Thursday, July 28, 2011

Retweet or Retire?

 I recently listened as a sales executive described the difficulty that she is having in filling an open sales position. Her company is in a period of transition as they replace a simple and declining set of products with more complex products requiring technical understanding. She had interviewed a number of personable candidates with industry experience, but when she discussed the changes happening in her industry, they were lost with a “deer in the headlights” look.

Are experienced sales and management professionals and making themselves unemployable by refusing to embrace current business and communication methods? In today’s world, all but the most basic products are software driven and impacted by network and web connections in some manner.  A sales lead is more likely to come from a text message, Tweet, LinkedIn connection, Facebook chat or an email than through a telephone call.

Many younger workers are digital natives who embrace new technologies without fear or hesitation because they have used similar tools their entire life.  Many other people have jumped in with enthusiasm to learn and master a connected lifestyle. But what happens to those who don’t bother to keep their skills up to date.

During the 1990s, a website became a litmus test for the viability of a “real company.”  A company that didn’t have a nice website of their own was considered suspect, too small to be of any real importance.  We may be on the verge of a similar test for individuals.  Is a person who doesn’t have a complete LinkedIn profile too out of touch to employ? Is hiring someone in the 21st century without strong social network skills analogous to hiring someone in the 20th century who couldn’t use a telephone.

It’s usually not difficult to stay up to date on the latest technologies in your own industry. And the most popular social networking sites are free.  It really boils down to making a decision and a commitment.

In what areas are you falling behind the times?  What is your plan for catching up?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rockies in 3D

Missouri has been too hot to be comfortable this week so we threw our hiking boots and cameras in the car, put the top down and headed for Colorado. The scenery in the mountains is always beautiful with great depth and this year we have been particularly fortunate to see several of the wild animals in the park.

Most of these pictures were taken in the Rocky Mountain National Park, but the ones featuring the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway were taken in Canon City.  Each has been upload as a stereo pair and a red/cyan anaglyph so you can view them with the method you prefer.

North Inlet

North Inlet

Momma Moose

Momma Moose

Momma Moose & Calf

Momma Moose & Calf

Draft Horses in the Meadow

Draft Horses in the Meadow

Terri and the Arkansas River

Terri and the Arkansas River

Terri on the Train

Terri on the Train

Mom and Chick

Mom and Chick

Tundra Flower

Tundra Flower

Rockies Majesty

Rockies Majesty


Where are you vacationing this summer?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

3D Rocks!

Tangled (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy)Watching the Disney movie Tangled at home in 3D is a beautiful experience.  It is a wonderful animated musical in the Disney tradition with interesting characters, fun songs and great animation art.  Seeing the intricate textures in the clothing, the foliage and Rapunzal’s hair in 3D enriches the experience immensely.

Personally, I enjoy 3D photography, 3D video games and watching movies in 3D. I use an Alienware monitor on my computer and a Sony Bravia 3D TV in the living room.  I prefer the active shutter glasses technology because they provide complete separation between the left and right views while allowing each view to be presented in full HD resolution.

As a 3D enthusiast, I am frustrated by many of the negative articles in the press that target the technology. The rest of this post is a response to some of the specific attacks.

3D is only good for gimmicks - Many people have their perception of 3D from early theme rides at Disney and Universal studios or some old 3D movies where the point of the 3D was to surprise or scare the audience by poking things deeply out of the screen. Today’s approach to 3D cinematography is completely different.  Following in the footsteps of James Cameron and his masterpiece Avatar, directors and animators now use 3D to add depth and realism to each scene. A good 3D movie immerses you deeply into the story.

3D makes movies dark and hard to see - The 3D glasses, whether they are polarized glasses in the theater or active shutter glasses at home, reduce the amount of light reaching each eye. The image on the screen needs to be bright enough to look good while wearing the glasses. Unfortunately, some theaters have not been projecting the movies at the correct brightness which does make the movie appear too dark.  This should never be a problem at home because you can adjust the brightness to your own 3D tastes. Our Sony Bravia automatically boosts the brightness of the screen when it switches to 3D content.

3D gives people headaches - When we view a normal 2D screen, we are looking at a subject represented on the surface of the screen and also focusing on the surface of the screen. On a 3D screen, we are still focusing on the surface of the screen, but the subject may be respresented behind or in front of the screen. Just like any other new form of physical activity, using our eye muscles in this new way takes some training.  If you develop any discomfort while watching 3D, take a break to let you eyes rest. With a little practice, most people get comfortable with 3D very quickly.

People don’t want to wear glasses all the time to watch TV - I agree.  When you are casually watching television, leave the set in 2D mode.  Any 3D set also produces beautiful 2D images.  Save the 3D experience for those evenings when you want to relax and get totally immersed in the movie. Dim the lights, have your popcorn close by, put on your glasses and enjoy the movie.

All of the negative press about 3D hurts because each of the attacks contains an element of truth. The greater truth is that 3D makes watching a movie a much richer experience.  Don’t let the critics keep you from experiencing 3D for yourself.

What is your favorite 3D movie?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Camera Glasses

Acts of creation require perception.  They also change our perception.

Photography is one of my creative hobbies. When I take vacations or go on weekend trips, I like to take a 3D camera and capture images that are attractive and artistic.  The pictures from our trips to St. Paul, Minnesota and Washington DC have been posted on this site earlier this year.

When I have a camera in my hands, I see the world differently.  It’s like putting on a pair of glasses that make everything seem sharper and more vibrant. The camera transforms me from a passive observer to an active participant in the beautiful world that surrounds me. I can see how the tree in the foreground frames the tugboat on the river and how the railway bridge in the background provides context.

The transformation is mostly unconscious. The individual books, articles I have read on composition and lighting are forgotten in the moment of creation, but they influence my creative choices. Experience makes the camera feel comfortable in my hands and allows me to capture the moment effortlessly. Photography becomes a flow experience that freezes time and creates an image to preserve and share.

What art form do you practice?  How does it change your perception of the world?

The Stephenson II on the Missouri River at Glasgow
The Stephenson II on the Missouri River at Glasgow