October 2007

Things will be quite around here for a couple of weeks or so as I am off to New Zealand for a little break.

I have recently discovered A Book by its Cover a blog kept by Julia Rothman an illustrator who likes to share and highlight beautiful books. Rothman focuses on all sorts of books. Handmade books, sketchbooks and mass produced all feature but the common theme is that they are exquisitely designed and laid out. The page spreads are just lush.

There are many academics and social software commentators watching and examining Facebook lately. Max Freiert as published a chart that illustrates the activities of the Facebook community in August. In 14 million people interacted with Facebook Applications in August Freiert points out that of the 22 Million people who logged into Facebook in August, 21 Million viewed their profile or their friends profiles.  16 million went on to browse pictures and 14 million used applications.  I can understand why people browse images as there has been a lot work done in examining the social role of photographs particularly in art theory.

Since 14 million interacted with applications I would love to see a breakdown of what those applications are and how those applications exploit the social aspects of Facebook in order to try and understand what their role in binding groups of people together is. Anthropologists have examined gift giving as a social binder and Art theorists have examined the role of the objects in peoples lives. To my knowledge academics have only dipped their toes into this material when trying to make sense of online interactions and communities. I don’t mean that research is not being done just that there is heaps more research to be done.

Obviously Facebook is full of playful interactions often associated with the equivalent of virtual toys. These interactions bind people together to a degree, but not on other levels of social interaction. There are elements about Facebook such as groups that I find frustrating. Often interest groups are served already by email discussion lists or forums which are now very efficient at sharing information. Perhaps I don’t get Facebook  sure its fun to play for a while but after a while I like areas where a common interest can be shared and it feels to me as if  Facebook goes half way in this, so frustrated I guess I am looking a the role these virtual toys might play in our lives. For this morning at least!

Botanical Fly Through Second Life is a lush fly through of Botanical at Stray light

I wrote about my adventures in Stray Light here.
SLURL Botanical at Stray Light http://slurl.com/secondlife/Straylight/198/12/37

Thanks goes to iAlja for this link she posted on my Facebook wall.

Using the Liquify filter in Photoshop is often over done and applied with a heavy hand. This tutorial from Watch and Learn Photoshop shows you how subtle changes can be created to polish a photograph.

Lorelle on WordPress is running a series under the title of Blog Struggles. The latest in the series Ideas and Drafts offers some excellent tips on getting ideas down in a manageable manner and shaping the process from there. I use a single file to note my ideas down, actually it is a google document as that means no matter where I am work or home I have access to it. Each section represents an idea I am working on and I date when I started the draft. If it is not written in 12 weeks I delete it as it means I am not interested enough in the topic. I also toss into the same document links and associated notes that I may have found while reading my RSS reader. I may want to think further about them or I may not have time to write at that particular moment. I date these too! Since I write 2 blogs often the list is a strange mix but it works for me. I have yet to manage the snappy post title however. They simply do not happen.

Lorelle has loads of useful tips and advice about developing ideas for, organising your writing, writing content and managing a blog in this series and it is worth following some of the link at the bottom of the article.

Adobe has recently launched “Share” (beta) which is an online file sharing and storage service aimed at creative professionals. You can to share large files without email. Since the service is web based you have access to them anywhere and you can also embed them in web pages. You can elect to share your images or keep them private. Every time you share a file with someone they are added to a contacts list. During the beta period you are limited to 1GB per user. So it is not a good place to stash your images files online as a back up. The idea is to share files rather than store them.

Loading the jpg images was a little slow in comparison to Flickr or Picasa but not unbearable. I liked the fact that I could load a Photoshop file however a 33 meg file took 45 minutes to load. File formats supported are the standard image formats such as GIF, JPEG, BMP, PNG, the Creative Suite file formats, Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 formats, PDF, Rich Text Format (RTF), Open Office formats, text and HTML, SWF and Zip. You can not share media files such as MP3, AAC, MOV, WMV, OGG, FLV, XVID, DIVX or executable file formats.

To use the service you need an Adobe ID, usually you can sign up when you register your software. Who ever you share your files with will also need an Adobe ID which they can sign up for.
On another note an Adobe ID account means you can access other parts of the Adobe site like the Developer Center and the Exchange where you can download plugins and extenstions for Adobe products. Being the brush addict I am I am always haunting the Photoshop and Illustrator exchanges.

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