21 October 2012

Microsoft is Surface ..ing?

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This week Microsoft and Apple launched their new products, just in time for Christmas … , the Surface with Windows 8 and the iPad mini.
Up until June this year I would have denied ever considering buying a Microsoft product, because it’s incredibly innovative and intuitional. But that changed in June when the
Surface surfaced on the tablet market with its new operating system Windows 8. Somehow one knows when something is really innovative and game changing and that’s what I felt when I saw the Surface tablet and its user interface. Already the design of the tablet with built in stand and click on keyboard, the colors and the whole feel about it. Then the user interface of Windows 8 with its entirely intuitive approach of the colored tiles, ready to touch to go to the application you want to work with and you can create the user interface that suits you, completely personalized. This is so much what the a creative user wants, fast, intuitive, personal, direct and easy, a real innovation to support creative workflow. That’s how I would have described an Apple laptop two years ago, but not anymore.
The Apple software has become counter-intuitive, slow, disturbing and annoying. The design of features like address book and calendar is hurting the eye and using them has become entirely counter-intuitive and irritating. It was perfect until OSX Snow Leopard, but it is not anymore. The new iPad mini is nice, but it is not innovative and it is expensive. Apple didn’t come with something really new, it followed the competitors to have also a smaller tablet and to cash in this market segment.
Apple the leader in innovation for decades has turned into the follower … for decades? Is
Microsoft surfacing from the depth of being the heavy weight giant to become the innovative leader? The first queues for the Surface are already lining up in front of the Microsoft shops.

Innovation will always win.

Ute Sonnenberg for

The Year of Storytelling … for Photos too?

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Direct Marketing News forecasted this year would be “the year of the story” and big brands like Nike, Google and Kimberly-Clark use storytelling as a means of communication and leadership. (via Fast Company).
How do we fit in? Which role play stories in our lives? We write blogs, we
photograph and we make photo books. We all got stories to tell and digital media allows us to share them with the world and anyone who wants to read them. Imagine only a few years ago. Who was writing a blog? Who was making photo books? Digital photography and social media created easy tools and platforms for expression and suddenly stories were told in words and pictures. Storytelling became accessible to anyone. No publisher would decide if a story was good and allowed to be told. The people are now deciding which story they like. It is amazing how many great storytellers are out there, only browse on this platform and you find the most talented people.
What I would wish for an easier storytelling with pictures is an online tool with templates for photo ebooks, you know just like the Apple photo book templates, but then online and postable to all social media platforms and blogs. The photo ebooks would appear then as small flipbooks, just like blog posts and you click on them to leave trough. Or am I just living under a rock and this tool is already there? If yes, please let me know! It would be so much fun to make easily and quickly online photo ebooks, but just as beautiful as the gorgeous Apple photo books.
Or is this just the idea photo storytelling needs?

Keep telling your stories! Happy creating!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Facebook: It's free and always will be. … really?

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Earlier blog posts shed already a light on the changes in Facebook and how it affects access to your friends and fans. It was going on for a while, but since Facebook became a public company it started jumping into your face, that they have only one goal, as much money for the investors as possible.
It was quite from the beginning an issue to get access to the people who signed up for your events when you had a Facebook page, although you had to run adverts for people to see them. So you paid for the adverts for your events and then you were not allowed to send messages to the people who signed up? Yes, it was like that, warnings popped up that you were sending spam and that your account would be suspended, if you continue. The next step was that you couldn’t send messages to your Facebook page fans. The same warning came and it didn’t take long and you could see only a fraction of your fans. To the others you couldn’t get access at all. And the best of it is that you paid adverts for you Facebook page for people to know you are out there, the liked it, became fans and now you were not allowed to access them, your own fans.
This tendency got worse since about May this year. Facebook now started restricting how many of YOUR fans are seeing your posts on your fan page. Now they want you to pay for your posts to be seen by your fans and they call it “sponsored posts”. The moment you tried it once, they slow you down even more. Now only a fraction of a fraction can see your posts on your own fan page with your fans. They want you to do it again, they want your money. So what is left of the slogan you see whenever you log into Facebook “It’s free and always will be.”?
Read also the blog post from Dangerous Minds on the topic. What will happen when Facebook carries on making their clients more and more unhappy? What happens to the small clients also happens to the big. How long will they take it?

Facebook: I want my friends back. Dangerous Minds

Ute Sonnenberg for

Magic to Share: Photographs Out of Time & Space

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Joe Berkowitz unearthed for Co.Create amazing photographs that play with time and space.

Have a look and enjoy his article and the incredible photographs by Jay Mark Johnson. (photo above)

Read the article here and get your head spinning.

Ute Sonnenberg for

Another Found: Ansel Adams Prints Found Sitting in a Box

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Only last week we learned about the never seen before Rolling Stones Images found on a flea market and now there are Ansel Adams prints found sitting in a box at UC Berkeley Library.

San Francisco Chronicle writes that dance professor Catherine Cole made the discovery after following a trail of documents:
“I kept seeing the name Ansel Adams and thought ‘what the heck is he doing all over the UC archives,’ ” says Cole, who followed this lead to the Bancroft Library, where 605 signed fine prints by Adams sat in a box, among the university’s rare collections.
[...] “This is an extraordinary resource that has been buried like a time capsule,” says Cole, 49, who discovered the prints while doing independent research on the California Master Plan for Higher Education. (via PetaPixel)

Did you start diving into your boxes on the attic already? Again, who knows what’s sitting waiting there to be unearthed … and what about all the
virtual boxes?

Happy diving!

Ute Sonnenberg for

The Bleeding Edge of Abstraction - Mondrian

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Piet Mondrian started as a landscape artist and arrived at abstraction. Maybe he actually made a journey into the essence of landscape or the essence of things we see as chairs and trees. When seeing fabrics, blood, skin and cells under the microscope they appear to be patterns of shapes and pretty close to Mondrian’s artwork.

How does this journey go in
photography? Maybe a good example is the work of Andreas Gursky, yet also in his work the grass along the Rhein is still recognizable as grass and houses as houses. A camera can produce abstract images, yet we tend to photograph things in their normal being and not as essential abstract patterns of light and matter. Why is this? I don’t know. Maybe Photoshop will be more likely the tool to create “Mondrians” with our photographs, extracting “abstracts” from them, transforming it into artwork. Photoshop is just great for that, our electronic brush.

For those who like Mondrian, there is a nice book
“Coppernickel goes Mondrian”. Check it out.

Ute Sonnenberg for

Travel Memories 2008 - On Safari in Africa - Day 8

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It was Monday and day 8 in a leaking tent. I was determined to fix it today.
We went out for the
morning game drive. It was lovely sunny weather and Samburu was lying there in its breathtaking beauty. We were looking for elephants. Paul explained that the elephants retreat into the mountains when it rains, but should come down again with this wonderful weather. We cruised around to cover all possible paths they could take down from the mountains to the river. Another guide told us they saw them and we hurried to get to the area they were seen, but nothing. No elephant at all. After three hours search we decided to have breakfast, on a spot with a cell phone signal. The office would be open by now.
The breakfast was delicious as always and Paul phoned the office in Nairobi. He had to tell his story over and over again to different people. Nobody seemed able or willing to understand what was going on with the tents. They would call us back with the solution. We waited half an hour and then carried on with the game drive and our elephant search. That was actually what I was here for.
In the afternoon was excitement all around. Lions had been spotted and we headed to the area, but first we had to find a signal to phone the office again. Actually quite close to the lion sighting we had a signal and I just wanted to get things solved quickly to get to the lions. But that didn’t happen. Next to the tent issue was a change in the itinerary I didn’t agree with. I had booked a stay at Lewa Downs and because Lewa has no campsite we should camp just outside the conservancy. That just outside turned out to be 50 km away from Lewa, which made no sense at all and as an alternative they offered me a stay at a farm with game. It couldn’t get into their heads that that wouldn’t be bush and no alternative to Lewa Downs, a rhino conservancy between Isiolo and Mount Kenya in the Laikipia area. At the end it all came down to money. I could stay at Lewa, but had to pay the full rate, next to the amount I had already paid for those two nights. I was furious. Here I was, 8 days in a leaking tent, a vehicle with a couple of main issues, a mixed up itinerary, an unacceptable alternative for Lewa and no way that the company was taking responsibility. We ended the conversation with the result that the new tents would be flown in tomorrow morning and I would think about Lewa. And when we got to the lions, they were gone into the bushes. What a waste of time in beautiful Samburu.
Back in camp Alex had prepared again a lovely dinner. He is an excellent cook. No matter what the circumstances, he managed to create wonderful food, although Samburu got a bit on his nerves. He was very eager to have a fire all night, which wasn’t the case in the Mara and Nakuru. And this evening he came up with a couple of stories he had heard about cooks working in Samburu. One guy had kept papaya in his tent and got visited by an elephant. They love this fruit and can smell it from a big distance. The elephant smelled the papaya, but didn’t know how to get to it. So he grabbed the tent with his trunk and threw it up while the cook was sleeping in it. The tent landed in a tree and the cook was screaming. The other people just opened the zip a bit to see what’s going on, but didn’t dare to get out. Fortunately the cook was able to throw out the papaya, the elephant ate a couple of pieces and went off. Another guy had taken meat out of the fridge to defrost it during the night in his tent. The smell attracted a hyena and she managed to scratch open the tent to get in. At that moment the cook woke up and screamed, the hyena panicked, both were moving wildly, the tent collapsed and both tried to get out. Somehow the hyena managed to get out and ran off. Both cooks resigned and never went back to the bush again. Also this night we had our fire burning all night. 

Ute Sonnenberg for