For the few of you who actually read this blog at all consistently, you have my apologies on the incredible delays and gaps between posts for the last few months.  As some might know, I have my own web/graphic design business called Immersus Media and the last few months have been… productive – at least as far as paying jobs are concerned (which is awesome and I have absolutely no complaints but I wanted to explain my online absence).  Since the last time I posted at the very end of April I started and unsuccessfully finished at least 4 blog posts but every time ended up not having enough time to actually do what I’d wanted because of piling up deadlines for work.  I’ve even hired an assistant for the summer.

I’m launching several sites for clients so stay tuned for those updates and I’m going and try and relaunch this blog with a much better design and layout later this summer if possible (oh man…).  I’m pretty sure the new design is going to kick butt (it already does in my head so let’s see if I can make that happen).

Oh, updates… got a second monitor a month ago.  It’s so nice having two screens again! (I used to have two behemoth CRT monitors and eventually replaced them with a 24″ LCD and now I’m finally back up to two – crazy screen real estate for me to look at all those projects that are due any minute).

I just got the new iPhone 3G s and so far it’s awesome.  I upgraded from an ol’ Samsung flip phone so it’s weird suddenly having what amounts to a small computer in my pocket.

I also FINALLY got Lightroom 2 and have it all set up to export directly to both my Flickr account AND directly to my blog (which should hopefully force me to actually get some consistent stuff up on here).  Thanks to all those that helped me decide between LR2 and Aperture.  I tried out both versions via trial editions and although I liked Aperture 2 more initially (it’s more integrated with Mac stuff, easier to use off the bat, less intimidating layout in my opinion), I decided LR2 was better overall.  It seems a bit more robust in it’s editing capabilities (you can edit specific parts of images more than you can with Aperture) and integration with other Adobe programs (which makes sense).  Plus I like how it handles the files (it’s basically a documents tree and you create a catalog whereas in Aperture it’s in a ‘Library’ which seems more restrictive to me – a small difference but could be big long term if Aperture loses any support while the way LR2 handles it, the files can presumably be handled by other applications in the future (in case LR ceases to exist or something).  For those of you that are interested, I’ll write up a quick little post sometime soon (cross my fingers) about plug-ins for LR2 that I recommend.

Melissa, my wife, is busy with school stuff so we’ve both been kind of haywire in general lately but I’m looking forward to spending plenty of time with her next month (road trip!).

I think that’s it about it really – lots of design work and a few new gadgets.  Good times.  Now I need a break from this computer.  Peace!


Amazon MP3 Rocks My Casbah

For those of you out there that like music and who actually pay for it legitimately online, I just can’t recommend enough.  Amazon’s offering is VASTLY superior to Apple’s iTunes it’s ridiculous.  Personally, I like owning something tangible for the most part.  Digital music has always seemed to be “less than” to me.  In fact, most of my music library is from used CDs (and CDs are starting to really tick me off on how easily they scratch).  Apparently, along with being a pack rat I’m also a tight wad.  Right.  With that aside, when I do purchase music online it has always been with a feeling of incomplete ownership.  And this is where my comparison of the two digital music stores comes in.

I am thankful that iTunes helped to break down the boundary of purchasing something digital online for the average person.  Kudos to you, Apple.  However, iTunes is a flippin’ rip-off at this point as it stands.  Seriously, $.99 for EVERY song.  Every one?  No discounts or special sales?  I just admitted I’m a tight wad.  Work with me here, Apple. (*UPDATE: Apple has, in fact, decided to “work with me” and the day after I originally made this post, Apple announced they would faze out their DRM and introduce a new pricing structure) You make it super simple to purchase music, you say.  Well anyone who sells music online should make that one of their goals.  And yes, Apple, has the one up on this category.  Purchasing music is unbelievably simple once an account has been set-up.  But then you’re not really purchasing the music are you?  You’re temporarily borrowing it.  It’s called DRM.  It supposedly helps prevent piracy but last I checked piracy is rampant.  What it really does is tick off the people who actually do purchase the product legitimately.

Case in point:  I’ve gone through a few computers and/or hard-drives.  Normal wear and tear kind of stuff.  Every time I transfer my music library for iTunes I am asked to approve the “new” device.  Same goes for replaced iPods.  I can put the music on something along the lines of up to 5 devices or computers.  This concept works great if I purchase music like I purchase something from the grocery store.  But what if I want to own my music for 20+ years (like a good record).  Assuming a replaced computer or iPod every… I don’t know… 5 years (X2, one for the computer and one for the mp3 player) then I’m looking at losing full control of my music library in 15 years or less.  And that’s being generous. (My argument still stand against DRM in general, regardless if it’s not necessarily going to continue to be an issue specifically with iTunes.) Continue reading Amazon MP3 Rocks My Casbah