At feedback.dxo.com, Roseblood asked about an article on my workflow in DxO PhotoLab. I know I've written one but couldn't find it in my archives there. As I've spent countless hours improving that workflow to process artistic, football and family photos, I'm happy to share it, this time in a more permanent format.
Alec has been working with video since 1995. Before founding Foliovision in 2004, he worked as a Head of Television for Grey Moscow and a TV producer at Bates, Saatchi and Saatchi Russia. Alec maintains a photography and culture weblog at uncoy.com. Alec holds an Honours B.A. from Trinity College at the University of Toronto in Modern Languages and Literature.
Like most of you, coronavirus, or more accurately COVID-19 has hit Foliovision like a cement mixer barrelling down a country road. In Slovakia, masks are now de rigor everywhere. This includes at work, walking in the streets in town or dining out.
The parliament had to quickly rewrite that last law when they figured out the day after passing the law that it's impossible to eat or drink with a mask on.
I've just had another very poor licensing experience with independent software. It's encouraged me to share some general guidelines on how to license open source software.
I've been working in WordPress for a long time. The original impetus behind the creation of WordPress was a free alternative to Movable Type, after SixApart introduced $299/website pricing for their version 3.0 in 2004. Most webloggers at that time were fairly techy and most sites were personal weblogs (they'd be considered mixed now), so right away they fled to b2 which quickly was forked to WordPress by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little (in the right place at the right time). Mike Little's a very personable guy who truly believes in open source and sharing. Matt Mullenweg is the CEO of Automattic who have taken $617 million in venture capital, the publisher of WP Tavern (the main WordPress news site). He's also owner of WooCommerce, which was more or less stolen from the original publishers by WooThemes, making Mullenweg effectively the buyer of stolen goods (as Mullenweg paid Woo but not the original publishers when he acquired WooCommerce for $2.1 million).
We're looking at long term newsletter, marketing automation solutions now. Preferably open source. Mautic came up but there's no Wikipedia article on Mautic.*
I decided to quickly put one up. Alas, I can't stand writing wikitext, it's very slow. I can edit it on other people's articles slowly and carefully. I wanted to write in Markdown so I did. It turns out there are no usable conversion tools. At first I was directed to Pandoc. We've got an online version which handles unlimited characters. I didn't have much success with our version. I tried the official version. No luck there either. Other people were facing Markdown to wikitext Pandoc conversion issues as well.
There's some command line utilities which have to be installed (no thanks) after installing npm first. Or there's online utilities which are no longer available. Finally I was redirected to our own Pandoc converter.
So you now have a website with all your videos encrypted with FV Player Pro using AWS Elemental MediaConvert, AWS Elastic Transcoder or Coconut.co (full FV Player integration coming soon )? Or perhaps your video platform is Vimeo and you can just put up FV Player Vimeo Security and stop at least the known video download tools. Bravo!
Now you want to post some of your videos to Facebook. Are your videos protected from download there? Not really, not even in a private group. Using FV Player Pro with independent hosting is not really an option. Facebook doesn't play well with independently hosted videos, you really have to upload to their platform, which we don't control.
Here's some good strategies to minimise your risk.
People who use WordPress to publish their poetry, their photographs or communicate to their customers their small business (about 30% of the internet) may not even know about Project Gutenberg. Ostensibly Project Gutenberg began as a new editor. Given how mediocre the WordPress TinyMCE editor has been from inception (note: we created FV WYSIWYG on FCKedit ten years ago and it's still the only editor which allows a writer to switch to code view and back again and not have all his/her paragraphs and line spacing arbitrarily changed), a new editor is a laudable goal.
Unfortunately Project Gutenberg turned out not to be an upgraded post editor but a new vision of WordPress in permanent Page Builder mode. There have been serious writings about the tyranny of choice. By forcing writers to make decisions about blocks, multiple photo layouts, forms, sliders every time they create a new paragraph, there are two results likely:
The Mac Silver Tower 4,1 and 5,1 remain one of the most powerful Macs ever made, depending on your processor. Even the eight core 2.26 GHz version is incredibly powerful and fast, outrunning any MacBook Pro and most iMacs, as will a hexacore 3.33 GHz or 3.46 GHz. Certainly they are more expandable, repairable and upgradeable than any other Mac built since, with SATA SSD and PCI cards and graphic card upgrades readily available and easily installed. For video editors, the Mac Pro Silver Tower is one of the best computers ever built.
In terms of cost for performance, no current Mac whether iMac or iMac Pro can touch the 4,1 and 5,1 Silver Towers. What's especially wonderful is that both of them will still run the latest Apple OS and software perfectly, with just a bit of preparation. I'll take you through the steps of a successful deployment of a 4,1 Silver Tower with High Sierra.
Start by Testing Your Hardware: Apple Hardware Test
The first thing you should do is test your hardware. This is easier said than done on older hardware. Apple has some lovely software called Apple Hardware Test a.k.a. as AHT. There's no joy in suffering through crashes which are hardware related, trying to debug your OS (software).
Normally you find AHT at this path
Unfortunately, recent versions of the OS have not included AHT or at least not for older computers. Happily some enterprising Apple fans have collected all the versions of AHT out there for all kinds of Apple computers including Powermac, Powerbook, iBook, iMac, MacMini, MacPro, MacBook and MacBooks Pro.
I'm looking for a camera to shoot video at home and at work quickly, simply and well lately (comparative review coming). It's taken me out to spend more time looking at gear sites. Horatio Tan runs a very unique site which primarily compares top of the line Leica gear (M9, M10, SL) with top tier Canon (5DR), Nikon (D850) and Sony (A7S, A73, A7R2, A7R3). His subjects are mainly very pretty Russian models out and about in Hong Kong. Gear cat nip.
Tan is a bit existential about his photography. In his post A Crisis of Purpose in the Age of Instagram, he wonders about how likes influence photography.
Netflix has just enjoyed an amazing price run from about $190/share to a high of $333/share. The share price has fallen to about $290 now. It's still wildly overpriced.
Let me explain. Profit is $559 million. There are 432 million shares outstanding. Earnings per share is $1.25. That's a peak P/E (price to earnings) ratio of 264! As a comparison Walmart's P/E in 2017 was 20.7.
Winning megaprojects with low initial bids and then turning a $20 million project into a billion dollar con of the client appears to be an artform at IBM. Governments all over the world have suffered, tax payers have paid for senior IBM bonuses. Ordinary citizens have gone six months or more without their paycheques.
This behaviour appears to be IBM policy and not an accident. This very grave situation cries out for a deep investigative long form feature. Together the governments of Canada and Australia and Pennsylvania (just the ones I've found so far) likely have a case of deliberately malicious business practices.
Apparently IBM has made USD $780 million building a payroll system for the Canadian Government which does not work.
Potential Savings on Payroll
The idea was to save money by eliminating jobs. Canada has about 260,000 public servants. Over 1200 people were working on payroll (accountants, bookkeepers and managers mainly with some IT guys thrown in to make it work). This is about half of one percent on payroll. Payroll is about one third the cost of accounting in our company. I'm unable to bring our accounting costs much below 3% of turnover on a sub-million dollar turnover despite strong efforts and automated software like Freshbooks.