Archive for February 2007

XLR8R TV Launch Party

Digg OnDigg On Hosted on Zooomr

I had a great time hanging out with the digg and Revision 3 folks at Slide last night as they kicked off their latest Rev3 venture, XLR8R TV. XLR8R is a magazine that focus on hip-hop and culture and now they’ve got their own show. Another great channel on the Revision 3 internet TV station of the future.

You can check out the pilot episode of XLR8R TV here. I took a few photos of last night’s launch party as usual and you can see all of them here.

The “Other Side” of the Carlos Miller Arrest Story

Miami Dade PoliceMiami Dade Police Hosted on Zooomr

So I promised you all the “other side” of the story I’ve been reporting on regarding the recent arrest of Carlos Miller. Carlos Miller is a Miami based journalist who was recently arrested after, according to Miller, he was told not to photograph the police who were investigating a “private matter” and asked to move along.

Rather than comply with the police, Miller instead continued taking photographs of them, a crime for which he asserts he was arrested. In the end Miller spent 16 hours in a Miami Dade jail and now faces nine counts over the incident. You can read Miller’s take of what happened at this story here. The Miami Herald is also reporting on it here.

So the “other side” of the story? Well here from the police report:

“While Officer Read was conducting an investigation of an accident, defendant approached the scene with a camera without identifying himself. Because the accident was at a busy avenue (Biscayne) and was heavy traffic, Officer Read told to the defendent to go to the other side of the street (safety issue) and do not stand in the middle of the street obstructing the traffic at which time defendant refused to obey Officer Read’s commands and stated, “this is a public road and I can do what the hell I want.” And continued refusing to obey after being told to do so. Defendant (made?) myself [and other officers] escorted the defendant to the other side of the street (safe location) by the sidewalk at which time the defendant got violent by refusing to walk freely, tensing himself and taking pictures with his camera.

Then defendant was told to place his hands behind his back, but instead he started putting resistance by pulling his arms away, and non complaint to our verbal commands. Defendants actions caused motorists to stop their vehicles concerning about the comotions. Also defendants actions caused a delay with the accident investigation that Officer Read was conducting. Defendant was arrested without further incident.”

You can read the entire police report (with Carlos’ personal information redacted) at the links below.

Carlos Miller Arrest report page one.pdf

Carlos Miller Arrest report page two.pdf

Ok, a couple of things. First off, the photos that I saw that were taken by Carlos were not photos from the middle of the street. They were photos taken with the police between him and the street. Second. I just find it super hard to believe that even if someone is blocking traffic that they deserve to be arrested over this. People jaywalk all the time. Maybe give him a ticket or something. But to arrest the guy? And I like how the police throw in there that he “got violent” by refusing to walk freely. That’s just ridiculous. I suppose that’s the justification they will use to justify why Carlos was injured in this arrest (Carlos says they smashed his head into the street).

I guess I’m just not buying the cop’s story here. To me it seems like overkill to put Carlos through what he was put through. It doesn’t all add up. I can envision a scenario where what really happened was a photographer was taking photos of cops who didn’t want to be photographed. They asked him not to photograph them and he continued, so they used their power to teach him a lesson. The problem is that the cops should not be telling anyone not to photograph them. If they want to be in a job where they won’t be photographed public service is probably not for them. Also regardless of whether Carlos “identified” himself as a journalist or not, this is not relevant. We are all citizen journalists and as an actual journalist Carlos holds no special rights over any of the rest of us.

I hope that this matter is investigated and that if Carlos indeed was unjustly arrested that the cops in question lose their jobs at a minimum. I hope that his story gets the attention that it deserves and that police everywhere and photographers everywhere are better educated about our respective rights.


BroadwayBroadway Hosted on Zooomr

Trevor, You’re Crazy Man � I know someone, who knows someone who got tased Wow, Trevor just sent me a link to a video of him getting tased. He says it was the most painful thing that he’s ever felt but that he recovered immediately. I’m not sure I’d ever volunteer for something like that. It looks like it hurts in the video.

Why I Love Creative Commons

JJjunki left me a comment on one of my photos today that reminded me why I love the Creative Commons license so much. Jjunki’s is a hobby programmer and his comment had to do with a new “crop” and “smooth edge” filter that he is building. With his new application he took one of my photos and used it to remix and create an even better mashup version of my same photo. The result of his work is the photo on the left. You can see my original here.

By licensing my photos Creative Commons non-commerical, I can protect my monetary licenses to my images but I can give people like JJjunki carte blanche to do super interesting things like this without even having to ask my permission. I LOVE that. I love that people can find my photos and find new and interesting ways to bring them to life.

It doesn’t just stop with photography though. I’ve had a number of people paint my photos as well which is another huge honor. Below are images of mine that were subsequently painted by Kathy Johnson and torbakhopper on Flickr.

Sometimes or Sometimes Not

Sixth Avenue

I love collaboration. It is one of the most exciting things in art for me. Whether music or video mashups, or doing new and interesting things with photos, I find some of the best art is art that is consistently reinvesnted.

Microsoft’s Charlie Owen is Disappointed in My Switch to the Mac

My first photo ever posted to my Flickrstream. My Media Center PC.

My friend Charlie Owen, who works on the Media Center team over at Microsoft, is out with a post saying he’s disappointed with my post yesterday where I suggest to Chris Pirillo that it’s time for him to ditch Windows and move on over to a Mac. I don’t think Chris is going to take my advice… but if he hears it enough over time at some point it might kick in (that’s how the conversion worked for me).

From Charlie: “I’ve remained silent about Thomas moving most of his computing to the Mac simply because I was so very disappointed to lose him as a resource to make Windows Media Center a better experience. I was pretty amazed to see him so quickly jump on the ‘Get a Mac’ bandwagon with Chris’ latest post given (1) a majority of his problems with Windows at the time he ‘switched’ seemed to stem from his chosen OEM and (2) as far as I know he doesn’t have a ton of experience with Windows Vista to objectively compare it to MacOS. In his defense, he might have a ton of experience with Windows Vista but hasn’t posted about it (yet).”

So I wanted to address a couple of Charlie’s points.

First off, nobody wanted Microsoft to be the best operating system in the world more than me. I still think Microsoft’s vision for the Media Center PC as an entertainment hub in the home (especially with the XBox 360 as an extender) is brilliant. I’ve invested thousands of hours into Microsoft Windows and really think it has potential.

What’s more, unrelated to their OS, Microsoft has done a lot of things right in the past few years with regards to the blogosphere. Some of this was started by Scoble when he was there, but a lot of it has just grown organically as the outgrowth of a company who believes in blogging. People like Charlie and Sean Alexander and now Michael Gartenberg (among many, many others), understand the forum of blogging and it’s an important way to communicate and share ideas in an open forum. By contrast I don’t know a single Apple blogger. I’m sure they are out there I just have never met one.

The fact that I’ve got blogging friends and believe in a vision though are simply not enough.

The immediate temptation is to begin rattling off yet another list of the many, many specific problems that I’ve had with my PCs over the years, peripherals not being recognized, sticking things into USB slots and getting no response, meta data not taking, I/O device errors, authentication not working, things freezing up, applications not quiting, not being able to delete a folder or file because it’s “in use” even when it’s not in use by me, etc. etc. etc.). I could probably list 300 specific problems that I’ve had in the past few years if I really wanted to. At one point I started a blog post where I was going to document all of the problems I was having on my PCs and then see if people could give me advice on how to fix them. Kind of an interesting community based tech support experiment. But there were just too many problems to keep up with and follow up on and it turned out to be a lot more work than I originally thought.

I really, really wanted Windows and the PC platform to be my primary computing experience. But it doesn’t always work like it should. And many who uses a PC know this. It’s common knowledge. People just learn to accept it as part of the price for using the computer, an indispensable tool at this point, and move on. From what I’ve experienced of the Mac so far though, what I’m saying is that these almost daily problems do not *have* to be a part of your computing experience.

Charlie in your post you state that, the “majority of his problems with Windows at the time he ‘switched’ seemed to stem from his chosen OEM.” This simply is not true. I’ve used many different PCs made by many different OEMs over the course of the past 16 years. Today in my home I have 5 PCs. I have a laptop that is made by Dell that was my primary computing device. I have a HP Media Center PC. I have a custom build AKMA PC that was used primarily as a digital media workhorse. I have another generic brand PC and another Dell desktop.

Additionally I’ve got two Windows PCs a work. Another generic AKMA box and a HP Box that goes with my Bloomberg machine.

Most of my computing was done on my Dell laptop and on my AKMA custom built box while much of my media was consumed on the HP.

As my primary PC my Dell laptop had been used less than a year. Interestingly enough I’ve had three laptops in the last three years. In 2004 I used a Sony laptop that I bought at Costco in October of 2004 it was crushed under a seat on a flight back from Italy (gotta love those Lufthansa mechanical seats but laptops beware). I then upgraded to a IBM ThinkPad T40. Certainly a high enough end Windows machine. In 2005 I spilled a giant glass of chardonnay into the ThinkPad and thought enough with spending $3,000 on a laptop and bought the Dell for less than $1,000.

So in the last three years I have experienced Windows computing on Sony, Dell, IBM, HP and generic built box platforms. And I have experienced (and still experience on the surviving machines today) problems on every single machine universally.

Your point about Vista is a fair one. My only real experiences with Vista so far have been with beta Vista software (and it’s not fair to judge beta software as I very well know being the CEO of a company with current beta software out). But when I read things like what Chris Pirillo wrote it just resonates with me. And even in the three comments on your post about this disappointment people are already complaining about Vista. Chris Pirillo is someone who is tech savvy and someone whose opinion I trust. When Chris says he’s “upgrading” to XP that says a lot. And my points about XP sucking are true for me. XP has sucked for me. And where it sucks most of all is in comparison to the Mac.

Maybe I’ve drunk the Mac Kool-aid at this point. But my years of hardcore daily computing experience tell me that there is something more to this. That there is something more to it than funny commercials and the soothing sound of Steve Job’s voice as he preaches to us about the iPhone. That fundamentally, I’ll say it again, “It just works.” And it just works over and over and over again. And that counts for far more than the clever ads or the sleek design, or the fact that all Macs are female (I haven’t picked a name for mine yet).

The thing is that there is just so much to do and so little time. In addition to my blog I’ve got four kids, a day job in the investment business, I’m CEO of an internet startup and on top of it all I’m trying to shoot 200-300 photos every day and build a library of 500,000 finished images before I die. The efficiencies that the Mac gives me are real and they are powerful. I hope Microsoft gets there.

I w
ill try Vista at some point myself and I hope when I do that I don’t come to the same conclusions that Chris Pirillo did.

Quest for Meaning

Quest for MeaningQuest for Meaning Hosted on Zooomr

Zooomr Mark III, It’s Coming

Zooomr Mark III: Your PhotosZooomr Mark III: Your Photos Hosted on Zooomr

[I am CEO of Zooomr]

Well, I’m really excited with the progress that is being made on Zooomr. Kristopher Tate has been working 19 hour days coding away like a machine to produce the best version of Zooomr yet. We are getting closer and closer to release every day and hope to have something to delight everyone shortly.

Kristopher released the photo above along with a video today as a sneak peak at the new Zooomr. As cool as having three views for yours and your friend’s photostreams will be (thumbnail view, regular view and blog view) it is nothing compared with the other stuff coming out that Kristopher, I and a few others have been playing with behind the scenes. The best stuff coming out of our next release for Zooomr will be the social sharing stuff. I can’t get into it all right now but it will be like nothing you’ve ever seen from a photo sharing site before. In addition to all the new features Kristopher has also fixed over 250 bugs in our previous version of Zooomr and implemented some great new ways for you to log in and enjoy the site. We are also hoping to redefine the stock photography market (more on this later).

We are almost here. Down to the homestretch. If you have a particular issue today, hang tight. It likely will be fixed in the new version. Thanks to all of the great photographers on Zooomr so far. We couldn’t have done it without you.

If you haven’t signed up for Zooomr yet you can do so here. Keep in mind though that it’s going to be a whole new and better experience very, very shortly.

The future looks bright indeed. The best phtographs in the world have yet to be taken.

Carlos Miller Arrested for the Crime of Photography

Miami Police Department Sergeant RahmingMiami Police Department Sergeant RahmingCategory 305 Miami politics, culture, nightlife, and traffic – Miami Police Arrest Journalist Two days ago I posted an article about a Miami journalist who goes by the name of RaginginMiami regarding a recent incident he had with the police. I promised more and here are more of the details. It’s really horrible to read.

The journalist referred to previously as “RaginginMiami”‘s real name is Carlos Miller. He was on assignment shooting Biscayne Boulevard when the police asked him not to take photographs of them. The thing is it’s not against the law to take photos of the police. In fact very specific court rulings have upheld this important right.

Here’s Miller’s account after he took more photos of the police when asked to stop from catergory305 where he works:

“Suddenly, Miller said, the officers lost interest in the man they had been questioning, and focused on him. The commanding officer at the scene, a Sgt. Rahming, walked over to him and took him by the elbow. Rahming escorted him across Biscayne Boulevard, to the sidewalk on the east side.

Miller then made the decision that probably got him thrown in jail. He reached up with one arm and snapped a photo of Rahming. “I knew it pissed him off,“ Miller admitted, “But it’s not illegal.”

Miller turned and saw that the other officers were also walking across the street. He took a couple of shots of them as well, motioning him to keep walking. And that was it. They’d had it.

Miller said that in the next instant, he was surrounded by the officers. One attempted to trip kick him to fall to the ground, but he was concerned about his expensive camera equipment, so he tried not to fall on his face. He heard one officer say “He’s resisting arrest!” “

I have been in contact with Carlos Miller personally and I have also been in contact with an Officer at the Miami PD who has told me that she will provide me a police report of the incident. There are of course two sides to every story and I’ll update again once I obtain that police report — but I will say this. If in fact Carlos’ story is true, these police officers should be fired and should also be put in prison themselves.

While I have a tremendous amount of respect for the police, have friends who are cops, etc. There is no room in this world for dirty cops. The law is the law and the law is clear. Cops are allowed to be photographed. If the cops don’t like this law, they can work to have it changed or move to a country that does not have this law. But when empowered with guns and arrest power they need to use this power only in legal ways.

It’s very upsetting to read stories like this and I hope that Carlos’ story gets the attention that it should and that more photographers and police will be educated about this important First Amendment right.

Chris Pirillo, Time to Get a Mac

demodemo Hosted on Zooomr

My friend Chris Pirillo is out with a post today entitled “Windows Vista, I’m Breaking Up with You.” In the post he documents all the reasons why he plans on “upgrading” (yes, you read that right) from Windows Vista to Windows XP.

Chris points to the reasons why he’s disappointed in Vista (his scanner doesn’t work, Windows Movie Maker crashes, his fax software doesn’t work, his Lifecam won’t work — check this out Chris, the Mac has a super cool cam already built in — I could go on, but just read his article to get the whole thing).

But you see here’s the thing. This is Chris Pirillo. Chris Pirillo the Windows heavy weight. Chris Pirillo who happens to be kind of sort of pretty handy with a computer. If Chris Pirillo is having trouble, just imagine the trouble that the rest of middle America is having.

I was as much of a Windows diehard as Chris Pirillo was before switching to my MacBook Pro. I really was impressed by what I saw of some early Vista demos. I used to deride the Appleheaded fan boys who would hype the bejezus out of Apple. And for years (16 of them to be exact) I just stuck by Windows again, and again and again and again.

I stuck with Windows for one reason. I was stubbornheaded. It didn’t matter how much things fell apart and didn’t work, like most people I just had a natural resistance to change. I didn’t want to start over again. I was afraid of trying something new. I was busy, always super busy, and used the learning curve as an excuse. And then because I wasn’t really sure (the Mac was the unknown) was I just going to waste more money on something else. I rationalized that all computers had the same problems. That Macs were no better than PCs, etc. etc. again and again and again.

And then after I’d been hit in the side of the head with a shovel one too many times and when I got tired of hearing my friend Kristopher Tate (that’s him in the photo above) say over and over and over again, “Dude, get a Mac,” one day on a total impulse buy I bought one at the Apple store in Palo Alto.

And it has been the most positive thing to happen to my computing since. I live with my computer. It’s a big part of my life. I use it upwards of 20 hours a day. And although there was about a 72 hour learning curve and I had to ask Kristopher some really dumb things like “how do I rename a folder,” after this short learning curve it was over and done and now I’m far, far more efficient with my computing than I’ve ever been.

Programs don’t freeze. Everything with a USB connection I’ve ever stuck into the thing has just worked. It wakes up when it’s supposed to. In three months of heavy, heavy use I’ve probably only had to restart maybe three times. Photoshop goes faster. Bridge goes faster. Everything goes faster. And everything just works. That’s the bottom line, everything just works.

Don’t get me wrong. Things *can* go wrong on a Mac. It just happens like 20x less than on a PC.

On top of it all it feels better. The built in cam and mic are awesome. The way the volume goes pop, pop, pop as I turn my music up and down is soothing. The keyboard is more comfortable. It’s really cool how I can use two fingers on the touchpad to move my screen up and down, two fingers on the pad and click to right click, etc.

In his article about Vista Chris says, “I’m still more than willing to help Microsoft improve Windows and get the message out to users, but I simply can’t sacrifice my own time and productivity without benefits in clear sight.”

I don’t quite know what to say about Vista. I’ve got lots of good friends at Microsoft. I really like them. I wish I could say that I think Windows rocks, but I don’t. To be fair I think a big part of the problem is Microsoft’s open system vs. Apple’s closed system. When you have a closed system you can just test it again and again and again to make sure it works. Windows on the other hand must support many, many more components than Apple does and so one lazy screw up by say a mousepad maker can ruin the whole experience (I never could get tap to click turned off on my old Dell laptop).

Take my advice Chris Pirillo. Make the switch. I should have done it years ago. You will not regret it. You won’t look back. It will be like a dark cloud has been lifted from over your head. It really is that good. Forget about the marketing, about the guy in the hospital gown vs. the hipster. Forget about all the hype. Just do it. Bottom line is it just works and you will be so much productive for it. Don’t “upgrade” to XP. XP Sucks.

Time to get a Mac Pal.

You can digg this post here.