Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Friday, July 04, 2003

Loren points to a new Microsoft Reader.

By the way, Phil has been shooting pictures for more than 40 years. We chatted a while. He just switched to digital "I love it" a year ago. He was carrying two Canon EOS1's with digital backs.

He tells me that the Seattle Post Intelligencer has completely switched to digital images now. "I didn't think I'd like it before I tried it," he says. When you grow up in the age before color film, I guess it's hard to get used to new ideas and new workflows.

It's very interesting watching a master work. Phil's a geek and he doesn't even know it. Not in a computer sense of the word, but in a "constantly experimenting" sense. He shot about 200 images of me -- all for a picture that probably will be one inch high in the newspaper.

We had fun. We compared cameras and shooting styles. His camera takes eight frames per second. He told me about his first digital camera "my publisher hated me, so he gave me a cruddy one." He told me about how his first digital camera didn't take pictures fast enough "I kept missing the decisive moment."

But, his new cameras are wowie. He'd shoot a burst of 20 images as I was goofing around, and then he'd look at them. "Oh, that's a good one," he said.

I taught him about screen refresh rates. If you ever want to take a picture of your screen, change your refresh rate to 60Hz and then shoot at 1/30th of a second shutter speed. That gives a nice image of the screen.

"I never go into the office anymore," he told me. He says now he sends all his images via cell phone from his laptop in his car.

I told him he should get a weblog. Heh, I think I'll call him and show him the photologs that people are starting.

Torill Mortensen: "I have recently heard so much about blogging in the news, on the net, and generally everywhere, that I am starting to wonder if this isn't being taken a little too seriously."

Sorry, Torill, I've been adding to the noise lately. Yesterday the Seattle Post Intelligencer's Phil H. Webber was shooting pictures of me. The PI is writing a story about corporate webloggers, and since a Microsoft weblogger is a good local angle, they are writing about me.

Who knows where it's going. The form, for me, isn't all that important, other than it lets me publish quickly and cheaply. 15 years ago the only way I'd be talking to you is by working for a newspaper like the New York Times. Today anyone can talk. So, the new form has brought us something new. Every time a new media type emerges, the old one covers it. And overhypes it.

Just hang on for the ride. Soon the media will stop caring and we can just go back to living our lives in obscurity.

There is rarely a day that goes by that I don't count my blessings that I happened to be born an American. Yeah, there's a lot wrong here, but as I travel, or talk to people from around the world (my wife's Iranian, for instance) I realize that we STILL have a good thing going here.

Today I'm reading Thomas Friedman's book Longitudes and Attitudes. He's writing about the world after September 11. He's won three Pulitzer prizes for his writing. Of course he's spent most of his time since then over in the Middle East. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the world, particularly the Middle Eastern one.

Friedman enumerates why so many around the world hate us. And, he challenges the world -- and the U.S. -- to do better.

Today I celebrate the millions of Americans who've given their lives so that I can write on this weblog in relative peace. I, unlike those billions who live in China, or in most Middle Eastern countries, can write whatever I damn well please on my weblog.

I remember a conversation I had in the past year with a relative of my wife Maryam's who had recently moved here from Iran. "Freedom," he said, as his reason for moving here.

One word, but Americans understand it so little. 9/11 indeed woke many of us up, but even today, that event is starting to mean just longer lines at the airport. Funny, they tried to take away our freedom, and they indeed succeeded by keeping us in lines at airports.

I look back in history. At the American Revolutionary War. What did we gain? We gained the right to do our own thing, free of a British system. Ironically, the British today are our best friends. Reminder once again to treat your enemies well, since they'll probably be the people you hang out with tomorrow.

We gained a system of laws, rather than a system run by royalty. We gained a system run separate from religious thought, rather than in cahoots with it. We gained a system where the people had a voice (many countries, like Iran, don't have that even today).

What do I love about America? We can worship the way we want here (or, in my case, not at all). We can speak freely and without constraints (well, other than corporate constraints, which, even when you work at a big powerful company like Microsoft, are admittedly a lot lot less than those faced if you want to speak openly, in, say, China).

What is still important in America is the strength of my ideas, not my family history, or how much I have to give in bribes. When I was in China six years ago, the Saturn bicycle team -- they were touring there -- admitted they carried thousands of dollars in bribe money.

As an American, I can remain ignorant, if I want, (many do, even our President) but this is a country that celebrates ideas and reveres knowledge. Something that few other countries can claim.

So, today, I celebrate America's birthday and celebrate those who've given their lives on my behalf.

Along these themes, here's some little known facts about the American Revolutionary War.

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 2:41:46 AM.