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filling the void

Saturday, August 15, 2009

TED: Shai Agassi's bold plan for electric cars

My friend sent me this link a while back. It's a talk about electric cars and the infrastructure we need to support them. This was about 4-6 weeks ago. Being a TED talk, I was sure it would be good, but I also thought to myself "hey, I know a bit or two about electric cars. Maybe there's not a pressing need that I watch this. How much new stuff can this person possibly have.

That was a mistake. An error in judgment. I just watched it now, and I was overcome with a feeling of hope and wonder, as he laid out his plan for the electric car in the future. At the end of the talk, when the audience game him a standing ovation, I almost felt myself rise out of my chair and doing the same thing. Absolutely brilliant. Not emotionally moving, as most things that get standing ovations are (Think Christopher Reeve at the Oscar's), but just absolutely brilliant.

If you have 18 minutes (and I can't imagine anyone who doesn't), you really need to watch this. Don't postpone it like I did. It really is worth watching. Perhaps even twice.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What do you do with the pictures you take?

What do you do with the pictures you take? Say you go on vacation, or attend some event, or just take a walk somewhere and take some pictures. Provided that taking photos isn't actually what you do for a living, in which case I can fully imagine what you do with the pictures you take, what do you do with the pictures you take?
Do you view them often? Do you perform any post processing? Remove some red eyes, do some cropping, maybe enhance some of the colors? Do you keep an account on flickr or any other photo-sharing service? Picasa perhaps? Do you put your images online for the world to see, or do you keep them to yourself? Do you discard bad photographs and only keep the good, and if so, how do you determine what constitutes a "good" photograph?

I recently went on vacation to Portugal and Spain together with my girlfriend. We visited different cities, hung out on the beach, met some friends, and, of course, took some pictures. All in all we took around 450 pictures. Based on the adage that you might get one good picture per roll of 36 images (from the good old days, before the age of the digital camera), that leaves us with only a handful of "good" pictures. Should I keep only these, or transfer only these to a special album, perhaps? If I were to delete the others, I've lost any chance of ever changing my mind about a picture. If I keep them, I'm using up unnecessary space retaining things that I may never look at again. The questions about what to do with the pictures you take are, to me, endless. That's why I want to hear from you. What do you do with your pictures? Do you think that what you do, whatever it may be, justifies the resources you dedicate to taking the pictures.
In the case of carrying around a small point-and-shoot, or even taking pictures with your mobile phone, the resources spent are very small. If you carry around an SLR, potentially with multiple lenses, and do lots of post-processing, the resources spent are very large (if you can say call resources 'small' and 'large').

One of the reasons I ask is that I've always wanted an SLR. Even before the concept of digital cameras was something the common man new about, I've wanted a real camera. I've drooled over these things since my early teens, and yet I can't bring myself to buy one. Sure, they cost a bit, but that's not it. I have a hard time justifying to myself why I should own one. After all, I keep all my pictures, even the bad one, and do virtually no post processing. I look at my pictures often enough to know my collection by heart, but that's all I do. Last night, I asked myself: "what would I do with the pictures I take, if I had a great camera?". The answer was "nothing". This is the final nail in the coffin of my longing to own a real camera, I think. I could probably create a very nice looking smaller collection of "good" pictures based on the 10000 or so pictures I already have, but I don't. I don't sit down and spend the time and nurture my pictures to perfection. Probably because I know that virtually noone will ever see them. Granted, perfection is a goal in itself, but like any creator, I want an audience for the things I create. It's the same thing with software (which I'm considerably better at then photography). Without users, the light lit at the beginning of a project fades fast after the first 1.0 release. The same, I think, would happen after the "toy" period of purchasing a new camera.

Anyway, enough about my purchase anxiety. If you want to share what you do with your pictures with the rest of the world (read "my meager readership"), then please post a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

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