Romantic images sell

I post the image above to one of my galleries on SmugMug. Then I get this comment:

Hey, redo the picture and you’ll have a heart shaped sky! Do you see it? If you would crop out upper half of the picture and turn it 180 degrees, you would have a heart. and you know…. romantic images sell!

And seconds later I’ve done some cropping and rotation in Aperture and this one is up there as well.

Haven’t sold it yet, but I can see all kinds of embarrassing metaphors popping up. “Look up and you’ll find love”. Blah. Blah. I’ll let you know if someone buys it.

The interesting thing here is how the community steps in and gives valuable advice. Just because they can.

Romantic images sell

The two dice calendar problem

I bought this calendar in Marrakesh last month. You show the date by aligning the two special dices the right way, and the month by aligning one of three small wooden bricks at the bottom. Four sides times three bricks equal twelve months. But the interesting thing is the two dices.

The question is, how would you place numbers on them to be able to show all the dates from 01 to 31 ?

One of my most popular articles ever is a complicated mathematical experiment, so maybe there are someone out there that find this small challenge interesting.

The usual layout for a dice would be like this:

Or simply like this:

But if you try to use two dices like that to show dates between 1 and 31 you would get some trouble at once. The lowest number you can show is 11. You need 0. And you don’t have 7,8 and 9…

So my question is: could you describe the layout on the two dices in my calendar from Marrakesh? You can answer through a comment here or a trackback to your own blog. Simply use the same kind of number layout that I used above to show a standard dice.

I’ll get back here with the answer. I don’t operate with deadlines on, but how about this? The sixth article from now will be the answer. I usually post two or three articles each week, so expect the answer in two or three weeks. Or, as soon as someone post a comment with the right layout.

The two dice calendar problem

Essential equipment for your presentation

I am doing a lot of presentations. For about 10 years running Powerpoint on Windows based laptops. And for the last 10 months running KeyNote on a MacBook Pro. First some words on “the switch”.

The experience with the Mac is simply much better. Period. And I am an advanced user that actually have been able to use Powerpoint to play videos, do transitions and behave quite well on all my windows boxes. But KeyNote is in general a better application than Powerpoint. The way it renders the slides, support for better graphics with proper shadows, effects, transitions, alpha channels and everything that simply makes your presentation look better.

And the Mac handles the projector with better stability and ease of use. The video always plays on the projector and the Mac always switch to the proper resolution when the projector is connected. When I save my presentation it is saved like a package that includes the media files. No more “can’t find the movie clip”.

But the best thing is that I always get both the current and the next slide on the screen in front of me while the projector shows the current slide. That makes it possible for me to do presentations with extremely fluent transitions and exact timing. Because I don’t have to memorize the presentation and remember what the next slide will be. I know that this is possible in Powerpoint as well. But my engineering degree has not been enough to make it possible for me to use that function with confidence on the laptops that I have used. On my Mac it simply works. Always.

But I have a couple of mandatory accessories to make the experience even better.

For my Mac I need to remember the converter from DVI to VGA. Apple have this tendency to ditch old technology a couple of years too early. About 1% of the conference halls I have been to support DVI directly. The fact that you need this connector is also the reason why Apple computers have this bad reputation regarding presentations. And personally I think it was a bad decision from Apple to ditch a proper VGA connector on their MacBooks. But let’s go on. I have learned to remember this connector along with my other three mandatory accessories.

My beloved remote. Covered in detail here.

The USB key. Always keep a backup of your presentation on one of these. The full KeyNote copy. In addition to a Powerpoint version and a PDF. Keep the USB key separated from the rest of your equipment. When your laptop gets stolen on your way to that important presentation it is very nice to have a backup in your pocket.

For the advanced users. You only need it in about one out of fifty presentations. But when you need it it is extremely valuable. The VGA amplifier. In some conference halls the cable to the projector is very long. This degrades the quality of the signal. This small device has done wonders a couple of times. Everything from making the image from my computer look way better than the person before me. To making me the only person actually getting an image on the projector.

Google “Extron P/2 DA1 Peaker” or something like that to find a shop near you selling this device. More details: “P/2 DA1 USB”. “Line Driver”. “P/N 60-319-03″. It was pretty expensive where I found it. About $200,-

And the last one. Some small loudspeakers. My experience is that most meeting rooms and conference halls have a projector that works. But the audio might be a problem. Especially in small hotels and meeting rooms. These speakers won’t help you in that large 500 people hall, but is very valuable in a small conference room.

But, as always the most important thing is your content. Start following Presentation Zen immediately. And some valuable advice from earlier eirikso articles here:
Working with one slide
How to avoid making boring presentations
Presenting Software

And my main guideline. Seth Godin’s “Really bad powerpoint“.

And comments are open. Do you have something to add? Something more you want to know about my presentations?

Essential equipment for your presentation

Facebook hangover

(Image from the Blogres 07 party in Ljubljana.)

All these possibilities for publishing and instant shopping leads to a whole lot of new types of hangover. Stuff you shouldn’t do when returning from a party. And stuff you regret that you did during a party. Time for a quick roundup.

iTunes hangover
When your laptop ended up as the preferred jukebox at the party. People didn’t like your music collection and you clearly said “yeeeeeeeees!” when they asked if it was okay to buy some tracks in the iTunes store.

You wake up the day after and are not very happy with:
1. The amount of money spent on music the day before
2. The quality of the new music in your iTunes library

SMS hangover
When you check your outgoing messages from last night. And the time stamp on those messages.

MMS hangover
The angry big brother of SMS hangover. It is never smart to enhance those late night messages with images and, even worse – video.

Email hangover
For the people that has this stupid idea of just checking the email when returning from a party.

Facebook hangover
There are insane amounts of pitfalls when checking your Facebook profile at 0430 AM.

Flickr hangover
Worse than MMS hangover. Better quality images is not a good idea.

YouTube hangover
Even worse than Flickr hangover.

Blog hangover
The worst one. Especially when combined with Flickr hangover and YouTube hangover. And remember. Your mother reads your blog. hangover
The geeky one. Never tag the sites you surf when returning from a party in your official stream.

Amazon hangover
No. You don’t need that book.

Threadless hangover
No. You will never wear that T-shirt.

eBay hangover
OMG. Endless possibilities. You really, really don’t need your neighbor’s garbage.

I’m not going to cross post everything I do here on in Norwegian over at NRKbeta, but this one made it’s way in there as well. And we’re already in for some new ones from Thordur:

Feed hangover
When you have 12 500 unread messages in your reader because you accidently connected your twitter account with your tumblr, jaiku and second brain account into an endless feedback loop.

Friend request hangover
The bad version of Facebook hangover. When you suddenly decide to let the different social networks do automatic friend requests based on your mail account.

And I guess my readers as always have something to add? Or some good examples…


Facebook hangover

They stole an image of my son and just had to pay $4000

I seems like I’ve done a bad job selecting words for my headline. Some people think that I am complaining because I “just” got $4000. I’m not complaining. It’s a not-so-successful formulation to say that this happened recently. Or like one of the commenters over at Reddit said:

“I assume that “just” refers to time. Meaning they only now, a short while ago, had to pay $4000.”

About a year ago I was surprised when I saw an image of my son in an ad for a shop called “Vinderen Elektriske”, selling electronics.

I immediately contacted the editor of the magazine in question, “Vinderen Magasinet”. She directed me to the advertiser and the designer behind the ad. I contacted the designer. She had found the image “on the internet” and reacted like I was rude and angry without any reason when I told her that she couldn’t use the image without my permission. I was obviously talking to a professional designer with absolutely no knowledge of intellectual property laws.

The use of my image is a very clear violation of several paragraphs in those laws. Both because I own the rights to the image and because they need permission from the easily recognizable person in the image.

So I called the manager of the shop responsible for the ad. He was not very friendly either and simply directed me to their lawyer. Probably in hope of me simply forgetting about it because I didn’t want to fight their lawyer.

Unfortunately for them this simply pissed me off. Seriously. I am not too difficult when it comes to people wanting to use my images. An apology and a suggestion for some kind of compensation would have been okay. But now I just went from a minor irritation to pure anger.

Fortunately I am pretty well connected and a couple of emails later I am in contact with the utterly talented Mr. Halvor Manshaus. You know, Jon Lech Johansen aka DVD-Jon’s lawyer. A lawyer you don’t want on your neck when discussing digital rights.

But he’s not cheap. Not even after a couple of beer and a very interesting discussion about technology and new media… And with this incident I don’t know if I’ll get any kind of economic compensation in the end, so I have to put aside thousands of dollars and prepare to cover the expenses if I lose.

Most people would probably just give up. That’s why this story is important.

Some weeks later I am fortunate enough to meet Mr. Jon Bing at a conference where we both where speaking. Jon Bing is a Norwegian writer and law professor at the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law. I tell him about the case. He tells me that the economic compensations people get in cases like these very often are pretty low. But he also says that the case is somewhat important and that I should go through with it to state an example. I should do my duty.

Okay. This would cost me time and money, but I’m pissed, the professor tells me I should do it and Halvor Manshaus is at my service.

I instruct Mr. Manshaus to go on and send a proposal to the lawyer that Vinderen Elektriske was using. He proposes a compensation of about $8000 and make it clear that they have violated Norwegian law of intellectual property. He also asks for documentation on exactly where they used the image.

After a while they reply that this is out of proportions and that they won’t pay more than something like $1000,- No apology and no documentation on the usage.

I don’t accept this. Mr. Manshaus sends another letter. This time with even more references to Norwegian law and a statement about the fact that I am willing to go on and charge them for violation of intellectual property law.

They fail to answer on time and we need to send a reminder with yet another letter. In the next letter they propose something close to $4000,- as long as I prove that it’s my son in the image(!) That’s not very difficult to prove. Because I don’t have the time and money to push this further I accept the $4000,- It’s enough to cover my expenses and leave some dollars that I will put away for my son.

Still, Vinderen Elektriske never gave me proper documentation on where they used the image. They never gave me any form of apology.

But at least it states an example. And I hope the designer now have learned that she can’t just use whatever she finds through Google Images and I hope Vinderen Elektriske are more careful the next time they put together an ad.

And there is another important lesson to be learned here. The one about communication and marketing. In about 20 seconds the owner of Vinderen Elektriske could have avoided:
– $4000,- in compensation to me
– Expenses for his own lawyer
– Bad publicity

How? Instead of answering

“We found the image on the internet. Talk to our lawyer”

He could have said something like

“Oh. I’m so sorry. Our designer must have made a mistake. We really liked your image. How can we fix this? Of course you should have some kind of compensation. Maybe you would give our shop a visit and pick a Nintendo Wii and some games for your son?”

Unfortunately they selected the other option. Pissing me off. Making sure I now hate really dislike Vinderen Elektriske. Making sure my family, most of my readers and huge amounts of people around the different forums where this story has been shared also hate dislike them.


Digg this story:


Did a couple of edits that I have moved down into the comments.

They stole an image of my son and just had to pay $4000

This blog is awesome!

To give this headline a tiny bit of credibility I must add that it’s not me that says this. is awesome according to Blogvaria. So now I have to list five awesome blogs as well. There are some rules, so group blogs like BoingBoing, Engadget, TUAW and TechCrunch are out… And because this blog is in english I’ll choose blogs in english. Sorry loRdx, Sverkeli, Espen, Andreas, Iacob and all the others… Here we go:

1. Presentation Zen
Fantastic blog about presentation skills and design. Look out for priceless comparisons and links to fantastic content. Not to talk about very good lectures.

2. Thomas Hawk’s digital connection
Fantastic photography, strong opinions and a lot to learn.

3. Buzzmachine
Jeff Jarvis talks about the media industry. Still very high quality. Still huge amounts of thoughtful analysis.

4. Seth Godin
Marketing guru and master of telling things clear and simple.

Instead, like a million organizations before them, defending the status quo is far more politically correct than change. So they stand back and let dinky startups with no natural advantages run like crazy.

From It (almost) always happens this way

5. Micropersuasion
Steve Rubel on how technology is revolutionizing media and marketing.

Naaaaah. That wasn’t too original. Big well known high quality blogs. These are essential, but what about the up and coming? The not so well known? Okay:

1. Happygolucky
Mr. Arnesen switched to English and shares thoughts on travel, photography and the internet. Pretty personal blog, but a lot of true marvels in there. Mr Everest up close, fantastic kite images and insane travel descriptions.

2. web 2.?
Even Aas-Eng on marketing and new media. About interesting campaigns and important business.

3. Herrklein
Lasse Klein designs fantastic lamps and tells you about television screens.

4. The Digital Society
You’ll not be overloaded with articles, but when Francis D’Silva writes something it’s good!

5. Jill/txt
Jill Walker on how people tell stories online. And so much more.

And why on earth haven’t you mentioned the truly excellent blog of Mr. Oyvind Solstad? Brilliantdays. Well, he is currently too busy publishing his exellent stuff over at NRKbeta. But no matter where that guy moves you should follow him.

So, Arnesen, Aas-Eng, Klein, D’Silva and Walker. Now you have to list your favourites. And you don’t have to do it twice, like I did here.

There are so many good blogs out there. I share stuff I find as I read it in my Google Reader Shared items. And please comment with stuff you find valuable.

This blog is awesome!