@dangayle

Polaroid not dead!

Yay!

And I’ll say it again, Yay!

According to the UK’s Independent, Florian Kaps, the guy behind Polanoid.net, has stepped up to the plate to save the beloved film format. After Polaroid announced in June 2008 that they would cease production of the instant film, it seemed that it was doomed to the history books as another victim of the digital camera revolution.

Say it ain’t so, Joe!

Now, I don’t shoot film much, hardly at all actually, but like all true photographers, I have a deep respect and appreciation for it. And if you’re going to shoot film, you might as well make it worth it by shooting medium or large format.

And if you’re going to shoot large format, you’d be crazy to not shoot Polaroid. I don’t know how guys like Edward S. Curtis and others managed to carry around glass slides all over the un-conquered earth, but I don’t envy them. Even in a studio, Polaroid film for a large format camera would be essential for me to want to do it that way. And if Polaroid is gone? Well, then, I have a hard time seeing myself shooting large format film any time soon.

But thankfully, Kaps has stepped up to the plate to take over production through the Impossible Project, supported by my favorite film company, Ilford.

They basically bought the entire Polaroid factory in the Netherlands, and have started researching more cost effective ways to produce the film that has remained essentially unchanged for over 40 years. It’s not an easy task, so they are asking support to reach their goals.

Their website has a sign up form where you can volunteer whatever resources you might be interested in giving.

It’s totally worth it to help out, because Polaroid film, which I guess should be called by its technical name “Integral Film” now that Polaroid is out of the picture, is totally awesome.

Also check out these resources:
http://www.polapremium.com

http://savepolaroid.com/

The Cocteau Twins

You know, I listened to the Cure for a very long time. I loved, still love, the Cure. Especially their early 80s material before Robert Smith broke them up and did “The Love Cats” and his other poppy songs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great stuff, but how do you go from a song like “Cold” from their Pornography album, to “The Love Cats”?

Anyway, the I love the Cure’s early era the best, and so I went on a path of discovery to find out other bands that had that sound. There were a few that I found, like Siouxsie & The Banshees and Joy Division/early New Order being very close matches, Bauhaus being ok, and a few other more obscure bands like And Also the Trees.

What is painfully obvious to me in hindsight, however, is that I missed one of the biggest bands to come out of that same scene. I totally missed out on the Cocteau Twins. Their sound, before their bassist Will Heggie left the band in 1983, was very similar to what the Cure were doing. The heavy repetetive bass guitar, the shimmery effects laden guitar, and the off-the-charts singing were all very much in the same genre.

cocteau-twins-garland

What sets the Cocteau Twins apart from the other bands, actually the main thing that separates them all apart, is the singing. (Now that I think about it, if you were to remove Robert Smith, Siouxsie Sioux, or Ian Curtis from their respective bands, would anyone be able to tell them apart?)

Elizabeth Fraser has undoubtedly one of the most unique vocals in the history of rock and roll. You can say this for sure, ain’t no one else sing like her. About the closest comparison anyone could make would be to Siouxsie Sioux, and even then Siouxsie would sound like Siouxsie Sioux, not Elizabeth Fraser.

Just like the rest of the bands, I can only handle about an hour of their music before I want to go jump off a bridge, but it is certainly an interesting hour.

A quick peek through the live video archives on YouTube provides you with an abundance of material to listen to and watch. You’ll notice that the live stuff is much more raw than their ethereal dream pop of some of their recordings. You’ll also notice the drummer… gotcha. NO DRUMMER! Ha! I can’t bring to mind even one rock band of any era that routinely played without a live drummer. It leads me to wonder who it was that played for their sample loops.

It’s interesting stuff. I highly recommend that you check them out.

Pioneers of Prime Time TV cover Iron and Wine’s Radio War

I thought I’d give a shout out to some of my old roomates down in New Mexico. Their band, The Pioneers of Prime Time TV played a beautiful cover of Iron and Wine’s “Radio War” at the Uller Fest.

In the video, Thomas the lead singer and guitarist, and Dave the bassist, are my two roomates from back in the day in Seattle. We would all get together and jam into the wee hours of the morning, but not usually anything remotely as folksy as this. It seems that all of us who lived in that house together, that I know of, have mellowed out a bit in our musical tastes.

Although, I should say, Thomas and Dave were always playing more folksy stuff anyways off to the side.

Anyways, their band is great, and if you ever get a chance to go down to the Las Alamos area in New Mexico, you should check them out.

How Radiohead has changed since their early days

Something tells me that I’m glad I didn’t start listening to Radiohead until Amnesiac came out. I probably never would have liked them if my initial exposure to them was one of their early videos rather than the video for the “Pyramid Song” late one night.

In fact, I still to this day prefer Amnesiac, arguably their most difficult album, because of the sparse arrangements compared to their “wall of sound” earlier years. Don’t get me wrong, there are great songs on Pablo Honey and The Bends, but the filler in-between is what kills me. It’s obvious that they were trying too hard to force a “sound” onto their songs, rather than just letting them play out.

Later Radiohead goes the opposite way, sometimes detrimentally, but most often in a way that works wonders on their songs. Standard song structure is irrelevant if your songs are awesome :P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuOfZDu0EBE

Website naming stuff

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably not the most imaginative when it comes to naming conventions for elements of your web pages. At some point in time, it pays to pay attention to those details, as it will spare you a lot of grief in the long run.

For example, I recently created an application form called “short_form” because it was an intermediary form with only 4 inputs that fed into a large 40+ input form. I named the rollover submit button, imaginatively, “application_submit_rollover”. These things, in and of themselves, are not a problem. It’s when you start duplicating things that you will start running into issues.

Now take short_form and duplicate it. It is on a separate, but related web page that uses its own CSS and its own image directory. Me, being lazy, decides that instead of renaming everything, I would simply restyle the same elements and replace the images with different images, but retain all of the same naming conventions.

Man, I felt productive on that day.

Then came the decision to pull that separate page into the original site. Uh oh. Now we have a problem.

Now I have two different forms with completely different styles and images, but the same #ids. Not only that, but to my chagrin, I discovered that another designer had created yet a THIRD application using similar naming conventions. But of course, instead of “application_submit_rollover.PNG” he named his image “application_submit_rollover.GIF”, further complicating the issue.

Long story short, we had to spend more time fixing our naming issues than it would have taken us to create the forms from scratch with appropriately, and UNIQUELY, named elements.

So take it as a lesson learned: Shortcuts taken to increase productivity can in the end come back to haunt you. Take the time to do things correctly, and you can better spend your time worrying about the issues that really matter.

Publish to WordPress via Google Docs

Did you know you can publish to WordPress via Google Docs? Yeah, I know, crazy right?

But it’s the truth. This post right here is proof :)

To do it, you just have to hit the “Share” button, then select the “Publish as web page” option. You’ll see that there is an additional button that pops up: “Post to blog”.

It’s as simple as entering your blog’s site and login information, and Voila! Instant bloggage.

I love Google. I really do. There’s a tear streaming down my cheek as I look at this ;)

Monumental video projection

This video is awesome. They project highly stylized and customized video and project them onto actual buildings, creating some amazing effects. I especially like the one where the 20 foot tall “person” is looking out of a “window” on the side of the building. Very, very, cool.

One reason to NOT use @import to import CSS

Recently, a page that I really wanted to look at was down. As in, no longer existed and the domain was bought by a spammer. Where did I turn to? Archive.org, naturally. Thankfully, the site was listed so that I could check it out. Even greater, I could still download the .zip file that I needed.

What struck me though, is that there were no styles on the page. Normally you get a complete snapshot of a web page, CSS and all. Looking at the source code, it was immediately apparent why no styles were loaded:

<style type="text/css" media="all">@import "/css/global.css";</style>

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://web.archive.org/web/20070826215132js_/http://www.website.com/js/prototype.js"></script>

Notice how archive.org automatically prepends their own URL to the front of the archived site’s javascript? I doesn’t do that for the @import‘ed CSS because it doesn’t look like a link.

I’m curious how this works for relative links within the page, whether or not it resolves them to the full domain when archived. I know that Wget can resolve them, and a lot of web scraping programs are built around that, so…

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