Author Jim Zellmer

1975 + 39



I listened a bit to the KCRW app stream last evening (8.12.2014 Morning Becomes Eclectic Show) when, out of the blue “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” jolted my ears.

I enjoy KCRW’s app and music streams, tolerating their occasional lapses into a Sting/Police song. That said, I am not much of an oldies fan, but in this case, the 1975 song whisked me back in time and brought a smile to my face.

I recalled the days of the (expensive) album. Some were masterpieces, such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, the Who’s Quadrophenia and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick road among many others.

So, props to Jason Bentley and his KCRW crew for a subtle (and rare) plug.

Not for Everyone

The party is more state of mind than event. Foodies, political types, writers, thinkers, endless PhD’s. Every six months. A blast and a fascinating slice of Madison.

Six years ago. Around the time that I took this photo at Glacier National Park:



The camera that captured this image was a Sigma DP1, in 2008 (one year post iPhone, more on that later). I remember being astonished at the DP1′s sharpness and rather unique color expression.

I “like” to carry a small, high quality walk around camera.

Oh, the party. I brought the DP1 to collect a few images of friends enjoying wine and a myriad of food. Our friends are deep, serious foodies. A blast every six months.

Not more than 30 minutes into the party, a long time, now retired art and portrait photographer spotted the DP1. He ran over and waxed on and on about the “foveon sensor”. “May I?”. Yes, of course. Off he went to collect some great people shots.

So, the DP1.

I kept it, despite its operating flaws, including poor battery life, notoriously slow camera and post processing software and lack of file format support from the large image processing software vendors.

Two years ago information about the DP2 Merrill or “DP2M” arrived in my newsreader. I managed to find a great price and bought it, then sold the DP1 to an Atlanta photographer.

The camera responsiveness was somewhat improved, though the post processing software was still terrible. Image quality was and is fantastic, including low light opportunities:







That said, the camera’s responsiveness, battery life and occasional lockup during a “decisive moment” is annoying. The battery and memory card flap died 6 months ago – not great on a two year old camera.

However, the image quality continues to appeal.

Now comes the DP2M’s replacement, the DP2 Quattro or #DP2Quattro.

I had an opportunity to collect some images with it over the past few days while walking around Madison. I’ve made no attempt at deep, technical comparisons. Rather, I was interested in how well it performed when walking around – my DPx use case.















The camera’s responsiveness and build quality are substantially better than previous iterations. Sigma’s post processing software is somewhat improved, but still much too slow. It is a very good walk around camera.

But.

The camera market could not be more different than the DP1 era, 6+ years ago. Today, iPhone is the “camera” of choice for many. The iPhone’s image quality, connectivity and incredible software environment has decimated much of the entry and mid range camera market.

I took the following image with my iPhone 5s moments after capturing the same flowers with the DP2 Quattro (above). The iPhone image can be quickly shared (and edited if necessary).



The new DP2 Quattro lacks an interesting wireless interface for apps. DP2Q users’ must collect the image and somehow move it from the SD card to their computing device. For most of the market, that device is a smartphone. Currently, the images must be post processed using Sigma’s software for Windows or Mac. Nothing exists – as far as I know – for iPhones, iPads or Google Play devices.

Ideally, Sigma should have included an iOS app to control the camera and move images. Reasonable editing should also be available on these devices. Sony has taken a few steps into this space with “PlayMemories Mobile”.

I asked our college student children if they were interested in trying out the DP2 Quattro. “No.” Both, along with millions of others do quite well with their iPhone cameras + apps.

I hope that Sigma introduces apps to create and use the beautiful images on iPhones, iPads and Google Play devices. Time is of the essence. The iPhone 6 introduction is just around the corner.

Oh, that party? It’s days away, again.

Notes:

Foveon Sensors.

Sigma Photo USA

Most popular cameras on Flickr.

Canon’s 2014 Q2 financials: dslr sales -19%, compact digital cameras -38%.

Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile in the App Store and Google Play.

#DP2Quattro

My iPhone 6s log.

iPhone 5s & Sports Photography.

P.S. A further wish: A tilt-shift version of the DPx series.

“My Uber Driver…..”



Walking around a bit at the Wisconsin Memorial Union Lakefront.

The Best of Peter Drucker

Steve Denning:

Everyone knows that Peter Drucker was the founder of modern management. But how do we come to terms with the writings of a man who wrote 39 books? Even to read his 811-page classic, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1973) or the revised edition of 572 pages (2008), is more than most readers get round to. Inevitably most of us pick and choose.
 
 An excellent introduction to Drucker’s thinking—and one of the real “raisins in the cake”— which was recently flagged by Jim Hays, is Peter Drucker’s nine-page paper for The Economist in November 2001: “Will The Corporation Survive?” Drucker’s answer to his own question was: “Yes, but not in the form that we know it.” The paper was incorporated into the 2008 edition of Drucker’s Management, but it is also available here.

For Arab Christians and secular Arab nationalists, Isis may be the death knell

William Dalrymple:

he past decade has been catastrophic for the Arab world’s beleaguered 12 million strong Christian minority. In Egypt revolution and counter-revolution have been accompanied by a series of anti-Copt riots, killings and church burnings. In Gaza and the West Bank Palestinian Christians are emigrating en masse as they find themselves uncomfortably caught between Netanyahu’s pro-settler government and their increasingly radicalised Sunni neighbours.
 
 In Syria most of the violence is along the Sunni-Alawite fault line, but stories of rape and murder directed at the Christian minority, who used to make up around 10% of the population, have emerged. Many have already fled to camps in Lebanon, Turkey or Jordan; the ancient Armenian community of Aleppo is reported to be moving en masse to Yerevan.

Zoella herself barely watches TV: “My generation, at least the ones I know, are like 70-30 YouTube”

Jonathan Ford:

The leading vloggers are a close-knit bunch, often appearing on each other’s channels. This cross-promotion helps to pool audiences. Zoella’s gang includes her boyfriend, her brother Joe (whose blog, now with 2m subscribers, started after hers, she insists) and Marcus Butler. There’s also Louise (aka Sprinkle of Glitter) and Tanya Burr, a make-up artist who beams advice from her Norwich bedroom, and whose diffusion line of cosmetics Zoella has recently recommended on her own vlog. “We all want to help each other so we can bring all our channels up together,” she says. “That’s absolutely what social media is all about: sharing.”
 
 I tell Zoella she is known to the advertising world as a “crowd-sourced people’s champion” and she laughs. “That’s cool. I hadn’t heard that one before.” But she acknowledges that big brands are lining up to cash in on her popularity. “They know that there’s a way that YouTubers can connect with an audience that they can’t, even though they’ve got all the money in the world.” An example of her reach is that she has a deal with Unilever, marketing their skincare range to younger users.
 
 Advertisers are said to be willing to pay £20,000 a month for banners on well-known vloggers’ YouTube channels, while £4,000 can change hands for each mention of their product in the video itself (it costs roughly the same for a shout-out on Twitter). Zoella doesn’t like to talk about how much she earns. But, based on the rates commanded by the most successful vloggers, her income from advertising alone could now be running at a rate of several hundred thousand pounds a year.

The news that business doesn’t want to hear

Steve Denning:

The resulting index is bad news for business: It shows that, behind the mirage of financial engineering, mergers and acquisitions, tax gadgets, share buybacks, seemingly rising profits fed by cheap government money and soaring executive compensation, the underlying reality is harsh: US business is in a long-term secular decline and has been so for decades.
 
 The conclusion is inescapable: big hierarchical bureaucracies with legacy structures and managerial practices and short-term mindsets have not yet found a way to flourish in this new world.
 
 The Shift Index 2009 thus anticipated the conclusion to which macro-economists are now reluctantly coming, namely, that an economy comprising mainly big hierarchical bureaucracies are undergoing a “Great Stagnation” (Tyler Cowen) or “Secular Stagnation” (Larry Summers).
 
 The 2011 edition of the Shift Index covered industry-specific data for nine key sectors and provided a guide to the thought leadership, methodology, and data that drives the index’s metrics.

Panoramas: A Splendid Evening at Spring Green’s American Players Theatre

Tap or click to view the panoramic scene. Then pan or zoom in any direction.

Additional scenes:

Theatre entrance on a beautiful Friday evening.

Pre theatre picnic area. Another view.

We enjoyed “The Importance of Being Earnest”.

American Players Theatre

The Camera Store, circa 2014

Madison’s Camera Company has served the community well for many years. Perhaps it was unsurprising to see this sign, in 2014:

I later took a quick look at their website and found the top shopping choice unsurprising:

I’ve been keeping a log of the substantial changes in the photography world, here.

A Gorgeous Vision of What Home-Grown Food Labs Would Look Like, in 2050

Margaret Rhodes:

“The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the world will need 70 percent more food, measured in calories,” says Royal College of Arts student Johanna Schmeer, who has spent the past year working on a graduation project. “So next I was thinking about, ‘What would you do if you needed to make new foods, what application would there be?’” Schmeer is a student designer at London’s Royal College of Arts. She’s not a scientist. She’s not in a laboratory extracting enzymes from organic matter. Instead, her graduation project tackles the question: What products might be designed for these materials? When they end up in the home, how might we interact with them?
 
 It’s no surprise that a problem of that scale has attracted the attentions of other scientists and designers around the world too. In particular, Schmeer is interested in work from a team at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands that’s laying the groundwork for creating synthetic biological material that could be used for nutrition. Their research has shown that it’s possible to use enzymes from bacteria (found in foods and plants) in new, synthetic host materials.
 
 If developed properly, these bio-synthetic materials could be a viable host for the enzymes to photosynthesize and produce proteins, fiber, vitamins, sugar, fat, minerals, and water. As for the actual enzymes, they could come from any number of places. In her own research, Schmeer found that one fiber-producing bacteria is found in kombucha drinks. This lab work is fairly nascent, but Schmeer says food-producing material that is half biological, half synthetic, could be a reality in around 50 years.