Monthly Archives: April 2011

iZettle, moving towards a cashless economy

Following on the heels of Square we have iZettle.

These are different from near field communication which is no doubt coming to mobile phones as well (payment by waving phone in the air).

Then there’s Mobil Speedpass, EZ Pass and no doubt many more systems like these.

Lots of ways to move money around without handling cash. Reminds me of an article some friends and I wrote about these things in 2002: Digital Independence. It’s dated now but many of the things we talked about almost ten years ago are taken for granted now.

Header pictures

I’ve been asked many times over the years about the pictures that appear at the top (header) of this site. So, I’ve finally decided to make a page that explains them.

Notice that there’s a link to that page on the sidebar in the first section and one on this site’s About page under “Header Pictures.”

The header pictures rotate automatically and are changed from time to time so if there’s one you want to know about that you’ve not seen on the Headers page look again, I’ll post to that page as I add new headers to the site.

For those technically inclined, the rotating script is from Matt Mullenweg and can be found here:

I took all the pictures with a variety of cameras over many years. I crop them to fit and store them in a Keynote file that makes it easy to rescale them.

Thanks for your nice feedback over the years about the images, I have many more to put up and will add them slowly over time.

Lens Cap Trap


A simple velcro kit for sticking a lens cap onto a camera strap so you don’t lose it. Very nicely done, not too expensive (you could make it yourself but why?) and its worth a try if you misplace lens caps.

I might give this a try although I tend to leave a lens hood on the lens on my camera and leave it uncapped while walking around or during an entire shoot, leaving the lens’ cap in my camera bag.

[via PetaPixel]

Ueli Steck speed climbs the north face of the Eiger

The north face of the Eiger, or “The Norwand” has been one of the test pieces for hard alpine mountain climbing for 100 years. It’s a 5900 foot wall of less than stable rock and ice located in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland.

Numerous books have been written about this particular wall on this particular mountain and numerous movies have involved it or been about climbing it. Given that it’s extremely steep mixed rock and ice in an alpine environment with unstable rock, avalanche problems and weather issues on the north (shady) side of a high mountain it has been considered one of the hardest climbs in the world.

Climbing it with a partner in a multi-day alpine climb is a huge achievement, what Ueli Steck has done is hard to even imagine.

Update: Don’t miss this related video of Ueli doing various tough climbs including El Capitan in a day: Ueli Steck – The Swiss Machine.

Zoom the movie out and watch it a few times for a nice taste of vertigo in the comfort of your home.


Bear Mountain in sunlight

Bear Mountain in Sunlight

Salisbury, Connecticut. Driving north toward the town of Salisbury I noticed that the storm clouds over Bear Mountain lifted and the sun lit it up. Dave in the car ahead of me noticed it too and we both stopped to try to get a shot of it.

We used two cars because we hiked from Salisbury to Bear Mountain on the Appalachian trail (the ridge to the left of Bear Mountain), one way, car to car. Very nice hike but the trail was flooded with water in places from the heavy rain we had on Saturday. You can see the stream in this field swollen as well.

More from Pine Swamp Beaver Pond


This small maple was felled directly toward the beaver lodge. No doubt they brought it down for food and a bit of house construction material.

Tree and reeds

The upper part of the small maple with grass and reeds reflected in the pond.

Reflected reeds

Reeds reflected in the beaver pond. The upper right hand corner is a beaver dam that spans the Pine Swamp forming the main pond that the lodge is in. There are four other dams that are part of this system.

All of these images were taken with the iPhone and the Instagram app using various filters.

Art for Japan Tsunami Relief

Art for Japan Tsunami Relief

My friend the artist Joy Brown is raffling this “dancing lady” wood-fired ceramic sculpture the proceeds of which are going to tsunami relief in Japan where she grew up.

Tickets are $20 and you can send checks to her or, if you’re overseas use paypal to send money. I’m late in posting this notice and I’m sorry about that, the raffle will end on midnight, April 20th. If you can’t make this deadline with mail, use paypal.

Find all the details here, including Joy’s email address for paypal users:

Good luck and thanks for taking part.

Apple iPhone-maker Foxconn ponders big Brazil move

Apple iPhone-maker Foxconn ponders big Brazil move

Tech companies are keen to sell to Brazilian consumers hungry for high-end electronics, but gadgets are often priced out of the market because of high production costs and import tariffs. Apple’s cheapest iPad, for example, retails for about $860 in Brazil, versus $400 in the United States.

India had or still has similar stiff import tariffs making it prohibitively expensive to sell even low priced electronics there.

Rand’s View on the Appalachian Trail

Rand's View

Salisbury, Connecticut. In guidebooks this is the best view in Connecticut. Not sure I agree but it’s a nice view north to Bear, Race, and Everett (mountains). Nice hike with a large group. Spring is here and there are only small patches of snow in shady spots. Yes!

This is the same image that I took with an iPhone. A “real” camera does a bit better.

iPhone needs to be burped to find MicroCell

We put an AT&T 3G MicroCell in our house and we now have five bars on both iPhone 4s in and around the house. We did this because we have very poor coverage here in Warren, one or two bars in the house most of the time.

The problem with this set up is that when we come home our phones will not let go of the weak local tower signal and pick up the MicroCell automatically. We have to turn the iPhone’s cellular radio off by putting it in airplane mode, then turn the radio back on by turning off airplane mode to get the phone to pick up the MicroCell.

This is not a once in a while thing, we have to do it every time.

It seems to me that this isn’t a problem with the MicroCell but a problem with the iPhone’s ability to determine that one signal is stronger than another and switch to it in the background. No doubt many of us have experienced this with wifi signals as well; you’re sitting right next to a wireless router but your device (iPhone, iPad, Mac or other wifi equipped device) won’t drop a weaker one it was connected to.

Somehow this seems similar to the problem iPad 2 owners are having picking up Verizon’s signal but who knows?

We were and are hoping to use our iPhones enough with the new MicroCell to consider dropping our landlines but this is certainly a bump in that process.

How Ansel Adams made prints

Michael Adams gives Marc Silber a tour of his father’s house and darkroom. In the discussion on printing the famous Moonrise over Hernandez you’ll notice that Michael shows Marc the original test print and then the final and discusses how Ansel had to dodge and burn in the darkroom to darken the sky and put more light on the town. This should clear up the misunderstanding that Adams did everything in the camera. Adams relied on post processing as much as modern photographers rely on using image editing software on computers to “perfect” images that aren’t perfect out of the camera.

I’m guessing that one of the reasons his compositions are so good is because the process of setting up the big view camera and dealing with glass plates was so long and cumbersome that Adams had a lot of time to ponder what he wanted. But, Adams had a great eye for composition and what we might call, for lack of a better description, good taste.

We put Adams on a pedestal because he was a great photographer who fully understood his craft and used that understanding to get the results he wanted in a relatively long and cumbersome process that he came up with. In the end though, it’s all a matter of taste in looking at the final print, less a matter of the process used to get it. If you’ve ever seen one of these prints in person you’ll know that Adams should be classified as a great American artist and concentrating too much on his process is missing the point.

The more interesting question is would Ansel Adams have considered himself a realist or an impressionist? I’m guessing impressionist.

[via PetaPixel]

Phuket Breathing, Thailand

Phuket Breathing // Thailand from artisland on Vimeo.

Zoom it out, turn it up…

My only criticism / feedback on this is that the images were cut a bit too fast for my brain, I needed a bit longer to saturate my brain with each one. Other than that, wonderful work. Note the camera and lenses:

Phuket breathing
Filmed and edited by Arthur Inamov
Color correction by Andrew Melikov

Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lenses: Canon 24mm 1.4, 50mm 1.2, 100mm 2.8 macro
Editing: Final Cut Pro
Color correction: Color Finesse 3
Music: Secede – Memory Table Part. 2 (Discolight)

[via Coudal Partners]