May 2009

For this month’s DPG theme “something seasonal”, I painted this child with the setting sun illuminating from behind while the light of the day still sparkles in his eyes. He’s thinking about the change from spring to summer, as we here in the San Francisco / Bay Area have been having unseasonably warm weather (I’m sitting here in my tank top in 80 degree weather now). So even though this doesn’t look like “something seasonal”, there is a story behind it.

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Who couldn’t use a little boost on their blog, a bit of mojo on their website?  While companies like MSN, Hotels.com, and Pepsi have been using this clever technology from Imagini that offers up picture quizzes to people which then helps them receive personalized content, regular folks like us haven’t been able to take advantage of this next generation recommendation technology.  But that is changing.  Starting today, you can build your own Shop featuring cameras, mobile phones, travel accessories, etc.  While your users learn something about themselves and find the perfect camera amongst the 95K on Amazon alone, you’ll have enriched analytics about your readers and your site will be SEO optimized too.  Plus, if you’re an Amazon Affiliate, you’ll earn at least 4% of the revenues generated from your Shop – if not more!
The Shops are still under private beta for another week, which means you’ll need a code to get one now.  But don’t worry, we’ve got a couple, so just ping me and you’ll be ready to rumble.

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I don’t have an iPhone, so I can’t give this a try, but I find it remarkable and inspirational that you can create paintings with your finger on the touchscreen. Apparently it took the artist about an hour to render this image, which then graced the cover of The New Yorker. Pretty impressive.

Meanwhile, DPG (Deadline Painting Group) looms in the near distance, as the deadline for this month’s theme (anything seasonal) is Friday, August 29th. I have painted, but I don’t know if it looks seasonal. Too bad I don’t have an iPhone – I’d do a little finger doodle of our garden birds lolling in the fountain on a hot day. Quintessential seasonal scene – to me at least.

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Yeah, I confess, I’m a Zune user.  It certainly isn’t fashionable to say you’ve got a Zune… in fact, it usually draws a few snickers (you laughed at me too, didn’t you?).  But check out this beauty – looks pretty slick, doesn’t it?  Built-in high-definition, wifi access, widescreen touchscreen, and more.  

So maybe Apple is nervous and maybe not.  But at least it’s good to have a contender to the king of digital media players.  The next match I’m watching for is the Palm Pre vs. new iPhone vs. new Android because I’m sorely in need of a new smartphone.  Meanwhile, my old Zune is still ticking along just fine.

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“….let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude,–the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.” –General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868

In honor of Memorial Day.

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That reminds me, I need to Twitter about my upcoming trip to Napa starting later today… woof.

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Now I feel better… Mike Elgan’s blog cites research from the University of Melbourne that those who can’t help checking in on their Twitter account during the work day are more productive than those who keep their nose to the grindstone all day. Don’t you feel better now too 😉

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Check out BBC Tech Editor, Darren Water’s analysis of doubleTwist as he speaks to the founders “DVD Jon” Lech Johansen and Monique Farantzos.  If you own a BlackBerry, iPod, PSP, iPhone or other gadget, you’re digital life with be much easier thanks to the work from this dynamic duo and their team.

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Follow the link (or click on the photo above) to see more photobombs. I especially liked the one where it looks like a dog is about to re-enact a scene from Jaws and munch the unsuspecting lady – yikes!

Although, I do confess it made me wonder if my own “self-portrait” technique is somehow akin to photobombing… Can you bomb your own photos? Hmmm.

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I’m a big Blackberry fan myself – I’m currently using a BlackBerry 8310.  But the camera is rather lame and my phone has been slowly dying – the USB synchronization no longer works (I can only sync my contacts through Bluetooth) and the volume has been fading out too, so I’m in the market for a replacement.  I was considering the iPhone, but then I heard a new version is coming out around the Apple Developers Conference in June.  I’ve also been feeling a bit reminiscent about the Palm – I loved my Palm Pilot but Palm eventually lost their way (and market share) and I haven’t even considered one of their phones until now (apparently, those that have played with the prototype think the new Pre is Awesome… yes, with a capital A).  And now, BlackBerry is following closely behind with the rumors of Onyx – although it apparently isn’t coming out until September and only on T-Mobile.  I don’t know if I can wait that long – so I’m looking forward to summer weather… and my new phone.  Whatever that will be.

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I had a discussion on Twitter once about whether there were more men than women on Twitter (turned out to be women). And during that discussion, we concluded that many Twitterers were in their 40s. Turns out our assumptions were correct. According to comScore Media Metrix, 45-to-54-year-olds were 36% more likely than average to visit Twitter, making them the highest-indexing age group.

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Thought I’d share this with you, following the post below where you saw the sketch.  As you can tell, I didn’t stick to the original sketch wholeheartedly.  Somewhere along the way, the looks of the child took another form, which I admit wasn’t really intentional.  I still might go back and do some editing – I’m not quite sure if I’m happy with the way the hand looks, but then again, I don’t want it to be too literal.  Well, we’ll see. 

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Primed my canvas with Naples Yellow and just sketched what I will paint now

All work and no play isn’t good for any of us.  So every now and then I get out my brushes and paints and try to open the creativity modes in my right hemisphere.  Today is one of those gray and rainy days – perfect for staying in, snuggling up with a hot cup of decaf chai, and seeing if the colors in my mind translate well on canvas.  I’m not sure where I’ll take this sketch… back to the studio!

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