Beginner’s Photoshop: Making Smartphone Wallpaper

It’s pretty easy to make custom wallpaper (background images) for your smartphone. The main trick is getting the size right. Of course, as with so many things associated with modern smartphones (and consumer goods in general) close is usually good enough. And with most things regarding digital images, too big is better than too small.
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Who’s Who in Scams Aimed at Artists

Creatives are frequent targets of scammers who use the promise of publicity and attention as bait to take your money and/or your work while giving little or nothing of value in return. The insidious part of these scams is that many of them are entirely legal*.

Here’s a roundup of the most common ones (in no particular order).

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Pacific Image PrimeFilm PF120 Pro Film Scanner – Review

In my efforts to acquire a scanner for bringing my medium format negatives and transparencies into the digital realm I recently tried out the Pacific Image "PrimeFilm" PF120 Pro film scanner. I’ve had excellent results in the past scanning 35mm with the Kodak RFS3600 — a rebadged Pacific Image scanner — so I thought I’d give the budget-priced (for a medium format scanner) PF120 a try. Continue reading

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Another Spamming Photoshopper to Avoid: Zarih’s Retouching

Should I Trust a Spammer in Switzerland With My Image Files?

Addendum, March 2018: On 15 March I received several emails (and a text message on my phone!) from Zarih (or someone claiming to be him) asking me to take this page down. He sounded so pathetic I almost considered watering down some of the content. Until 19 March… when he spammed me again! No, I’m not joking. Here’s a helpful hint: If you don’t want to be taken as a dirtbag don’t behave like one.

If anyone else receives spam from Zarih’s Retouching please contact me.

If advertising via spam isn’t enough to make it clear you’re a dirtbag, how about throwing in the old throwaway-web-site-with-a-redirect trick?

I’ve received a few spams from "Zarih’s Retouching" over the past year and ignored them until the latest one pushed me past my Douchebag Tolerance ThresholdTM and I decided to investigate. Continue reading

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The Raw Artists Scam is Back

They must have found enough gullible artists in Boston last time around because RawArtists.org has judged it worth while to make another visit. More spam from these creeps just landed in my inbox. As with all their spam, it contains an invisible 1 pixel web bug — these guys just exude class, don’t they?

It seems the "Herbalife of Arts Organizations" is back and having another bash on October 19.

In case you’re not up to speed on this outfit (see my earlier post) it’s a “pay to play” scheme, advertised by spam email, but with an interesting variation. Continue reading

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tscott.editing@gmail.com Wants You to Send Him Your Images!

“Thomas Scott” (and judging by his poor grasp of the English language I’m guessing that’s a pseudonym) wants me to send him my images for Photoshop editing. No matter that Photoshop editing is what I do myself. Oh yes, and this spammer thinks I’ll trust an unknown from a completely unknown and unnamed business somewhere in the world (no web site or business address mentioned in the spam) to honor my copyright. Right? There’s no chance he’s in a foreign country and will sell off my images as he sees fit, right? Continue reading

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Instagram: A Deck Stacked Against You

If you haven’t heard that Instagram is a scam dominated by automated software ("bots"), fake users and fake "likes" you must be pretty new to the internet. But just in case you aren’t up to speed, here are a few good links that explain the depths to which the Instagram universe has sunk:

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The “RAW Artists” Scam Hits Boston

As Usual, It Begins With Spam (Sigh)

About a week ago I received an Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE or spam) that was a little unusual. Rather than hawking the standard spam fare (drugs, sunglasses, handbags and dubious “SEO” services) it was an “invitation” to participate in an “Artists Showcase” here in Boston. In my experience, most of these invitations are really offers to take your money. That fact that it arrived in the form of a spam email raised my mental warning flags even higher. A little web searching (at the end of this post you’ll find links to the most helpful pages I could find) confirmed my suspicions.

Having a busy week, I ignored the spam rather than reporting it. Then I received a second spam this morning. So I decided a blog post was warranted. Continue reading

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More Spamming Scumbags: Picto Online

Somehow one of my older email addresses has found its way onto the spam list of another sleazy photo operation. This time it’s the self-proclaimed “Legendary French professional photo lab” that calls itself Picto Online. When will people learn that the surest way of making your business look like a scam is by sending spam email? The web site at us.pictoonline.com certainly doesn’t reassure me — no phone number listed? No thanks, I want people I can talk to. They’re in France but have a NY office. So why no phone number? I bet I can guess.

It’s also worth noting that these people are (allegedly) in the business of making prints. This means, by definition, high resolution files. So anyone who does business with them will be sending their their own work in high resolution form. Do you trust an overseas spammer not to pirate your copyrighted work? Not me. Not you either, I hope.

Addendum — September 14, 2017

The fact that Picto Online is based in France, rather than a notorious copyright-ignoring haven like China or India, might seem reassuring at first. Their representative’s post in the comments section below certainly implies that. But a little investigation puts an end to that notion. A recent article by Copytrack, a business dedicated to identifying image copyright violations on line, finds (unsurprisingly) that China is the worldwide leader in image theft. But guess which country comes in second? Yes, it’s France.

Image theft by country - courtesy of Copytrack
Copytrack.com analysis of image theft by country

So I’m going to send my images to a spammer based in France for printing services? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

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Talk Business 360 TV Spam

When will people learn that advertising by spam is the surest way to throw away any shred of credibility their business might have? If there’s any better way to shout “SCAM!” to the world than through Unsolicited Commercial Email I haven’t found it yet.

The latest scam to come my way is from an outfit called Talk Business 360 Continue reading

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