Tag Archives: Reviews

Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin – Book Review

I recently started trying to read one book each month that had something (however loosely) to do with bettering myself professionally, and I figured I’d write about them here. Somehow, when I went looking a couple weeks ago, the book Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin popped up. Curious, I used an Audible credit and started listening.

Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin

I found the book surprisingly interesting. It’s not that I expected it to be boring, but I have never worked for a startup, and have never been an entrepreneur. But despite that, I found the book truly engaging. It didn’t hurt that the audio book was narrated by Rand himself, so all of the emotion from his personal experiences came out in his voice. I think this made the book feel much more personal.

At times, the story is almost painful. Again, this is furthered by the emotion in Rand’s voice as he detailed his own shortcomings while attempting to grow his startup. However, it’s these personal moments that allow the reader to connect, and allowed me to truly enjoy the book. I found myself feeling remorse along side him on multiple occasions. And most of all, I found myself cheering for his business.

So what did I take away from this book? In short, I don’t want to be a CEO of a startup. Don’t get me wrong, I have immense respect for those willing to take on such responsibility. But the uncertainty goes against my cautious nature. I also learned way more about startups, funding, and risks taken for growth that I ever imagined. These aspects were intriguing to me. The way he outlines how the value of a company changes for both the executives, and the employees was well thought out, and informative. I also liked his insights into management. Through his transparency about both his successes and mistakes, a lot can be learned in how we think of our leadership style.

Overall, I would strongly encourage anyone who is fascinated by the startup world to give this one a read (or better yet, a listen). I would also recommend anyone who is trying to learn more about leadership to give this book a go.

Magnetic Photo Rope — Too Cool!

It’s not often I see a product that seems both innovative and useful at the same time. But this Magnetic Photo Rope, by Photojojo seems like the perfect display solution for photos, artwork and just about anything else you could want to display that’s made of a thin material!

Check it out here.

I guess you could say it’s the sleek, modern way of hanging stuff on the refrigerator — but without all the magnets!

New Camera and Renewed Inspiration …

… and no.  The new camera is not the Nikon D700 for those curious!

Over the past few months, I’ve had a terrible time staying motivated.  Yes, I admit it.  And while it’s easy to blame this on a general lack of commitment to my photography, I hesitate to do so for numerous reasons.  Frankly, I won’t bore everyone with the laundry list of non-photographic events going on in my life.  However, I will say that the two of my biggest problems have been the overwhelming dreary weather here in Upstate New York and the fact that during the brief sunny interludes, my camera has not been handy.

Therefore, I’m taking an active interest in photography going forward and attempting to carry my camera around more.

Which brings me to my next point.  Our new camera!  There have been numerous times where I’d love to take my camera, but my D200 dSLR simply isn’t either practical, or it is way too intrusive.  Enter the Canon Powershot G10.  With the amount of hiking, walking and general outdoor activities, I did a lot of research and attempted to come up with a solution where I could shoot RAW images, I could exert a decent amount of control over shutter speed and aperture and a camera which took impeccable photos on it’s most simple settings when I want a point and shoot alternative.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s no D200.  However, it has a ton of pixels (14.7 Megapixels) and from what I can tell, the JPEG output is outstanding.  I still haven’t had a chance to try out the RAW functionality to any extent but will do my best to report back when I have.

After a few weeks of use, I have formed a pretty decent opinion of basic operation — superb.  It handles very much like a compact dSLR and with the really large 3″ rear screen, it’s sublimely simple to compose and take photos.  In fact, I have found that I really crave a live-view type ability on my D200 simply for ease of composition / framing.

My other favorite feature are the two custom setting banks.  In addition to the fully automatic “Auto” mode, Program mode, Shutter / Aperture Priority mode and fully manual, there are also two custom modes labeled C1 and C2 on the control dial.  What these allow is for the user to select one, customize just about everything and then come back to it later.  This proved especially useful for my wife last weekend when we were attempting to take photos at a theater production.  For this, we wanted no flash, no focus assist lamp and automatic ISO selection.  However, before and after, my wife wanted to have fully auto available.  Therefore, it was simply a matter of turning the control dial and she was able to easily switch from one mode to another with no fuss.  A great feature on a point and shoot camera.

I’ll attempt to offer a more complete review as I’ve used it more.

Adobe Lightroom 2 Released

While this may be old news to some of those in the photographic community, Adobe has released the long awaited Adobe Lightroom 2. I won’t bore you or repeat what others are saying as I’m sure by now, there have been a flood of great discussions and reviews on the subject by such people as Scott Kelby of Photoshop Insider and a long list of new features from Victoria Bampton. But I do have to say, this new release is fantastic!

I completed the upgrade about two hours ago and everything went very smoothly. Of course I was careful to back things up first, but there were no problems that I’ve found yet! It’s really too early for me to give an exhaustive review, but right off the bat there are a few very noticeable improvements in the Library module.

My Impressions

The first is the fix I was truly waiting for with regards to storing photos on removable media. Since I do most of my photo organizing work on my MacBook, I really don’t want to clog up the laptop drive with all the photos I’ve ever taken. Especially now that I’m shooting more for stock where I take a lot of photos of the same thing. These have no value on my laptop as they aren’t something I’d want with me on a daily basis. Adobe has created a solution to this problem by updating their Folders tab in the left navigation pane to show which volume has the photos. The small green light next to the volume name means that the volume is currently attached to the computer. If I had photos on another volume which were in this catalog, and the volume were disconnected, the light would be red. This update also allows for the user to see a user selectable statistic on this line as well. Right-clicking on the volume line allows the user to select between Disk Space, Photo Count, Status or None. The status statistic simply displays whether or not the volume is online. I find this somewhat redundant as the user can already tell this by the red/green light. Photo count shows the number of photos in the current catalog, but for my uses, this isn’t really all that important. Therefore, I’ve chosen to have it display disk usage. Your mileage may vary.

The other improved feature is the filtering capabilities. While Lightroom 1.4 had most of these filtering abilities, the improved user interface (at the top of the thumbnail viewer) is great. It’s much easier for me to filter on what I want quickly and with less fuss. Also, it allows the saving of preset filters — a real plus for me as I like to use color codes for different types of photographs. Using a preset filter, I can quickly and easily find all photos tagged with the red color tag (my stock photo color) with a rating of 4 or more stars. Taking it a step further, I can save the above preset with certain keywords (such as ‘Microstock’ and ‘Needs Uploading’) and I can find all stock photos with a rating of four or more stars which needs to be uploaded to microstock websites. Now that’s helpful!

Conclusion

While I still have a lot of investigation and learning (I was not one of the Beta Testers), thus far, I’m very impressed! I’ll probably continue to update as I figure out more of the new features — especially in the develop modes.