

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Tracy Clark-Flory wrote a piece reporting on "love fraud," where scammers convince marks to fall in love and send them money. It's a fine piece, but I was really hit by this last paragraph:

It's easy to hear these stories and think, "What dupes." But who isn't looking for some form of connection and understanding online, whether it's on Facebook or OKCupid? We broadcast so much of ourselves -- sometimes unwittingly revealing our greatest hopes and fears -- and romance scammers use those personal details to target a collective craving. That's the real enabler in these cons, and its one most of us are vulnerable to: The desire for love. As one user wrote to a troubled poster who expressed still finding enjoyment in talking to her scammer despite having found out the truth about them, "Stay strong - someone will eventually come that will be honest and not wanting to play with your feelings."


Psychoanalyzing Conan O'Brien

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Scott Tobias has a great summary of some recent Conan O'Brien-related pop culture paraphernalia, including the recent War for Late Night book by Bill Carter and Rodman Flender's disappointing documentary, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop:

All the attributes on display in Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop—the ceaseless drive to perform, the ability to connect broadly with audiences and improvise on the fly, and, yes, the need for constant gratification—underlines a point made in Carter’s The War For Late Night: Very few people can do what Conan does. Greater and lesser lights have tried and failed, from Magic Johnson to Pat Sajak to Chevy Chase to Dana Carvey, but only a handful can capably manage the various moving parts that go into the show—the monologue, the interviews, the remote segments and bits of sketch-comedy business—and get it done every night, in a marathon run with a finish line that keeps receding into the horizon. It takes a special kind of versatility and brilliance to pull it off (and I wouldn’t exclude Leno from that, however determinedly mediocre his show), and Conan, after a famously rough start, has logged the thousands upon thousands of hours to prove it. He’s a comic entertainer with very specific qualities: He’s not a stand-up, but he can get through monologues. He’s not an actor, but he can goof his way around desk and sketch bits. He’s a talk show host, a rare fusion of diverse attributes.

Massachusetts Implements Strict Health Rules for Public School Food

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Sometimes, it feels good to be a Massachusetts resident:

The state Public Health Council this morning unanimously approved new rules aimed to improve the nutrition of food served in Massachusetts public schools. The nutrition standards, which take effect in the 2012-13 school year and are believed to be the strictest in the country, prohibit fried foods, sugary and artificially sweetened beverages, and foods high in sodium. The rules apply to food sold in vending machines, snack bars, and a la carte offerings in cafeterias.

Traffic

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Interest in the unreleased teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is at a fevered pitch. Yesterday, /Film took the unorthodox step of posting a description of the trailer. Sure, people might think such a posting goes too far in the world of fandom, but the interest has gotten so insane that every time we post ANYTHING related to The Dark Knight Rises, our servers stutter as thousands of film fans simultaneously click through the front page to see us eat of the scraps from Christopher Nolan's table.

You could cluck your tongue and furrow your brow at this behavior. But above all others, Dustin Rowles from Pajiba totally gets it:

A movie like The Dark Knight Rises generates a ton of web traffic. For instance, that description of The Dark Knight Rises trailer on Slashfilm was retweeted over 100 times and Liked on Facebook nearly 300 times. It probably generated thousands of page views. So, while we were all making fun of Peter over at Slashfilm for posting it, he was probably laughing his ass off as his wallet grew three sizes because that one post generated more traffic than a lot of movie blogs put up in a week, a notion that makes some of the more high-minded assholes weep in their Ramen noodles. The economy is in the tank, but he just paid a writer for a week. He’s got an audience; he caters to it, and honestly — as TK so eloquently put it — the rest of us can go f*ck ourselves. After all, in the 100 or so comments underneath the description, what I didn’t see from his readers was, “You asshole. I can’t believe you posted this.” It’s taken for what it’s worth, and the world moves on. It’s not like we’re dealing with the debt crisis, like Emily Miller — a political reporter for the Washington Times — who actually tweeted in the midst of debt negotiations: “Forget debt ceiling … hello tan Clooney. RT @popsugar: Wow! Newly single #GeorgeClooney is lookin’ good in Cancun!”

World Lessons Learned

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Benny Lewis shares life lessons he learned while travelling around the world for almost a decade (via Kevin). Here's my favorite one:

Too many people presume that when they have that one thing they can work towards for years then “everything will be alright”. This is delusional. When you get it, there’ll be something else missing in your life. I fundamentally believe that long-term pure happiness from one particular situation or achievement is a pipe-dream, but we can learn to be content with what we have, live in the now, all while enjoying the progress and changes we are making. If your whole life is working up towards one really big major goal that you hold on to for years, then you will have a major anticlimax after the dust settles. Work towards it, but stop deferring your happiness.

Get there slower and enjoy the ride.

You Can't Just Break Bad

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Fascinating piece on Breaking Bad (via Donald), and how it compares favorably to The Wire, The Sopranos, and Mad Men (I agree on at least two of those counts):

It's not just that watching [Walter] White's transformation is interesting; what's interesting is that this transformation involves the fundamental core of who he supposedly is, and that this (wholly constructed) core is an extension of his own free will. The difference between White in the middle of Season 1 and White in the debut of Season 4 is not the product of his era or his upbringing or his social environment. It's a product of his own consciousness. He changed himself. At some point, he decided to become bad, and that's what matters.

The Legality of Pixelation

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I'm fascinated by the legal intricacies of Fair Use, and I love me my photography, so when I first heard about the battle over Andy Baio's pixelated rendition of Jay Maisel's iconic Miles Davis photograph (seen above), I was intrigued. The short version is that Maisel took a great photo, Baio repurposed it --creating a pixelated version that he believed was covered under Fair Use -- and Maisel sued his ass off. People on the internets got pretty upset because they thought that Maisel was stifling art and generally being a dick. This internet mob had real-life consequences for Maisel, who found himself as the unfortunate target of harassment and online character assassination.

Was it justified? Jeremy Nicholl has weighed in with an in-depth assessment, and he's not kind to Baio, nor one of his defenders, Thomas Hawk:

Andy Baio, a man with a history of breaking and encouraging others to break intellectual property laws, made a considerable amount of money selling his intellectual property to Yahoo [...] His account of his dispute with Jay Maisel provided an ammunition dump for those who wished to attack the photographer for defending his work under the same laws that allowed Baio to profit. And Andrew Peterson / Thomas Hawk has gleefully raided that dump to conduct a campaign of defamation and vilification against Maisel, neglecting to disclose his own recent history of being caught out for copyright infringement and libel.

See Andy Baio's response to Nicholl by clicking here. For further reading, check out Baio's original post on the topic, as well as Copyhype's deconstruction of Baio's Fair Use argument.

One Week With Master Photographer Jerry Ghionis

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Jerry Ghionis is a genius.

I mean that in every sense of the word. Not only is Ghionis one of the world's best wedding photographers (as evidenced by his voluminous list of accolades and awards), he's an amazing salesman and a phenomenal educator as well.

Readers of this blog will know that I've been investing heavily (both in time and resources) in my photography recently. When I learned that Ghionis would be in Boston for a five-day seminar, I was enticed until I saw the price: $2,200. I debated for quite awhile whether or not the seminar would be the best way for me to spend my money at this stage in my photography career. In fact, I agonized over this expenditure. But two separate people I spoke with (Evgenia and Tim Cook) described the seminar as "life-changing." Plus, I heard that people frequently traveled here from out of the country to attend Ghionis' seminars. Could I really turn down an opportunity to learn from the master in my own backyard? The answer was no.

In early June, I pulled the trigger. I was the last person to get a spot in the 20-person seminar. What follows is a description of the structure of the seminar, some reflections on what I learned, and my general impression as to whether Ghionis' seminars are worth the cost.

The Schedule

Ghionis' seminar lasted five days and four nights. On Day 1, all of the photographers arrived at the Boston Radisson, fresh and eager to have their minds filled. Many had traveled across state lines to be here, and one had flew here from Puerto Rico to take the seminar. It is not a stretch to say that I was the least experienced photographer in the entire room; many of the students had wedding photography businesses that were decades old (more on this later).

Day 1 consisted almost completely of critiques of images that people brought in (each photographer was instructed to bring in 15 images that were representative of their work). Many photographers, including myself, found these critiques to be fairly brutal. Ghionis' is incredibly gracious, but it doesn't change the fact that one's work is being laid bare and objectively evaluated for all to see. It was during this critique that we learned many of Ghionis' principles and "rules" governing his photography, rules such as:

  • Always shoot on the shadow side of the face
  • The leg closest to the camera should be the one that is bent
  • Females hands should always be relaxed and softened
And countless others. All in all, it was an educational experience that helped to set the stage for the rest of the workshop. It also gave each of us the tools to critique our own work in the future.

It was Day 2 that my mind really started to get blown. After completing the previous day's critiques, Ghionis went more in depth into his posing and lighting techniques using real-life models. Then, everyone slung their cameras around their shoulders and we left the room to go out and shoot. First, though, Ghionis used some areas in the hotel to demonstrate some of his lighting principles. For instance, here's an area just outside of the hotel bathroom that Ghionis thought had some cool light:


Here's a resulting shot that I was able to get from this set-up:


It is pretty remarkable how Ghionis was able to take ordinary objects and situations and render them into extraordinary photographs.

As we departed the hotel and wandered around Boston, Ghionis only used one camera and one lens (a Nikon D3s with a 70-200mm, although prior to the workshop, Ghionis frequently sported the Canon 5D Mark II), but the images that he was able to obtain were amazing. Here are a few images of the class wandering around the streets of Boston, with Ghionis explaining his techniques:







As you can see, Ghionis will position himself in any way to get just the right shot, which was inspiring to witness. Here are some of the shots I was able to obtain from the day. [Please note that all of the following shots were not set up/posed by me, and thus, do not represent my work nor belong to my portfolio.]





Part of Day 2 also involved each student getting 10 minutes with two of the models. Each of us was instructed to produce a shot that demonstrated what we had learned. Here is mine (though again, the following was produced for workshop purposes only and does not belong to my portfolio):


It was a pretty nerve-racking 10 minutes, trying to remember all that Ghionis had taught us in the previous 24 hours, but I had learned so much that I found my own personal improvement to be dramatic.

One of the many revelations I had during the course of the week was the importance of getting things right "in-camera." Unlike myself and many photographers I know, Ghionis doesn't shoot very much during the course of a wedding day; rather than fixing things in Photoshop later, he opts to compose the image and get the exposure correct immediately. This is such a simple principle, but it saves so much time and forces a degree of creativity that wouldn't really be necessary otherwise. It's certainly something I now think about every single time I put a viewfinder to my face.

Day 2 began at 10 am in the morning, but did not conclude until about 11:30 pm that night (9 hours of which was spent walking around Boston). By that point, most of the members in class were tired and sweaty; our feet hurt and we wanted to go home. Not Ghionis, though, who was tireless and seemed intent on giving us our money's worth. It was an extraordinary, revelatory day and I will count it as a formative one in the development of my photographic style.

Day 3 involved critiques of the images we'd obtained from the previous day, and continued with Ghionis discussing some of his techniques for getting emotion out of his subjects to achieve those perfect, how-in-the-heck-was-he-there-at-the-right-place-and-the-right-time shots. We then went out on the town again for some more improvisation with light and more shots with models. It concluded (relatively) early at 6 pm.

On Day 4, we put the cameras away and after a morning critique of the previous day's images, we discussed album design, pricing, and branding. Ghionis is old school; he believes in the emotional power of a physical album. After you hear him describe it, you will believe too. One of Ghionis' principles is to shoot the wedding with the intention of making the photographs tell a story through the album. A great beauty and a great economy of images is achieved in this fashion.

For many individuals, if their house were on fire, the first thing they would save is their wedding album. How, then, should we think of its value to clients? How valuable should it be to us as wedding photographers? Ghionis instilled this sense of value in all the students on the room. He does not believe "upselling" is a dirty word, and there's good reason for it; spoiling people, or allowing them to spoil themselves shouldn't be thought of in a negative fashion.


The evening concluded with in-depth critiques of students' existing branding materials. This session was even more brutal than the initial critiques of people's images, as Ghionis emphasized how important it was to make a good impression on people. Does your branding/logo scream elegance and luxury? Or does it reek of desperation and amateurishness? The difference between the former and the latter is thousands of dollars worth of sales. Many students made decisions this evening that would change the course of their businesses, and possibly their lives.

Finally, on Day 5, we discussed marketing ideas. Ghionis knows how to market the hell out of himself and his tips were extremely useful. Whatever Ghionis was selling, I was buying (literally! I walked out of the seminar having spent an additional $400 on his materials).

At the end of the day, Ghionis asked us to go around the room and discuss what we had learned that week. The breadth of people's shared knowledge was staggering, but what surprised and impressed me were the emotional epiphanies that people had. People left the seminar feeling empowered to be the best photographers and businesspeople that they could be. Ultimately, that seemed to be worth more than any photography tips Ghionis could muster from his formidable background.


Ghionis' Style

If you've seen any of Ghionis' videos, you may already know that his personality is magnetic. He has loads of charisma, he's incredibly knowledgeable, and he has a great (and sometimes crude, but hilariously so) sense of humor. He also has enormous amounts of patience, which helps when one is dealing with endless questions from a bunch of less experienced photographers.

The only shortcomings of the seminar didn't actually come from Ghionis, but from some of the other photographers. Let me get this out of the way: the overwhelmingly vast majority of people in the seminar were totally awesome and great, and I feel like I have formed some lasting friendships with several of them. All that being said, I had a strong distaste for students' who used the seminar as their own private therapy session, repeatedly going into detail (unprompted) about struggles with their own businesses. Equally vexing were those students who seemed to believe that they were also supposed to be teaching the seminar. When I'm taking a night class at a community college, this type of behavior is totally fine, but when I'm forking over $2200 for an intensive 5-day workshop, this takes away time from the master photographer I actually spent money and time to hear.

A lesser teacher would have gotten flustered and possibly allowed these people to derail the conversation. But Ghionis proved himself a master in more ways than one, always keeping things on track and never rebuking students, even when it was clear that others in the class wanted to do so. The man has endless depths of patience, and earned my respect many times over.

[I also must note that Ghionis' wife, Melissa, helps him run his business/seminar, and she is possibly one of the nicest people I have ever met. She made me feel welcome and addressed many of my questions with warmth and grace. The two make for an unstoppable partnership.]

Conclusion

The ultimate goal of Ghionis' seminar is to get people to the point where they can charge whatever they want to shoot weddings. And while he offers practical tips to get to this point, his seminar is just as much about self-empowerment as it is about wedding photography. There was something incredibly refreshing and animating about that. Ghionis provides struggling and aspiring entrepreneurs the tools with which to take control of their destiny. And as a result, I have nothing but admiration for the man.

So is the Jerry Ghionis seminar worth it?

In one week, Ghionis forever changed the way I look at lighting...and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that he changed the way I look at life itself. I don't agree with all aspects of Ghionis' style but he's given me the tools to create stunning photographs; now all I need to do is practice them. He also made me re-evaluate my values, and how I might position myself as a wedding photographer. He made me think about the incredible service that wedding photographers provide to couples, and taught us how to be proud of the work we do.

In other words, not only was the seminar worth every penny, I can't wait to go to another one!

Epilogue

The day after the seminar was over, I asked my colleague Rachell if she would allow me to photograph her using the new techniques I had learned. I decided to challenge myself by shooting in direct sunlight, a lighting situation I absolutely hate. Here are the photos that resulted:



There are still a lot of things I would fix about these photos, but I think they represent a marked improvement over my photography prior to this point. I look forward to continuing my photographic journey and was grateful that Mr. Ghionis was a part of it.

Atlanta Teachers Found Cheating on Their Students' Tests

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Kim Severson, writing in The New York Times:

A state investigation released Tuesday showed rampant, systematic cheating on test scores in this city’s long-troubled public schools, ending two years of increasing skepticism over remarkable improvements touted by school leaders.

How Boston Lost Facebook

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Laura Keeley, on how Facebook got turned down by Boston venture capitalists:

Boston area firms missed out on the social networking boom in part because many didn’t grasp its significance, said Howard Anderson, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-founder of Battery Ventures. He said the average angel investor in Boston is about 55 years old. In California, the average is 32, he said. “It became a generational issue,” he said. “To understand things like Facebook, you have to be 19 to 24 years old. If you’re 56, you don’t quite get it.”

The Psychic Violence of Divorce

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A moving essay by Susan Gregory Thomas about the wounds that divorce can inflict upon a family, and how Generation X has tried to avoid the mistakes of its forebearers.

Horrendous Diet Ads Part of a Vast Spam Conspiracy

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Does the unappealing ad above look familiar? It's appeared on websites everywhere, including The Guardian, MSNBC, Facebook, and of course, /Film. The ad has racked up billions upon billions of impressions in the past couple of years, and it turns out, the story behind it as just as unappealing as the illustration itself:

The innocent-seeming “1 Tip” ad is actually the tip of something much larger: a vast array of diet and weight-loss companies hawking everything from pills made from African mangoes to potions made from exotic acai berries. Federal officials have alleged that the companies behind the ads make inflated claims about their products and use deceptive means to market them.

CBS Alters Photos of Boston Fireworks

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Sketchy, sketchy stuff:

Those who watched Boston’s revered Fourth of July celebration Monday night on CBS were treated to spectacular views of fireworks exploding behind the State House, Quincy Market, and home plate at Fenway Park, among other places - great views, until you consider that they were physically impossible.

The Deterioration of the Institution of Marriage

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Sorry the updates have been sparse all week. I've spent the past five days at an intense photography seminar with the amazing Jerry Ghionis. I have a TON to say about this that will definitely go into a blog post about the entire experience early next week. But in the meantime, I thought I'd share this interesting opinion piece I came upon by eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren (via Kevin):

[I]nspiring marriages don't happen by accident. They require highly informed and carefully reasoned choices. Commitment and hard work are factors too. But after decades of working with a few thousand well-intended and hardworking married people, I've become convinced that 75 percent of what culminates in a disappointing marriage -- or a great marriage -- has far less to do with hard work and far more to do with partner selection based on "broad-based compatibility." It became clear to me that signs which were predictive of the huge differences between eventually disappointing and ultimately great marriages were obvious during the premarital phase of relationships.

More Shooting with the Fuji X100: Soccer Nights and Matt's Graduation Party

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I had the opportunity to shoot two events this past weekend: Soccer Nights, held by Vineyard's Cambridge church, and my friend Matt's graduation party in Western, MA. For Soccer Nights, I took my trusty old 70-200mm f/2.8 on my Canon 7D, but I also packed along my new Fuji X100.

Soccer Nights is such an awesome, inspiring program. Volunteers from all over the city come to give kids a place to have community with each other. I was blown away both by the organizers and all the people who donated time to make this event as fun as it was:



All the wide-angle shots in the above photo set are taken with the Fuji, while everything close-up is done using the Canon 7D.

Quality-wise, I think you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two cameras. And as I am fond of mentioning, the Fuji X100 even gets better low-light performance than the 7D in many instances.

Focusing on the Fuji stinks. The manual focus (via focusing ring) is essentially unusable, but using regular autofocus is also a pain in the neck because you need to manually select "Macro" mode to focus on anything close up. I leave it in manual focus but hit the "AFL" button, which makes the camera automatically determine whether or not to enter macro mode or not. In low-light situations, this can still be problematic.

The dynamic range on the Fuji X100 is incredible. Images like this provide detail in both the sky and on the ground, in a way that my DSLRs simply do not do:

Soccer Nights 86

The Fuji X100 requires a lot more careful composing than other cameras. Since auto focus is slow, you need to choose your shots and your moments carefully. It helps when people generally don't mind you taking photos of them, as was the case this past weekend at Matt's graduation party (at which I used the Fuji X100 exclusively):



Overall, I still love this camera and how tack sharp some of these images can be. I just wish the focusing would suck a little bit less, and that the controls were a little bit more responsive.

The Rise of "Douchebag"

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Ben Trawick-Smith documents the rise of the term "douchebag" to describe generally despicable people:

So let’s put the pieces together. In 1960, when douching was a much more common practice and perhaps more prominent in the public imagination, douchebag would have had a much more disgusting connotation, and likely would have been avoided for this reason. But in the 21st-Century, at a time when many people barely remember what douching was to begin with, it might be taken as a less offensive insult.

"Enthusiast" Is Pejorative

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John Gruber recently called out AllThingsD for failing to provide name attribution to an Apple-focused website. Today, he elaborates on that:

“Enthusiast site” is pejorative. Enthusiast implies that MacStories is produced by zealous hobbyists. Not naming the site at all implied that the site was not worthy of being named. To later attribute it to “macstories.net” rather than “MacStories” implies that it is something less than a fellow peer publication, and not even worth the effort of hitting the shift key to camelcase the M and S. MacStories is the name of the website; macstories.net is MacStories’s domain name. This is subtle, yes, but it is a disparagement nonetheless — the most begrudging form of attribution that could have been added.

As someone who writes for what many would describe as an "enthusiast" website, I can relate.