Why Would Anyone Advertise on Facebook?

I’m convinced: Advertising on Facebook is useless.

Part of the attraction, supposedly, for advertising on Facebook is that they know so much about all their users – through various, sometimes ethically-questionable means – that your advertising will be precisely targeted to precisely those people it will be most likely to interest. If that were really the case I can see why an advertiser would go for it: There’s no wasted money/effort directed at people uninterested in, or actually hostile to, your product or service. If that’s how it worked it would be great. But it doesn’t work.

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Lytro Developments. As Predicted

DP Review just posted a news article titled “Toshiba shows-off Lytro-style Light Field module for mobiles”, fulfilling a prediction I made in my original Lytro article about a year ago. Details: The 8-megapixel sensor reportedly delivers 2-megapixel images, which is a better ratio than I had hypothesized but that appears to be a case of different design trade-offs according to DP Review.

Read this article: Lytro camera for Toshiba mobile phones.

Addendum, 04 May, 2013

Addendum, 06 December, 2013

Still more cell phone developments: Apple patents a lightfield-type camera for iPhone.
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Exhibit March-June 2013

I’ve just been informed that two of my photographs have been selected for an exhibit that will be taking place in the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, March 28 through June 28. There will be an opening reception on March 28. That’s just about all I know at the moment but here are the two prints that will be on display:

Two photographs by Mark Roberts: 'Live Oak and Vines' and

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Harry Potter and the Caller ID Cloak

Imagine what the world would be like if Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak was real.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Harry Potter books (does such a person exist?), the Invisibility Cloak is, quite simply, a cloak that makes its wearer invisible. Harry Potter, being the hero of the books, uses the cloak only for good. Or, more specifically, to discover and defeat evil-doers. Now what would happen if the Invisibility Cloak really existed? What if, to take this thought experiment a step further, it not only existed but could be relatively inexpensive and widely available? Perhaps your first thought was the same as mine: Criminals would have a field day.

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New Version of FastStone Image Viewer

There’s a new version of my favorite, free image viewer/browser application.

FastStone has just released version 4.7 of their superb Fastone Image Viewer app. It’s Windows-only, so Mac users are left out, but anyone running Windows would be well advised to download a copy. It’s a flexible, easy to use image viewer with some basic editing capability. And it really stands out as an image browser, having most of the capabilities of Adobe Bridge but with better stability/reliability. It’s freeware, with a “donations accepted” page on the web site. Throw ‘em a few dollars if you like it (and I’m pretty sure you will).

Find out more and get download here.

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Rules for Increasing Image Size in Photoshop

There’s a lot of confusion about how and when to increase image size using Photoshop. I thought I’d clear things up by offering the rules I use:

Increasing Image Size in Photoshop

Rule 1 – Don’t do it.

Rule 2 – See Rule 1.

Rule 3 – If you must ignore rules 1 and 2, keep increase small.

Rule 4 – If you have to ignore rules 1, 2 and 3, keep your own name off the work and give credit/blame to someone else.

Rule 5 – If you have to ignore rules 1, 2, 3 and 4, change your name, leave the country and become a monk somewhere.

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Why Instagram’s Copyright-Grab is Different

If you haven’t just returned from a safari far beyond the reach of the Internet you’ve probably heard about Instagram’s copyright grab in their new Terms of Service agreement. On the face of it there doesn’t appear to be much to distinguish the whole fuss from the other copyright paranoia outbreaks I’ve made fun of in the past: They claim the right to use your photos, license them to third parties, etc. Just like Facebook, Pinterest and so many other on line photo sharing and social media sites do. But this time it really is different.

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Metadata in Photoshop: Don’t Forget It!

I just received a few head shot photos from a web client to post on her site. All very nice, thoroughly professional and perfectly appropriate. In fact, since I don’t specialize in portrait photography myself, I thought I’d check the metadata to see who was responsible so I’d have a name to recommend in the future. But there was nothing there. Nada. Blank.

We photographers often get so worried about people stealing our images that we forget to make things easy for those who want to do the right thing (that is, pay us). It’s inappropriate to put a visible watermark with your name and web site on work that you’re delivering to a client. But you absolutely should put it into the metadata!

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Font Embeddability — Mac and Windows

We’ve all experienced it: opening a document on a computer where it’s never been used before only to be faced with one of those "Missing Font" warnings. You certainly don’t want anyone to have to face those when they open one of your files, do you? The solution is font embedding. By embedding the font into the document any end user will be able to see your work just the way you designed it. Ah, but there are traps and pitfalls to beware of when you go down that path.

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Goldmedalseo.com — Spam is a Sure Sign of a Scam

More blog spam has been coming in lately. The latest is another Search Engine Optimization scam from an outfit called goldmedalseo.com who are so good at optimization that if you search for the keywords "search engine optimization"… (pause for dramatic effect)… their web site isn’t in the first 20 results. No, I lied. Their site isn’t in the first 20 pages of results. When was the last time you reached the 20th page of a web search and thought to yourself, "well, maybe what I’m looking for will be on the 21st page"? (The answer is "never".) Of course, their own invisibility to search engines is not unexpected: They’d have no need to resort to blog spamming if they were actually good at the service they purport to sell. If you do a whois look-up on the domain name "goldmedalseo.com" you’ll find the results hidden by privacyprotect.org — personal sites use this service for privacy reasons, business sites use it if they don’t want you to be able to find out anything about them… for reasons you can well imagine. Hilariously, their web site is hosted at weebly.com, a build-your-own-web-site service for total noobs! The spam came from egihosting.com — a constant source of spam here, so it won’t do me any good to report it.

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