If I Could Put Time in that Bottle…

And smash it against a brick wall!

All good things must come to any end and these past few months, as I look ahead to some improvements in lifestyle, and some successes and projects that take less time than in the past, I’m doing pretty well.

There is that matter of my computer club. After about four(?) years, there has been no improvement or time-saving progress whatsoever.

When I first joined the club, it was for a purpose. I had begun to work as a computer instructor, a totally inexperienced teacher, but a very experienced administrator and office technology user. So it was a logical step. For support, advice, mentoring and keeping abreast of the latest developments in technology as it related to workers and also to personal needs.

At that time, I was fighting a spinal issue, and as time moved on it became harder and harder to stand to give my lessons, until I discovered I had breast cancer in 2008 and my 11-year teaching career began to come to a screeching halt. It was a little like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

A few pounds of flesh lighter, and a painful back condition later, I found myself unable to work, and retired in 2009, after a respectable length of time for a career in mid-life. So what now about the computer users group?

Being a loyal to a fault person, I remained a member of the club, but in addition, became more involved in some of the duties of membership. I ran a couple of workshops, I ran a monthly workshop in word processing, I became the programs chair for a couple of years, wildly surpassing any past efforts and raising the bar on using my connections network to help that along.

Being that this is a short history of my efforts to retain my loyalty, I’ll put it this way. I became active in a couple of interest groups, especially the graphics group, which soon revealed itself to be a monthly sales pitch for some video software, and some irrelevant technologies such as 3-D printing and virtual reality software. Enough was enough.

I realized what I needed was to narrow my “causes” down to just a few essentials. So I picked and chose – my faith community; gardening; photography, and digital art. I redefined myself as a digital artist, and began to take day trips and network among some very creative people.

Albeit I found myself among younger, more vibrant, and actually people who used technology to create art. People who weren’t asking the same questions every month from the same seats in the same place. This was the opposite of the evening I presented a workshop in said video program, and nobody admitted to owning or using the program. That night was the last straw.

So, all this being said, it is the end of some things, time has been put in a bottle, stopped up with a used cork stopper, put on a shelf, and is already collecting the dust of ages.

Stanching the urge to crush and smash, I shall dust myself off and move on.

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A Merry Go Round of Work

The next time I have a yen to do a show, let me remember how tedious and annoying the project can be. You have to print out your pictures, and hope the color is good. You have to deal with resolution, cropping, color, timing issues. You then have to have your frames ready for hanging usually with wires that don’t come with the frame.

That is, after they are cleaned up with Windex(r) and polished to a shine, with no scratches.

You have to make sure you can find the originals on your computer, and then make sure they are saved in some lossless fashion, maybe a *.tif, to make sure that they are printable if by any chance they sell. It is so much work!

This is why I enjoy working online. May the cloud be my gallery, and may everyone enjoy something they can access any time, any where.

Getting Tecchy – All Roads Lead to Redundancy

Today I woke up with a brilliant flash of insight!

Redundancies Reign - 8-14
Redundancies Reign – 8-14

It occurred to me that, with all this silly networking and synching that is going on, and it gets worse every day. The intrusions are non-stop. The only way to prevent popup ads, reminders, and duplicate calendar entries nowadays is to simply disconnect your internet connection, and stay “home.”

But that’s not my workflow/style. I realized that I’ve been using a non-synching application, Adobe(r) LightRoom, on three computers. So I tried everything, and have felt lost in trying to keep my catalogs up to date with the latest files from my cloud server, Microsoft OneDrive (r). I realized that, instead of moving and shaking up the files inside of LR, why don’t I use the great new version of Microsoft’s Live Gallery to move the actual files on my home drive? Then simply synch up each catalog when I open up LR. That would solve a lot of confusion on my part.

Here is where a redundant catalog is desired, but hard to manage sometimes.

So let’s try to utilize this new workflow. It looks like LR is built for using on just one computer. If you are not doing that, and want to back up your cloud files locally, try doing that on a native program like the Gallery. I’ll let you know if I’m successful.

The Case for Boundaries Lost

pix_joannegrazide-gateHere’s the thing. I’m at a rather pleasant gathering of like-minded people, people who have come together for a purpose. To talk, share, elucidate and for me, to just show off. Not really. I just feel like sometimes I need to speak up, blow my own horn as it were, and keep up with the cool kids. Now this crowd is one of a few, hand-picked, carefully tended groups which I frequent – or not, depending on what kind of activity we are into.

For instance, computer club www.bcug.com has a mixed group of people who only have one thing in common at this point. An ongoing interest in technology. Although there are a choice few who seem to be battling with older technology and unable to comprehend that as of this hour, technology is available to all. Which brings me to the next point. Despite resistance on the part of our “elders,” there is a growing need to migrate to some sort of online presence, and at this point, it would be a shame to give up our FaceBook page or MeetUp, but that may happen at some point because heck, only three people use MeetUp to advertise their activities. This only results in stagnation, and I’m in the middle of it, just looking out from the midst of frustration.

Then there is the photography group I’m a member of. Here is where boundaries come in. there are people and there are people. The purpose of this group is to simply get together and perform activities like photo-shoots, which I’m crazy about. I will drive anywhere and get my equipment on me and spend hours tramping about. There is no pressure. I don’t have to talk, or demonstrate anything, and I have a great bunch of work to get to at the end of it all. I’m not there to be involved in drama or problems. That is why, the other day, there was a problem.

We are all sitting around having coffee after a productive, fun, and interesting shoot, and one person comes in and after some preliminary B.S., states that she has to learn LightRoom. I nodded in approval, and she realizes that I am still a beginner but would consider myself able to show someone some tips and tricks. She asked me if I would sit with her and teach her.

Now, there was a time, somewhere between when I retired and now, when I would have jumped on the opportunity to share what I know, and get someone going on this great app. But I said no. I do have my reasons. But I’m not for hire.

She seemed perturbed. She seemed to think that just by asking, she would gain the services of me. I seemed to think that she didn’t know when to come to a stop. There is no need to explain reasons why someone who basically has nothing else to do, has to comply with her problem. She canvassed some others, finding out that not only is there a LightRoom workshop coming up, but that some have actually taught themselves. I taught myself. I worked and worked, and am still working on learning it. I use the occasional YouTube presentation if I run into a problem. There is so much I’m not doing, I know that. But I will eventually get to where I can do what I want. I can learn, and I can always learn more.

So she seemed perturbed. It seems to me that there are boundaries in any situation. People cannot demand your time. People cannot feel bad if they ask an unwanted favor. People cannot expect to have all their needs fulfilled by others.

This same person should have been in the computer club. She had never heard of some terminology and never heard of some popular games. So she evidently has no time to relax. Just as some professionals who come into a career later in life, and don’t have an online presence, or need lessons in something like www.facebook.com, it is beyond my understanding why. The internet being the lifeblood it is in social and now more and more professional circles, is not something to be scoffed at. Privacy? We gave that up long long ago when we filed our first tax return, or got our social security number. There is no excuse for deliberate ignorance. It is not funny to say you don’t know how to turn it on. It is like saying you don’t know how to open a door, or dial a rotary phone.

At this point, it is not an age thing but an ages thing. Keep the distance, please, and plug into your own knowledge base before bullying someone you don’t even know and never met before, into defensive tactics. As for me, I’ll attend the workshop on this program and bet my bottom dollar, my new friend is not in attendance.

Looking in the Wrong Place or How Did I Miss That?

Last summer, I do recall, I had the hardest time working with a new camera. I had already gone through this business of my DSLR, a Canon Xsi, not having RAW files or CR2’s recognized in my favorite software, Picasa, and Windows Live Gallery, which I completely abandoned. In Picasa, I would see faded squares where the pictures should be, and it was so annoying, I put Picasa aside, as well as Photoshop Elements 10, and began to work with LightRoom 5, which sees CR2’s without any problem. The only thing I missed was the Adobe RAW editor, and it really bothered me.

Now I have a new camera, a Canon T5i, and am very happy with it, although PSE10 still doesn’t produce the RAW window for me. As a result, I’m not using RAW captures any more, which is probably going to affect my current archiving project, where I need to adjust color on old paper. I am very frustrated. So…

Just today, I began to investigate Photoshop Elements 12, having downloaded a trial copy, and having plans to review its Missing Manual (will provide link when I’m done) for my computer group, BCUG.

While first running PSE12, I was experiencing error messages trying to bring an edited RAW file into the edit window. This has since been resolved, but I don’t know if it was the program settling in or the fact that I downloaded an updated copy of the piece needed to do this.

So, while I was fiddling around with this software, I had up on my screen Picasa Photo Viewer, which I use as the default viewer for *.jpgs. Without even realizing it, it was displaying a CR2 bright and clear, and I was astounded, thinking, what did I miss.

Next thing I know, I’m in Picasa and viewing all my CR2’s as if it never had a problem.

Did Picasa fix the CR2 issue? Did I never check this with the new camera? Whatever happened, I was able to crop, lighten, straighten, do everything I needed right in the free program. Sure, it probably wants to advertise to me, but I’m already so far gone there is nothing sacred there.

The only thing I can’t do in Picasa or LightRoom for that matter, is work in layers. When I do need to, PSE will come in handy. And some more training in the program will also be good. But for now, check the results I got. And this is an archive; I don’t want it to be messed up. So I’m happy for the fix, and will continue to figure out the best workflow.

So here is my result using a free program.
So here is my result using a free program.

Wish me luck, and a more observant eye!