Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Enquirer's Hall of Shame

I ran across this scan from 2011.  Probably the single most ridiculous item The Enquirer has published so far regarding the streetcar project:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Your own reflection in digital camera LCD screens

I ran across this photo on The Cobrasnake's website:

When digital cameras first appeared one of the weird things I noticed was the way your own image is reflected in the screen while reviewing photos.  4x5 cameras or any view camera with a ground glass also did this, but not as vividly, and also any lens does it when you turn around the camera, but that's not what I'm talking about.

As much as I'm still periodically spooked by my own image reflected in a digital camera's screen, I was spooked much more the first time I saw a print large enough to see the reflection of the photographer in a subject's eyeball.  Specifically, my photo teacher at UT made about a dozen 30x40 prints of environmental portraits from 4x5 negatives where you could see him, in eyeballs the size of baseballs, standing next to the tripod-mounted view camera used to make the photographs.  Details to either side and behind the photographer were visible as well.  I immediately recognized that this deeper illustration of the context of the photograph changed the context of the viewer of the print.  

With newer computers and tablets, the screens tend to be much more vividly reflective than older screens, and before we turn on the device, we see ourselves for a moment.  Again, I hate that it happens, and suppose I race to turn on the screen in order to minimize the amount of time I am reminded that I am possibly wasting my time browsing the internet or whatever.  Or at the very least am bothered that I might be wasting brain power worrying about the implications of seeing one's reflection in a new type of device.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Why has the Internet gotten so boring?

When I was in art school in the 90s, I half-seriously proposed carving websites in stone and then burying them, since I recognized then that the early internet would be lost.  Like most things I said in classes back then, I was laughed at but I had a point that has since been validated. 

My prediction was correct but for the wrong reasons -- I was sure that the design of websites would change in unpredictable ways, but I didn't predict that the way websites would be consumed would change from desktop computers to...phones and tablets.  Or that this switch to phones and tablets would change the pace with which people consumed content.  Or that phones and tablets would turn people into passive consumers of the internet rather than active participants in it (other than their personal profiles, of course). 

Luckily, started crawling the web sometime in the late 90s and has partially saved many of the old websites.  Many of the images are gone, and you can't click on .wav files or quicktime movies.  But the sense of the early web's lawlessness is there, especially that of this particular specimen, the (former) home of the imaginary Orgasmonaut Band:

This sort of intensely creative thing (at least on this scale) doesn't happen anymore.  I mean, this guy - whoever he was - spent a lot of time putting this website together.  

But the other thing I'm sensing lately is that the internet is "flattening" all media.  What I mean is a photograph is the same as a painting is the same as a podcast is the same as a video.  It's all looks and sounds and feels the same now, which means it all means the same thing.  

Given these changes, I feel discouraged from creating a traditional website and so should you.  The smarter move now seems to be to create something in a traditional form, then invite others digitize it (through photos or their own commentary), or at the very least link to it.  A shared link acts as a referral, rather than the modern-day equivalent of the email blast, which is the first-person Facebook or Twitter post.  And like the email blasts of old, people are getting so many social media posts now they can't possibly pay close attention to many of them.   

I mean, just imagine here in 2013 how many Twitter retweets I'd be getting if I was digging up stone tablets with early Geocities websites carved on them.  Instead I'm just writing this blog post that'll maybe get 100 views.  

Sign My Guestbook!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

See the Spanish-made streetcars coming to Cincinnati

The Cincinnati media keeps running this dorky drawing of the CAF streetcars we have ordered:

Here is high quality video of CAF streetcars very similar to the five that will start arriving in Cincinnati in late 2014:

The CAF streetcars are in concept similar to the Skoda vehicles in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, and Washington, DC.  However Skoda is swamped with orders so we ordered from CAF, which is located in Zaragoza, Spain.  

I've been to Zaragoza, if driving past it on the highway counts as having been there.  It's a city of about 700,000 located about halfway between Madrid and Barcelona.  

Here is CAF's plant on the outskirts of Zaragoza:
[Click for larger image]

And here is a crop of that same image -- you are looking at the roofs of new streetcars and light rail trains:
[Click for larger image]

As should be obvious from these satellite images, CAF has a pretty big operation and manufacturing Cincinnati's streetcars on time shouldn't be a problem.  Unfortunately the Made-in-the-USA stipulation of the Federal grant awarded to Cincinnati means the streetcars must be assembled somewhere in the United States.  That somewhere is Elmira, NY, home of CAF USA.  The half-finished streetcars should be on their way across the Atlantic Ocean around this time next year and will arrive in Cincinnati for testing sometime in late 2014.    

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Red Feathers -- New Rock & Roll from Columbus

The Red Feathers are a new band playing in Columbus.  They are fronted by Brad Dotsun, a rock & roll buddy of mine from Ohio University.  We had numerous lengthy, thorough, and in-depth conversations about Iggy Pop & The Stooges upwards of ten (yikes!) years ago, and it appears that he has now taken on an Iggy Pop-esque persona and assembled a band around it.  

Bring it to Cincinnati, Brad!

Also, in other rock & roll news from around Ohio, We March played the second of a two-show reunion at The Summit in Columbus on Saturday, Feb 2.  It rocked so hard for whatever reason Blogger is not letting me link directly to the youtube video, so click on this: