The Digital Photo Guy

No Matter How Bad It Gets…

by on Feb.05, 2009, under Articles, Website

Years ago, I read a Wall Street Journal article about successful Vietnam vets. The reporter had been following all the stories about Vietnam vets who had fallen on hard times due to alcoholism, drugs, crime, divorce, mental illness and a host of other difficulties blamed largely on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He decided to find and interview Vietnam vets who were successful and happy and learn what separated them from those who failed.

One story stuck in my mind and has been my mantra for the past 30 years. I suppose I’ve known this ever since I returned from Vietnam but this fellow cut to the chase in one sentence. He said, “No matter how bad things get (in life), I just remind myself that it’s better than getting shot at.” That pretty much sums up how I try to stay focused on the task at hand.

Why am I babbling about this? Standing up my new WordPress blog has been an exercise in frustration and, at times, despair. Sometimes, I feel like web developers and business people speak totally different languages. In fact, I probably would have had the same results if I had hired a web developer who spoke Farsi. He’s interested in the techie, geeky side. I’m interested in the business side. He wants to take hours to understand how a piece of code works, I just want it as cost-effective as possible. Sometimes, I feel like he’s the Viet Cong on the other side of the wire. I just want to get the concertina wire strung and he wants to blow holes in it!

Currently, all I want is to get PayPal integrated with my Workshops page so a visitor can simply click on a PayPal button and be taken to a page to enter their credit card info and register for the class. On one level, this is pretty trivial stuff but, on another level, it’s like using pieces from Erector sets, Lincoln Logs and Legos to building an airplane. Now, where the heck did I leave my screwdriver so I can attach plastic blocks to wooden struts?

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Registration?!? What Steenkin’ Registration?

by on Feb.02, 2009, under Articles

A reader reported she visited this new website and registered. I didn’t even know the site had a registration system. Visitors to the site must see a different interface than me because I don’t see a registration form anywhere. To make things even funnier, I don’t know how to access the registration forms and files so I don’t know who’s registered.

Actually, I might use the registration system (if I can find it) to replace my e-mail Opt-In system. As the list of e-mails grows longer, it gets harder to manage. ‘m sure there are people on the list who have long forgotten why they receive my MMTs.

Speaking of MMTs, I plan to put them in a password protected area so anyone who is registered can access them at any time. I’m also trying to figure out how the YouTube viewer works so I can upload my videos to YouTube and have them display here.

My primary task right now is trying to get all my workshops on the Workshops page with separate icons. As it is right now, they would all be listed in a long document that would be difficult to read. I want viewers to click on a photo from Joshua Tree and be taken to a separate page with JTNP information. Also, PayPal has to be integrated so I can get rid of that weird dp-guy(asperand)thedigital… notation.

For those of you who are here because you read about the new site in my latest MMT, the major boo-boo I committed during the WAP Photoshoot this weekend was telling students that exposure compensation (EC) only worked in Av and Tv modes. It works in P as well. I was so fixated on the fact that the exposure program (aperture/shutter speed combination) could be changed that I got all turned around in my (tiny) brain. That’s why the recent MMT was written to clearly describe P Mode features and benefits.

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Nothing is as Simple as it Seems

by on Jan.31, 2009, under Articles

For the past 3 days I’ve been dinking (that’s a technical term) with my new blog-style web site. The intent is 3-fold (in keeping with Lee’s Rule of Threes).

  • First, I want a site I can maintain myself instead of relying on others to make minor changes.
  • Second, I want more interactivity so readers can communicate more easily with me.
  • Third, I want better security and PayPal integration to make it easier to pay for classes.

I didn’t think that was asking too much since my misspent youth was wasted in an engineering lab, poring over schematics and software code. Geez Louise, was I ever mistaken. The level of sophistication in today’s software is lightyears removed from 1983, the last time I was in an engineering lab. This stuff is all supposed to be WYSIWYG but you could have fooled me.

My site has 2 different photo gallery plug-ins, appliances if you will, that are supposed to help me manage my photos. Ben installed two so I could compare them and decide which worked better for me. In the first place, the 2 are so completely dissimilar that I couldn’t keep straight which was handling what photos. Next, I couldn’t repeat tasks I’d stumbled across but wouldn’t work when I tried to do the same thing a second time. Finally, I can’t figure out the relationships between photos, galleries and posts. A photo should be a single image while a gallery is a collection of photos which I should be able to embed in a post (such as this rant)! Sometimes it works and other times the wheels fall off with no rhyme or reason.

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New Day Dawning

by on Jan.29, 2009, under Articles

Hi All,

After 5 years with the old website (an eternity in cyberspace), I’ve finally updated my website to a blog-style site. This was done with the assistance of Ben Robinson, who designed all the underpinnings of my old site. Anyone thinking of publishing a website needs to think very hard about 3 pieces: Design – This is the “eye-candy” aspect of a website and the first thing everyone sees and thinks of when developing a site. Content – This is all the “stuff” you intend to put on the site including photos, articles, links, ads, etc. Just thinking about it won’t do, you have to actually write all that stuff, prepare the photos, find all the links and consider the site’s purpose. Navigation & Layout – This is the “ease of use” part of the website. If you don’t think this through, your visitors will give up in frustration before they can find the good stuff.

The main impetus for this new site was to have a web presence that allowed me to make updates, changes and corrections as needed. The following sections are available: Home (what you’re reading now), Workshops – list of all upcoming classes, Photos – I hope that’s self-explanatory, Videos – short clips on Photoshop Elements, About – all about me, me, me! and Contact – please be sure to use a valid e-mail address.

A large part of this new site is to increase the interactivity between me and my students. Feel free to comment and/or ask questions.

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