Wednesday
Jun
2012
20

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring A.J. Wood!

by Brad Moore  |  25 Comments

Greetings & Salutations!!!

Scott’s blog is a great repository of inspiring stories written by creative professionals, and I’m honored to be here on guest blog Wednesday. Thank you to Brad for inviting me, and thank you Scott for letting me share with your readers.

A few months ago I attended Photoshop World in Washington DC. It was great to have so many folks approach me, tell me how much they enjoyed my workshops, and that they appreciated my style as an instructor. It’s crazy the things people wanted to talk about such as why I go by my initials instead of my name, or how I shot a particular photo of my daughter. People seemed excited that I brought my family to PSW, and it was shortly after introducing folks to my wife that they would stop me and say, “Wait! You mean you’re not RC?”

Nope. Just another Photoshop guy with dark hair, a goatee, two letters for a name, and much love for his only daughter & beautiful wife. *chuckle*


He’s RC, you can call me AJ

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. How are you? Are you having a good morning? Did you tell someone you loved them in the past 24 hours? Did ya throw it out there like a hi-five or did you reflect on it for just a moment? Have you been productive this week? Why or why not? Did you take five minutes selfishly for yourself today?

A while back I read somewhere that “Success = Happiness”. I think the writer had the equation reversed. I say work on being happy, and you’ll redefine your vision of success. Happiness should be easy, and maybe it is for some people, but I’ve found plenty of folks–myself included–could use more joy. Hopefully, if you can find some inspiration, motivation, and put in a little work, you’ll find the happy more often.

Inspiration is a wonderful feeling. It’s the spark that kicks off a creative idea, or a smile that leads to a beautiful photograph. It’s a good cry at the end of the movie Rudy when the football team hoists him up on their shoulders after that last play… uhm… not that I cry at movies. Hopefully, there are people you come across who leave a lasting impression you keep with you. Two people that inspire me daily are Joe & Heidi Hendricks. Imagine your wife coming down with Stage 2 Breast Cancer, undergoing two lumpectomies, then radiation & chemotherapy; treatments that continue for roughly a year. Life goes on and three years later a new diagnosis of Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer has found its way into the bones & lungs. You would probably do all you could to support your wife, and be there for her, even after you discover you also have cancer. In 2004, they were told they would only have a short time with each other, and eight years later Joe & Heidi Hendricks through their faith in God are still fighting cancer together, one day at a time.

What inspires me are not the facts of their circumstances, but how they’ve shared their experience with family & friends on Facebook.

In Joe’s images I see the beauty of the world, the challenges in the moment, and a peace I hope to one-day find. Do they have bad days? Yes. Do they have doubts, anger & frustration? They’re human, how could they not? But they have the conviction of their faith in the Lord, which grants them courage beyond my comprehension, and a passion for living life that’s demonstrated every day–even the bad ones.

The key takeaway from Joe & Heidi’s experience is they’re not waiting for inspiration to come to them. They actively seek it. It’s not uncommon to see an image from the day’s hiking adventure after hospital treatment, or a post that talks openly about the challenges they’re experiencing. When most people are still in bed, or lounging on the couch, Joe & Heidi are living in the moment and growing closer to God.

If inspiration is the spark, then motivation is the call to action. The trouble with motivation is for many of us it’s temporary, a fleeting moment. You might be inspired by an infomercial to purchase that $99 set of fitness tapes, but once they arrive the motivation wears off after the first video workout. It requires an inherent primal dissatisfaction with current conditions to truly change. Just ask Justin Seeley. At his heaviest he weighed close to 420lbs–at 27yrs old. A fellow Photoshop guy, Justin is no stranger to blogs & the Internet. As someone who makes his living training & speaking in front of people he shared his weight loss experience online. Over a year later, he has gone through an amazing transformation to better health, and reached a reasonable weight around 185lbs.

The key takeaway from Justin’s experience should be it took over a year. He didn’t find a quick fix, despite opting for a surgical procedure. The changes to his diet, the foods he can no longer eat, the daily exercise, and this new discipline he’ll carry with him for the rest of his life. I’ve known quite a few people who tried to “cheat” diet & exercise by surgical procedures and failed. It’s because they weren’t truly motivated to get healthy.

Once you’ve been inspired, and you’re motivated to act, you best be prepared to put in the work. My sister Lesli Wood knows something about perseverance. She wrote the following years ago, “i live by the concept that i can live my life exactly the way i want and i believe everyone else has this superpower, too. i have no patience for naysayers or those that settle for less than they deserve. doing what i want has led me into some really great adventures.”

It’s true. Lesli is one of those individuals who knew from birth who she was, and what she wanted to do. Music. No doubt about it. That was the easy part. The hard part was getting through Ms. Hunt who told my sister at the ripe age of five that before she could take piano lessons she would have to learn to read. It was in that moment Lesli grabbed our family Bible and as I recall read something along the lines of Psalms 98:4 “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Did I mention the part where she has an Einstein IQ?

I envy her focus. How she interacts with the world, every decision she’s made is thoughtful & deliberate. Sure, you might not know who she is, you may have never heard her music, but she’s been a working musician who’s played for audiences all over the world for over 25 years. To look at Lesli is to see someone who has everything they want, because they’ve made it that way. To see her perform, you would never know she’s battled multiple sclerosis for almost ten years.

But enough about them. Let’s talk about you. I hope as a photographer, designer or other creative professional you actively seek out people, places, ideas that inspire you. I hope when you doubt your gifts, and your motivation wanes you’ll remember that at this moment there is someone smarter, more talented & better than you. However, in this very same moment, you are smarter, more talented & better, than someone else. It’s easy to envy the results and ignore the drive & dedication necessary to produce them. The people you admire? They’re fallible, they have problems, and they’re human. They just show the world their best side.

Be Ambitious. Be Humble.

Call him a creative generalist or digital artisan, A.J. Wood talked so much about Adobe products they had no choice, but to hire him and put his big mouth to use. Catch his videos on AJWOOD.COM, find him on Facebook, or chat on Twitter

Tuesday
Jun
2012
19

Today I’m Launching My New Photoshop CS6 Photographers Live Seminar Tour

by Scott Kelby  |  27 Comments

I am really excited to launch this brand new tour, which is headed to a bunch of US cities this summer, including Nashville, (which I haven’t had a chance to teach there in years), and I hope you’ll get a chance to come out and spend the day with me.

I’ve got SO much new stuff to share, including all the new stuff for photographers in CS6 (there’s plenty!), and all my latest techniques (I’ve got a bunch of cool new stuff), and I can’t wait to get there and share it all. Here’s the five classes I’m teaching each day:

> My new “Photoshop Seven Point System” for Camera Raw (or Lightroom’s Develop module)
> The 10 portrait retouching techniques every photographer needs to know
> More Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Photographers
> My latest Photoshop Killer Tips (all the timesaving, job-saving, tips)
> Before & Afters (I show you the final image, and then exactly how to get there step-by-step starting with the raw out-of-the-camera image).

Here’s the first four stops on my tour:

>  Sacramento, California (July 18th)
>  Nashville, Tennessee (July 23rd)
> Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (July 27th)
> New York City (July 30th)

Here’s all the details, and how to sign up (It’s just $99 for the full day, including a detailed printed workbook).

I hope to meet there in person at one of my tour stops. :)

-Scott

Monday
Jun
2012
18

Drobo CEO Tom Buiocchi Responds

by Brad Moore  |  131 Comments

 

Scott, thanks for the opportunity to put a few of my thoughts down for your readers. Not exactly the circumstances under which I envisioned being your guest blogger, but now I have a goal to do this again under different conditions.

First of all, I’m of the belief that direct customer input (any kind) is good, so I don’t mind all the comments and ideas – they are all part of the journey to keep improving. We constantly strive to deliver the best customer experience to protect data, and we take this very seriously.  Better to know than not knowing.

Regarding your case Scott, the bottom line is that we made a bad judgment – our agents are trained to immediately swap or upgrade (regardless of warranty condition) if they see what you saw on your video – but we made a rookie mistake this time. I traced the call logs.  100% our bad this time.  As I mentioned on the phone, my apologies and it should not have happened. By the way, if any of your readers (or their readers or colleagues or friends or whatever) experiences what you saw on your video, just contact us or ping me directly (tom@drobo.com) and we will take care of it immediately.

Just to clarify, we currently offer a standard one-year warranty, and many of our customers opt for the extended care package. We are, of course, working on much faster, “next-gen” Drobos that take into consideration all of the customer feedback we’ve gotten since day 1, and we’ve been debating the 1-year vs. longer standard warranty period as part of these soon-to-be announced new products. This is where there is (!) a bit of a silver lining as the timing of your input could not have been more acute – vote(s) recognized, taken, counted!

Readers, the only comments that I want to strongly dispute are the ones that suggest that I only followed up with Scott because he is Scott. I (we) call customers every single day – small, large, happy, frustrated, domestic, international. We have a couple of hundred thousand to choose from, and there’s always someone who wants to talk about their Drobo and/or their challenges of data protection and management. I enjoy it, I learn a lot, and it is important that our customers know that there are real people out here trying to help them figure it out. I ALWAYS end my emails (and my guest blogs) with an invitation to send me (tom@drobo.com) your thoughts or to drop me a line at 408-276-8621 (I am hardly ever at my desk, but leave a VM and I will get back to you).

OK – thanks again – I’m glad to have the opportunity to meet you all “directly,” despite the circumstances. My personal goal now (mark it down) is to re-appear as Scott’s guest blogger the day after he writes the “Drobo – I’m BACK” post. It’s on us. I know what is coming, and I like our chances.

Best regards everyone,

-Tom
408-276-8621
tom@drobo.com

 

Friday
Jun
2012
15

I’m Done with drobo

by Scott Kelby  |  663 Comments

I’ve finally reached the point that I’m done with my drobo, which I use for the archiving of my photos. I actually use three drobos: one in my office, one in Brad’s office (onsite backup), and one at home (offsite backup). Now sadly I’m going to have to move to a different platform altogether because drobo finally pushed me to the point of no return.

What I love about drobo
What drew me to drobo in the beginning was the fact that it constantly monitors the health of my hard drives. So if one starts going bad, or gets full, my drobo will warn me, and robotically shift my data to other drives installed in my drobo until I can replace that drive. Keeping a photo archive intact is very, very important to us photographers.

Why I’m done with drobo
Because for the fourth time one of my drobos is a brick.

Wait, are all the hard drives installed in my drobo still working? Yup. Can I access my photos? Nope. Not a one.

When I came into work a couple of days ago, I cringed when I saw an all too familiar problem — my drobo cycling on/off over and over again. It doesn’t mount, and I can’t access my photos — essentially it’s a brick. Again. (see the video of my drobo below, and you’ll see it cycling on/off in what we now call “The drobo death spiral.” Note: This is not an exciting video).

Scott, can’t you just pop those drives into something else and get your photos back?
Nope. It’s a proprietary system that only a drobo can read. Sigh.

I went to their site, followed their troubleshooting guide, and it still just cycles on/off (by the way, as I mentioned above, this isn’t the first time this has happened — drobo has had to replace my entire drobo unit [not including the drives] before).

In fact, this was the fourth recorded incident Brad and I have had with drobo so far. And while you’re waiting for your new drobo, you cannot access any of your photos or files on your bricked drobo. You’re basically locked out.

This is the moment that I knew I was done with drobo
When my photo assistant Brad called their tech support for me, they told him my dead drobo is out of warranty. To get my photos back, I would have to pay nearly $300 for drobocare (an extended warranty program). So basically, while my drobo is supposed to protect my photo archive, what it has actually done is hold my photo archive hostage for almost $300.

I know what some of you are saying right now: “We told you so.” When Brad told drobo how supremely unhappy we were with that $300 hostage-situation, they eventually emailed back and lowered the price to $100. We passed on the “deal.”

At this point, I’d rather give that $100 to you. Seriously.
Rather than sending $100 to drobo on a solution that I’m going to abandon shortly, I’d rather just give the money to you to help me find a better solution.

To that end I’m offering a $100 bounty to whomever can help me choose a new photo archival storage system now that I’m “dumping drobo” (by the way, that would make a great slogan for a t-shirt).

I need about 12 TB of storage, which sadly may be conservative thanks to my 36-megapixel Nikon D800 which eats up drive space like a plague of locusts.

Just leave me a comment here with any advice you have for big storage, and if I go with your suggestion I’ll cut you a $100 check for your time and research (I’m only doing this for one person, so if 50 people say “try dropbox” I’m only cutting one check to one person. Just so you know).

My plea to drobo
I’ve been using drobos for a few years now, and have recommended them to a number of my personal friends. A lot of photographers out here have drobos, and we count on drobo to keep our images safe. But obviously there can come a point where our hard drives are actually OK but our drobos have failed.

If the drobo is a truly well-made product, shouldn’t it work reliably for more than a year? We don’t expect it to last 20 years, but it should darn well work perfectly for at least two or three. In short, drobo (the company) should have enough confidence in their technology and their product to stand behind their product for more than 12 months

My plea to drobo is simple… If our drobo’s power supply goes bad, or our drobos won’t mount, or whatever the problem is (unless we caused it by immersing our drobo in water, or dropping it off a counter, etc.) — we need you to replace it free of charge for a more reasonable amount of time than just one year. Otherwise the whole thing is worthless. Like my drobo is now.

So, that’s my story
While I love a lot of things about the drobo (the industrial design, the idea behind it, and the ability to easily swap drives in/out as needed), I hate that often I can’t get it to mount (ask Brad about this one). And worse than that, I can’t have a solution that protects me when all is well, but when it gets a cold (which it clearly often does), it locks me out and then holds me hostage. That I can’t live with.

UPDATE: I wrote this Wednesday night and planned on releasing it today, but when I went to save the post as a draft, I accidentally released the post instead (not the first time I’ve done that sadly). Even though I immediately changed the post release status as soon as I realized the mistake, by Thursday morning news of it was already bouncing around the web, and it quickly made it’s way back to drobo. They contacted me directly to see how they could resolve the issue and I even talked with drobo’s CEO a number of times during the day. He really seems like a very down-to-earth guy who seems genuinely interested in addressing his customer’s issues, but of course just fixing my problem won’t fix the bigger problem of their warranty policy, so I once again declined. However, to his credit he listened to my ideas (and rants) about how drobo might address this going forward so other photographers that get in this situation might be protected, and I even offered him the opportunity to respond directly to my readers here on blog. Hey, it’s a start. :)

Thursday
Jun
2012
14

Free Shipping from Mpix!

by Brad Moore  |  4 Comments

Free FedEx Shipping on a 16×20 metal framed print.

That’s right, from now till June 17th at midnight, you can get free FedEx shipping from Mpix!

Just use the promo code scottsfaveframe at the checkout, and the free shipping will be applied to your order.

Here are the details for the promo:

·         16×20 size only
·         All paper types
·         Metal frame only
·         Black or Silver option
·         Glass option
·         Mat option
·         One time use

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