If you could only keep 2,000 photos

I’ve been collecting digital photos for years. Since photos became digital, in fact. Along the way I scanned a few thousand photos. More than once. In the early days of the web I wanted to keep images small so they could be uploaded to the web and viewed with molasses-slow dial-up connections. 72 dpi, 640×480. Shitty little things. As the online world improved and I realized my mistake, I scanned many prints again at nice high (600 dpi) resolution.

When I got my first Mac I started managing all my photos in iPhoto (now Apple Photo). I titled every photo and put them in albums and added keywords and then forgot about them. At one point I guess I had about 5,000 photos. That’s nothing compared to most users. Lot of folks have ten, twenty thousand photos. More.

I’ve tended to be a little obsessive compulsive about my photos. If I had 20 shots of the pond at the bottom of our hill and they were all so similar I couldn’t tell one from the other, I’d delete all but the best. In time, my collection was down to about 2,000 photos. But I’d made a conscious decision regarding each one.

I trimmed a few hundred more photos in the past week. Why, for example, did I need photos of the Golden Gate Bridge? The Chrysler Building. The Space Needle. If the photo featured friends or family, I kept it. If there was some personal connection to the subject of the photo, sure. But if the only reason I was keeping the photo was I took it… not a sufficient reason (for me).

Why bother, you ask. Tossing the chaff makes the remaining wheat more valuable. And a couple thousand photos are manageable. While going through my photos I saw that many could be improved. I tweaked and cropped and added meta data where needed. You just can’t do that with 10,000 photos.

I think this is part of the “a place for everything” itch I’ve been scratching for a few years. Keeping only thing things I really care about and getting rid of the rest. Even if I have room to keep it.

Now that I have my collection down to a manageable size, I’m more picky about what gets added. And I’m a little more careful about how I take photos. I went through a similar process with my books a few years ago. When I finish a book that was just so-so, it doesn’t make it to the shelf. It goes to the county library book sale.

I’d call this a zen thing but anything you call a zen thing is definitely not a zen thing.

“Texas Ed” Pinner (WSLM)

I have a lot of photos of radio folk but this might be my favorite. “Texas Ed” Pinner, WSLM, Salem, IN. There’s all this ancient tech jammed into every corner. Reel-to-reel deck; Fidelipac carts; CD players (alas, I don’t see any turntables) and propped up in front of the controls… almost too small to see… an early iPod. Texas Slip is playing the hits from his iPod. Sigh. (Photo by Mike Cady)

Two movies about politicians and politics


The playlist above includes seven clips from two movies: Frank Capra’s 1939 classic, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Jimmy Steward, jean Arthur, Claude Rains); and Dave (Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella and the brilliant Charles Grodin). I’ve posted all of these clips but thought they’d make a nice, tidy playlist.

PS: the tiny horizontal lines with the pointer in the top-left corner, indicates a playlist of several videos.

“The coolest job”


Tom Boman is Vice President of Broadcast Operations for Learfield Sports. He and the people that work with him are responsible for all of the game broadcasts and coaches shows for many of the top colleges and universities in country. He’ll be overseeing broadcasts for 130 schools this fall.

Based on my 40 years in and around radio, I’d say sports play-by-play announcer might be the most coveted — and hard to get — job in broadcasting. And Tom knows as much about what it takes to land one of those jobs as anybody. If you’ve ever wanted to be a “sportscaster” or know someone who does or if you just like listening to sports on the radio, you might enjoy this interview. It runs 20 minutes.

AirPods: First hundred days

I am not an audiophile. I thought the AM radio (WLS) music coming out of the dash speaker on my Ford Falcon sounded pretty damn good. During the 70s I wore headphones four hours a day. I lived through the refrigerator sized speaker era. It all sounded good to me.

But the music never sounded as good as it does coming from the tiny Apple AirPods. Is that perceptual? Maybe. But all music is perceptual unless you have a spectrum analyzer implanted in your head.

I’ve never heard better, more natural, separation. I was listening to CSN&Y (on the highway) this morning and could hear acoustic guitars in my left ear (for lack of a more scientific description). Even that little raspy sounds made when the fingers are dragged along one of the base strings (?). I could shift my awareness to the base in my right ear. (Channel is a better word, isn’t it?) And the vocals were somewhere in the rear-center of my noggin.

It feels like I’m hearing these songs for the first time. I know, I know… this is old news to you pros with the big cans clamped to your head. And good for you.

I’m seeing more AirPods here in the coffee shop every week. If I’m familiar with the person I ask how they like them and why they decided to give them a try. Usually some variation of the story above.

There are probably a lot of good reason NOT to try AirPods. That they’re made by Apple is not one of them.

Portable cassette recorders

Came across this old photo (circa 1988) today and was — once again — struck by the gear we used. This is Lisa Wolfe, a reporter for The Missourinet.

The Radio Shack recorder is jacked into the Shure mixer which is wired into the big cart deck and the phone. So a reporter recorded audio from the phone (with a push-to-talk button in the hand piece); they then dubbed the audio bits they wanted to carts which they carried into the studio for newscasts. When they went into the field they unplugged the cassette recorder.

There were better recorders available but they were all much more expensive than the Radio Shack model which was damn near disposable. The problem was the buttons. Using the recorders as the did (endlessly starting, stopping, fast-forwarding, rewinding) trashed the buttons in no time.

The early SuperScopes (by Marantz) were good but every time they came out with a new model with more features, the buttons got flimsier and flimsier. And the recorders got more and more expensive. And they were nearly impossible to repair. So… Radio Shack.

Thinking back on those days, it occurs to me the cassette recorder was — in some ways — the laptop computer of that day. In the sense that it was our main tool for creating the content of the day (for us): audio.

Of course you needed a radio station or (in our case) a network of radio stations. But we sort of took that for granted.

Travelers

“Thousands of special operatives, sent back in time from the future, are tasked with preventing the collapse of society. These operatives, known as “travelers”, take over the body of a 21st century individual via a “transfer of consciousness”; to minimize impact on the timeline, it is performed moments before the person’s “recorded time of death”. The transfer requires the exact location of the target; smartphones and GPS have made this possible only from the early 21st century onward. Prepared using social media and public records concerning their targets, small teams of travelers must maintain their hosts’ pre-existing lives as cover while carrying out missions, dictated by their “Director” in the future, aimed at saving the world from a series of catastrophic events. The Director communicates with travelers via pre-pubescent children used as “messengers”; unlike adults, any child can safely be taken over for a few minutes and then released from control. The show focuses on one team of five travelers, starting from their transfers of consciousness. As the series progresses, changes in the present make significantly unanticipated changes in the future.” (Wikipedia)