Are you an Eloi or a Morlock?

July 9, 2014

If you are not familiar with the reference, it’s found in H.G. Wells’ book, The Time Machine, It’s been reworked in many sci-fi stories with dystopian themes, such as The Matrix, but it has modern parallels. I bring this up because you tend to see, more and more these days, that people seem to fit to this. It shows what a canny chap Mr. Wells was.

Eloi or a Morlock

The Eloi live a banal life with a child-like intellect yet they lack curiosity, living in a blissful ignorance. They have everything provided for them, though they have no idea how anything works or what to do with any but the most basic. They are self-absorbed and while they enjoy company, they don’t really care for anyone else. In return for having everything provided for them they are used as cattle. They are fed on by the Morlocks, who periodically call them and they dutifully herd themselves into the Morlock Lair for slaughter.

The Morlocks are normally unseen and are the ones who control everything and create and provide anything needed for the Eloi, growing strong and fat from the Eloi cattle.

Any of this sound familiar?

No? Then you are probably a loyal Eloi type, more occupied with ‘needing’ your provider’s next available gadget for you and only too willing to part with your money – so they can provide you with a slightly different model a few months down the line. But as long as it has the same logo on it, you don’t mind.

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Watermarks, Metadata and Copyright for Your Images

June 23, 2014

Flickr IconAdding your ‘mark’ to an image is useful, not just as copyright protection, but also as a promotional tool. Adding metadata information to your image lets people know who created it and how to contact you.

Doing this to dozens or even hundreds of images is a laborious task, so automating this process is a must. Here we will share three quick things that are useful.

The Copyright Symbol

The first is very easy: the copyright © symbol.

Hold down the Alt key, then type 0169 on your keypad. After you release the Alt key the © symbol will appear. For those of you one-click fans, you could set up a macro to do this for you.

Watermarks

Second is a great plugin for Photoshop that can easily batch add a watermark and edit your images in one go: Batch Watermarking For Photoshop CS5. You can download it at this Link

Install the plugin using Photoshop’s Extension Manager. This will put everything in the right place including the built-in help video.

Once installed, open Photoshop and go to the menu: Window > Extensions > Adobe Watermark. This opens the watermarking panel. Open the drop down menu on that panel (top right) and click “help”. You will see a video showing you how to use the plugin.

With this handy tool, you can batch watermark and resize your images ready for upload to public view, but there is something more you can do – add metadata to all the images.

Metadata

Metadata is information such as your copyright information, your website, and/or email address that is hidden from normal view. When anyone downloads your images, they will then see their metadata.

This can be done using Photoshop’s Action Script to do batch processing. After you have created this script and saved it, you can easily reuse it for future work.

The first time, however, takes a bit longer for you to create the script, but it’s not difficult.

  1. Open an image in Photoshop (Important: Have an image open already before you start to create your batch script)
  2. Open the Actions Palette (menu windows > actions or press ctrl-F9)
  3. Press the ‘new folder’ button and give the new folder a name such as Custom Batch (this is where your saved script will be stored)
  4. Now hit the ‘new action’ button. and give it a name too, such as ‘batch metadata’
  5. Check that it is in your new folder by looking in ‘Set’

Now you’re ready to create the script. Press ‘Record’ (this will now record all your actions until you press ‘Stop’). Next time, you won’t need to go through this, it will do these actions anytime you run this script again.
With ‘Record’ pressed, follow these steps.

  1. Select File > File Info.
  2. Type in your name and any other data you want on the opened panel.
  3. Now click the IPTC tab.
  4. Add your email address, website, etc.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Save this image. Don’t edit anything else, like format, etc. Press OK when the prompt opens.
  7. Make sure you close the image before you press STOP.

You now have an Action Script to add your metadata in batch; the steps you recorded can now be applied to multiple images or whole folders of images, using the following steps:

  1. File> automate > batch
  2. Select your action script you just created
  3. Select the source folder your images are in
  4. Press OK

The script will then open each image, add the data you added in the first image, save and close it and continue through all the other images while you sit back and enjoy your tea.

By using the above instructions it becomes pretty painless to add your mark and helps protect your work as well as promote it.

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Things Change

May 13, 2014

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Touch screen smartphones have become ubiquitous and seem to have established a standard interface. Gone on the whole are keyboards for these; a smooth, simple screen seems to be a better option for use, right?

But let’s think back to other ubiquitous devices such as the watch. From the 1930s, pocket watches were out and wristwatches in. All had a relatively standard and practical face to tell the time.

Then in the 80’s quartz digital took over by storm. Screens rather than a clock face could provide more information: calculator watches, world times, data storage, etc., etc.

It seemed to take hold because it was ‘just better’, but there was more to it than that. It started to become cheaper to manufacture and required less skill to create – mass production rather than hand made. Companies all over the world cropped up making these while the number of active traditional watchmakers shriveled.

End of story? Well, not really. Traditional watchmakers adapted the better aspects of digital technology and created ‘hybrid’ watches that still had the functional face but now with quartz accuracy, and the trend from screen moved back toward traditional clock faces. Look at any watchmaker’s website and you will likely see far more clock faces than screens.

There is now a slow but growing trend to smart watches; will this be the end of traditional watches again, like when quartz watches sprang up or smartphones ‘who needs a watch when you can look at your phone’ (apart from the fact you need to have it clutched in your hand or take it out of your pocket when you could just look at your wrist).

Things ChangeThe reason I speak of watches when I started with smartphones is because of the similarities to non-keyboard and QWERTY phones. Smartphones without keyboards are much cheaper to produce, need less tooling to manufacture and have fewer parts, and many have been convinced this is better for the customer. After all, a lot of people jumped to smartphones from the keypad ones, and they found it quicker and easier to type. But how many who already had keyboard smartphones thought it was a better move – a slide-out QWERTY keyboard had tactile feedback (Yes, our brain still prefers that regardless of what you may think.) They are able to type on the move and even without looking. Try that on a touchscreen phone while moving. It also means you are not taking up screen space with a virtual keyboard. Muscle memory doesn’t really come into effect with a touchscreen, either.

So, maybe after the euphoria has died down and people start to want what’s practical rather than what’s fashionable, we may start to see a return to smartphones that have the best of both worlds: touch screens and QWERTY keyboards. This is a chicken-and-egg situation, though, as manufacturers will be hesitant now that they are able to sell touch screen phones for the same price as QWERTY smartphones while making more profit. But the demand for a QWERTY keyboard on smartphones may push them back, especially with competition now; it’s looking like $25 smartphones are not that far in the future. A different price model may appear where you actually start to get what you pay for, rather than pay for what’s in vogue, ie., pay a little more for what’s more practical to use.

But humans don’t always think practically, or we wouldn’t have people walking around with their pants hanging off their arse. So, let’s wait and see.

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