Month: July 2012

Jury Duty!

Yes, the letter of doom has appeared. Okay, not really. Unlike some, I understand jury duty as part of my responsibility as a citizen. I don’t exactly jump for joy when they call, but I don’t play the entitled spoiled brat game of complaining that jury duty is for all of those other people who’s time isn’t worth as much as mine. I go in when asked, I sit and answer questions when they want me to, and then I get thrown off by one lawyer or the other and I get to go home. See, the last seven times I’ve been called in over the last 20ish years, I’ve been a preemptory dismissal by one of the lawyers. Why? I guess I could say “ask them”, but that’d be a boring blog post. Some juries I’ve been ask to sit for I honestly haven’t wanted to be on, mostly because I (in one case, for instance) didn’t want to sit on a six week jury.  But in one case, it was expected to be a three day trial, and it was for solicitation at a massage parlor. How could I NOT do my civic duty? (she claimed entrapment, by the way…) The problem is, lawyers don’t want people who think things through too thoroughly. Simply being a geek and a software architect seems to be enough for some....

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On Workshops, Scams, Manners and Foolish Ideas

As a practical matter, if I can’t make a decision on a workshop based on the information you put on your site (and which I can search out online about it), I’m going to move on to a different workshop; I’m not going to go digging into a workshop like Fong suggests except in a really exceptional situation. If you don’t do a good job of convincing me to sign up with your online materials and marketing, I’m not going to chase you down and start asking questions. I’ll find someone else who does a better job of marketing their workshops. So as a workshop buyer, what am I looking for? It depends on the situation (of course). I break workshops down roughly into four types: Lecture-oriented seminars with larger audiences, like Art Wolfe’s current series, or the Strobist/McNally road tour. Primarily lecture with little or no hands-on. Smaller seminar/hands-on seminars about specific topics. Creative Live’s seminars are a good example, as are Syl Arena’s lighting seminars in Paso Robles. Smaller audience, more hands-on, more personal instruction and discussion. On-location workshops, where in many cases it’s more about the location than the teaching; in many cases, the workshop staff is more guide and teacher, although it depends on the staff and location. When I take that winter workshop in Yellowstone, I expect it to be much more about the...

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Bird photography code of ethics

I normally don’t post entire articles when I reference them, but I think it’s important to get these rules in as many eyeballs as possible. It seems like we have a discussion about once a year or so on one of the birding lists I’m on (and disclosure: I’m one of the moderator/owners of South Bay Birds) when we run into someone who’s getting too close or causing stress to the animals or birds they are looking at or trying to photograph. In this case, from reading the list, someone took the photographer aside and talked to him, and he was understanding and cooperative. That’s not always the case, unfortunately, and sometimes, the impact of the visits isn’t visible to you at the time, but is only obvious later — read, for instance, this story of the loss of a burrowing owl nest in Utah from being loved to death. Unfortunately, that’s happened here in the Bay area as well, where nests have been abandoned due to our enthusiasm for the birds. Most of the time when I’ve run into these situations, the photographers or birders involved just aren’t thinking about the impact of their actions. Once in a while, I’ve run into someone who doesn’t care, as long as they get their shot. If I see bad or negligent behavior, I’ll typically take some reference shots and if...

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Minnesota wins the lottery

Or maybe, the anti-lottery, because they’ll be handing out lottery-winning class stacks of money to Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. I like this deal for Minnesota, for the players, and for the NHL, for a lot of reasons (and I dislike it for a few, too. nothing’s perfect). What I really like about this deal: they guys didn’t go to (a) the team willing to give them the most money and (b) the team where they thought winning the Cup would be easiest. They went to a team that’s struggled to make the playoffs. While it’s easy to say “I didn’t do it for the money” when the choice is really which pile of money to choose, I’m happy to see these players went to a place where they are interested in building a winner. I also really like this deal because it’s another case of top NHL talent coming to the Western conference. This, of course, annoys the hockey media in places like New York and toronto that seem to believe that all of the good players by definition should be in those cities, and the rest of the league ought to realize they only exist for light dates. This is especially true whenever these media types have to leave the eastern time zone or when games start at times that interrupt their beauty naps. Anything that honks...

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Developer Complaints — some perspective

Let me put a little perspective into the discussions about what developers want out of their platform. Much of this is aimed at Apple, because IOS is the dominant revenue platform, but it’s true of all platforms to some degree or another; each has its strengths and weaknesses and possibilities…  Ex-Apple Employee Reveals The Biggest Complaints Developers Have About Working With Apple – Business Insider: If you want to know how iOS developers really feel about working with Apple, just ask Mike Lee. Lee has had plenty of interactions with developers [….] Apple has not done enough to crack down on knock-off apps. This one keeps coming up. I talked about this a few months ago the last time it came up. The bottom line is that at best, this is difficult to do. In practice, if Apple DID become more active about this, it’d simply open itself up to a different set of complaints, and some nasty legal liabilities. It’s a no-win situation for Apple. And back when I was working with webOS developers, some of the apps they bitched about not deserving to be in the catalog also were some of the better sellers among the general public. quality and crap are in the eye of the beholder. A big complaint that developers have is they are cut off from their customers,” Lee said. “If I have...

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