Friday, May 29, 2009

Bill, It's No Good, a.k.a. BING!

Fact 1: Search is key to dominating the "i" universe.
Fact 2: Google is the Emperor of Search.
Fact 3: Microsofties are going after Search and Google like they went after WordPerfect and Novell in the nineties.
Fact 4: Bing, Microsoft's answer to Search, is getting launched next Wednesday, June 3rd

Question (everybody' asking): Wow or Duh?

I don't know, I wouldn't know. I took a look at the Bing footage and got the following impression. It looks like a damn paella! All sorts of functionality thrown to the pot, much of which we have seen evolving in Search engines over time. Some new ideas here and there as well. You often need some fresh ingredients to make paella too, not only left-overs and doggy bag! All these functions thrown over the Search wall, into a rusted stewpot and stirred hard and there jumps out Bing (not Crosby, you wish, that one died ages ago). Maybe some of this Search stuff has been redesigned to look more appealing in terms of UI, but, that will be the day that MSFT designed a descent UI, for a change. It all looks so damn Windows 3.11. Microsoft seems to love text to death. The world gets minimalist by the day. Google's homepage is literally an empty blank page with just a Search field in the middle and a few more click options (like "feeling lucky") here and there. Apple uses simple and fresh but quite elegant UI designs. Everywhere you look, Less is More! Microsoft, on the contrary, showers us with text and pop-ups with more text, and titles, and lists and tables and color graphs, and even more underlined hyperlinks, and some images and... OMG! I got nauseous by just looking at their video footage showing off myriads of Bing textual layouts made to address all of your Search desires, and listening to that dude talking, a Microsoft LiveSearch Director, the young lad with the Trotsky goggles, explaining the gazillion Bing options, to fullfil all your heart's wishes from next Wednesday to eternity. Bing promises to do everything for you! 'Can it jerk you off, too?' my Greek cousin Mikes* from Athens would have asked on the occasion... probably, it could!

Good luck, Bingo! For Mario's, Geert's and Dave's sake**!

UPDATE: Just finished watching this week's Cranky Geeks episode. Glad to mention that the known pundits share my opinion too. The likes of John C. Dvorak, Sebastian Rupley and that pain on the neck 'know-it-all' from Revision 3, Jim Louderback! All agree that there's nothing 'real' able to threaten Google, even remotely...
*Mikes is a real person, a radiologist in a Piraeus hospital. One of his legendary quotes goes like this: If you ever come across a boat on the summit of a mountain, it's been for sure a darn female that parked it there...
(Αν βρεις καράβι στο βουνό, μουνί το'χει αράξει! - in Greek)

**Good lads and pals who made the mistake to join Microsoft until they retire...

Brushes on iPhone

In the last edition of The New Yorker the front page was painted by Jorge Colombo. No big deal, other than our pal Jorge actually finger painted that cover on an iPhone using Brushes, a new iPhone app. Brushes cost: less than 5 bucks. Moreover, Jorge sells his finger paintings for a hefty 20 bucks. It's fun to watch his stop motion TNY cover building up on the clip shown in the link above.

Of course, I wouldn't be worth my geek status if I didn't try that myself. Decided to revive Cezanne's apples and made a mess of it, but anyways... Here you go... I also posted it on Twitter under the title "Eva's apple" as my contribution to the hushtag #liesgirlstell.

On a serious note, I believe Brushes to be an ingenious app. Compared to other apps on actual personal computers it lacks thousands of extra functions etc, but in fact it proves that you don't need more than 5 or 6 bits to make some stunning pieces, like Colombo's (forget mine).

If you got an iPhone and like drawing some BS doodles during boring meetings, this is your thingie!

However, if you wanna be serious with it, don't forget the following 10 commandmends:

1. Visualize the final result before you actually drawn one line.
2. Work in transparent layers... many... as many as you can
3. Start with the background parts of your image and move gradually to the front parts.
4. Use transparency extensively. Using it skillfully creates the impression you used many more colors and strokes than you actually did.
5. Don't forget to undo bad strokes... Brushes has got no gum, yet...
6. Zoom in and out regularly by pinching to work out more detail or see the entire piece.
7. Use variations of colors as much as you heart desires... Millions supported.
8. Zoom in, choose a thin brush, and sign your masterpiece.
9. At regular intervals make back-ups of your work, in case you want to restart from one point forward.
10. If you happen to know the known best practices about lighting, shadows, contrast, and composition, please apply them to the max. Always helps you to do good.

UPDATE: All by accident I discovered a function which I think is FUNDAMENTAL in getting more efficient with Brushes (that will teach me never to read 'help' and instruction guides). If you touch and hold your finger on the screen for a few extra secs (maybe one, max two) it causes the color selection tool to pop-up. That's super cool when you have advanced your drawing somewhat... all you need to do is select a brush and then keep painting without changing views too often, because you don't need to move to the app's 'colors view' to pick a new color. Just touch the screen and hold. Once the color selection tool pops-up you slide your finger to an area of your desired color and when the latter shows on the selection ring you let go. In so doing, you actually locked-in the new color, like dipping a real brush into the color pasta on a palette. You then go on painting without an interruption... That's how I made this last one shown here (vases on a table). Took me as much time as the 'Eva's apple' but it's way more sophisticated, I reckon. Anyways, I'm not a pro painter at all, just a semi-retired technology corporate officer, nowadays wasting time blogging and playing around with iPhone apps and gadgets. So, take my geeky advice with a grain of salt...

Gee, this update probably qualifies as the 11th commandment!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lies girls tell

The top trending topic @ twitter, as we speak, is #liesgirlstell. It's just hilarious. Go have a look! Login first and click on it in the trending topics column on the right sidebar, or simply search on the keyword liesgirlstell. Click on the screen capture here on the left and read a sample, for kicks...

And if you done that, and got more time to waste, try the third most popular trending topic today: #3breakupwords! Even funnier.

I guess the girlie lies thing is funny but also sad. Especially if you think back and remember how often your heard them chickens talk like that, and you've been a monumental ass of astronomic dimensions to... believe 'em. Makes you wanna jump off the building, not?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Online Socialites...

I'm so 'proud' of my Twitter wallpaper. I picked a sea blue template from Apple's Keynote, a bearded character from Brigada Ramona Para's Beaufort03 work at the Voetgangerstunnel (Zeepreventorium, de Haan @ the Belgian North Sea Coastline), added some sideways type in PS-CS4 and Bob's your uncle. For the rest, I keep adding BS twits every now and then and some poor souls decide to follow me for a couple of hours or so before heading south and going away to do something more meaningful with their miserable lives. Twitter is the new opium for the masses. It's another Haley's comet in the Web 2.0 Social Networking landscape. Like that other phony BS site a.k.a. Facebook! 200M active accounts claims Herr Zucker are open at his golden (but 'stolen' from a 'friend') Facebook idea. I've been on it for a couple weeks and ended up a few times like ready to go vommit, appalled by the shitload of porn-style horseshit posted on walls, together with shots of persisting 18 year old horny 'dates', hunging all over the page margins, and then I said to myself: Get a life dude! And I ditched that freakin' account for good. I hope the remaining 200M do the same! This social networking thing must have really pushed our inner drive for public exhibitionism to the max... making all tools necessary available even to the braindead who are dying to also be 'cool' and get laid and have their 'own' homepage on the Facebook Planet and eventually add a few more billions on moron babyface Herr Zuck's bank account!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Foul language @ work

Another oldie (viral email) joke but still worth it:

"Dear Employees,

It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their coworkers. Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated. We do, however, realize the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with coworkers. Therefore, a list of 18 New and Innovative 'TRY SAYING' phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner:

Number 1
TRY SAYING: I think you could use more training.
INSTEAD OF: You don't know what the f___ you're doing.
Number 2

TRY SAYING: She's an aggressive go-getter.

INSTEAD OF: She's a f___ing bit__.

Number 3

TRY SAYING: Perhaps I can work late.

INSTEAD OF: And when the f___ do you expect me to do this?

Number 4

TRY SAYING: I'm certain that isn't feasible.

INSTEAD OF: No f___ing way.

Number 5


INSTEAD OF: Yo u've got to be sh___ing me!

Number 6

TRY SAYING: Perhaps you should check with...

INSTEAD OF: Tell someone who gives a sh__..

Number 7

TRY SAYING: I wasn't involved in the project.

INSTEAD OF: It's not my f___ing problem.

Number 8

TRY SAYING: That's interesting.

INSTEAD OF: What the f___?

Number 9

TRY SAYING: I'm not sure this can be implemented.

INSTEAD OF: This sh__ won't work.
Number 10

TRY SAYING : I'll try to schedule that.

INSTEAD OF: Why the f___ didn't you tell me sooner?

Number 11

TRY SAYING: He's not familiar with the issues.

INSTEAD OF: He's got his head up his a__.

Number 12

TRY SAYING: Excuse me, sir?

INSTEAD OF: Eat sh__ and die.

Number 13
TRY SAYING: So you weren't happy with it?

INSTEAD OF: Kiss my a__.

Number 14

TRY SAYING: I'm a bit overloaded at the moment.

INSTEAD OF: F__ it, I'm on salary.
Number 15

TRY SAYING: I don't think you understand.

INSTEAD OF: Shove it up your a__.

Number 16

TRY SAYING: I love a challenge.

INSTEAD OF: This f___ing job sucks.
Number 17

TRY SAYING: You want me to take care of that?

INSTEAD OF: Who the f___ died and made you boss?

Number 18

TRY SAYING: He's somewhat insensitive.

INSTEAD OF: He's a pr_ck.

Thank you much for your attention,

The Human Resources Dept."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The TBT blues

I got this article just yesterday from my good friend John Y. via email. Unfortunately no source was mentioned, so I can't link you to the original authors. With my apologies to them for not mentioning their name, I'll re-post that article here, as I find it simply stunning:

U.S. STOCKS HAVE FIZZLED this week, but are only slightly below breakeven for the year. The likes of Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Amazon (AMZN) are hanging onto gains of more than 25%. Call that a sign of hope or overconfidence, depending on your view. One top gainer is more difficult to read, but also more telling: ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury (TBT), an exchange-traded fund (ETF), is up more than 30% in 2009.

Before I explain why you should care about it, let me break down the name. ProShares is an investment fund company. “Ultra” is its way of saying this fund uses derivatives to try to double the results of an index it tracks, while “Short” means the fund is betting against that index, so managers are hoping to produce a 2% gain for each 1% the index loses. The index in this case is the Barclays Capital U.S. 20+ Year Treasury Bond index. (It used to be a Lehman Brothers index before that firm went bust.) The “20+” in the name means the index tracks Treasury bonds that mature in 20 or more years. And of course, an exchange-traded fund is an index fund that trades all day just like a stock. Put it all together and TBT is a device traders use to bet aggressively against long-term Treasurys.

Last year Treasury bonds were one of only a few investments that did well. Investors who bet on (not against) the aforementioned index using an ETF with no leverage made 34% -- almost as much as stock investors lost. Yields on Treasurys were puny and turned pitiful late in the year, but investors bought them anyway. With most other assets imploding, America’s promise to pay its debts suddenly seemed the safest bet around. It was panic buying, really: During Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.A5) annual meeting earlier this month, Warren Buffett showed a slide of a Dec. 19 trade in which Berkshire sold Treasury bills due April 29, 2009, with a maturity value of $5 million. The buyer paid $5,000,090.70. In other words, so fierce was demand for these Treasury bills, the buyer locked in a guaranteed loss of $90.70 just to own them.

Around that time, a SmartMoney colleague, Dan Burrows, cautioned readers not to hunker down with the herd in negative yields. Those who bought just about anything else have since prospered. Viewed in that light, this year’s run-up in TBT seems promising. It means investors have grown less panicky about stocks and other risky assets. This week the fund is giving up some recent gains, just like the stock market. Let’s hope that doesn’t suggest investors are about to pile back into Treasurys and abandon everything else.

There’s another, darker way to read the fund’s movements, though. Treasury yields, like stock dividend yields, move in the opposite direction of prices. A purchase of TBT, then, might as well be called a confident bet on higher long-term interest rates. The interest rates the U.S. government must pay on its long-term debt depend in part on buyers’ perception of its future ability to pay — or more precisely, on its ability to do so without creating too much new money. (The government will always be able to pay so long as the debt is in dollars and it controls the Mint, but those dollars might be worth less.) If Treasury buyers foresee an erosion in the value of dollars they’ve lent, they’ll demand higher interest rates.

When an auction of new long-term Treasurys last week drew weak demand, the 30-year yield rose more than 0.2 percentage points to about 3.31%. On Monday, government accountants announced this year’s budget deficit (the amount by which the debt will increase) will likely reach $1.85 trillion. That’s four times last year’s record deficit. More debt in the face of weak demand for it seems to suggest rates will rise sharply. So far, they haven’t. In fact, they’ve backed off since last week’s auction. But coming months should prove interesting times for TBT investors. If the dominant theme for Treasurys continues to be investors stampeding toward them when stocks turn frightening, TBT investors might be due for disappointment, since stock valuations are starting to look plump. If, however, Treasurys break from their see-saw ride with stocks and start reacting more to the pace of America’s borrowing, I fear for just how lucrative TBT could become as rates climb ever higher.


Cow Economy

Old but quite funny. Originally were 19 models but my good friend Nabil S. added the Belgian version on position 20. Enjoy:

20 Economic Models Explained

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the
milk away.
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.
You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.
You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of
credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a
debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all
four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of
the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island
Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights
to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says
the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one
cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine
cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys
your bull.
You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want
three cows.
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and
produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon
image called Cowkimon and market it worldwide.
You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and
milk themselves.
You have two cows, but you dont know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.
You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again
and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another
bottle of vodka.
You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.
You have two cows.
You worship them.
You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.
You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.
You have two cows.
One speaks French, the other speaks Flemish...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shooting blue monochrome portraits

One of my favorite pastimes is shooting people's portraits. I almost feel "orgasmic" when staring at the work of famous photography portraitists (like Karsh, Testino, Newman, Ritts, Hurrell and others) and I've been looking for beautifully (lit and) photographed or painted portraits in museums, books and exhibitions all my adult life. I also used to paint portraits of family members and friends for many years but, recently, I kinda stopped doing that... My last brush and canvas work was that of my youngest sibling as the subject. I only use digital photography now along with the "usual suspect" software tools (PS, LR, Aperture, Pixelmator) and also do some digital painting with packages like Corel Painter, Scribbles, etc, to do portraits of graphically interesting faces. I even purchased a Wacom Cintiq 12WX tablet recently for easy drawing. However, nowadays, I can't get any freakin' models to pose for me. What do I do then? Autoportraiture is the obvious answer. As I'm aging and wrinkles grow all over my face, my skin gets ideal for deeply textured portraiture. The other day I discovered the Alien Skin Exposure 2 Black and White filters for Photoshop that possesses a number of interesting presets. One of those I tried and found quite cool. The so called blue filter that actually absorbs all skin colors but blue. Examples of the resulting shots you can see here and at my Flickr account, if you click the picture above. Worth trying that filter... BTW, both shots are done with one studio soft box (1x1m 500W) and no reflectors whatsoever (outside the surrounding ambiance objects). No software lighting effects either! At the lowest strobe power setting I still had to use a low 125 ASA value, I think, and relatively small aperture (16?) and max sync flash speed (250). To get the catch light in the eyes I had to put the box rather close to my subject, you see... On the background, find an unfinished Russian icon style Madonna from 2007 that I never managed to complete (I often do that, leaving paintings unfinished - sad to admit... such a lazy b@stard I can be from time to time...). Her painted garment ground color is blue-like, which, due to the blue filter applied, turned out almost white... QED! Finally, both shots shown here were done with a 40D Canon DSLR that, if we believed Douglas Kirkland (he should definitely know, shouldn't he?), is one sweet marvel that could easily challenge Mark III hands down! Of course, a camera body is useless without the proper glass and I am afraid mine, albeit made by Canon, was by far not the best money can buy (compared to Hasselblad's 150mm portrait Zeiss and Nikon's 80mm portrait lens, that is). Nevertheless, with a little help of a wee-bit of PS unsharp mask Bob's your uncle...

What a wonderful age of imaging we live in! I envy the generations born nowadays for the goodies they'll taste in their lifetime. Wish I believed in reincarnation...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I was wondering what he's been up to lately...

He wrote more than 100 books. Mainly on ICT subjects but recently he has also joined the stream of environmental futurologists, it appears. I had no idea. He used to look thru his crystal ball and in Delphi Oracle fashion he became notorious in predicting the future of technology. He did that with success during the last thirty years of the previous century. He used to attract thousands of "pilgrims" to his famous ICT seminars. He was the father of Information Engineering. He was one of the early evangelists on the potential of Hypertext long before another Brit invented HTML and the WWW. I heard him talk about TV services like we see them in Hulu and Joost nowadays. But that was back in 1988! Of course, he made himself a multimillionaire during the years. He also actively invested in many companies to some of which he allowed the usage of his name and fame. I served in one of those as (one of the) Continental European managers from 1985 to 1993, when we eventually got sold to Texas Instruments. We were actually the only company that carried his name in our logo. James Martin Associates, that was. However, he also used much of his money to fund the 21st Century School that also carries his name within Oxford University and also a similar Institute for Science and Civilization. He's now in his seventies (he must be) and still active, as a writer, a benefactor and, never too late, a filmmaker. If Al Gore can do it, why not Jim? He even hired Michael Douglas as a narrator. Geriatrics in action!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tipping Point

I was up for a major shock yesterday. From time to time I check my traffic statistics of this blog to see whether any of my friends are still checking upon me... I normally have a couple dozen hits a day, most of them coming from stray Google searches who stay for a couple of milliseconds before leaving for something better. I understand this well, as this blog is actually meant for close friends and family who know me and from time to time check upon my latest state of mind and activity (or absence of it).

For some time now though, I have been getting quite a number of hits on an article I wrote about Gladwell's Outliers. That was back in November 2008 when I posted it. I must say, I felt great about that book and I just wanted to tell the world about it! So I posted that blog! Like a review, that was. Much I knew then!

Turns out that article as of yesterday became a 'huge' pole of attraction to this site, after all! It has also attracted the maximum number of comments that I ever had before, and seems that yesterday we reached a peak of 314 hits (!) in a day (see graph hereunder)! I get less than this in a good month for crying out loud! Wow! I mean, this is seer tipping point stuff (another bestseller by Gladwell, BTW). This Pagerank thing moves in mysterious ways. It appears that if you go like 'Gladwell Outliers IQ test' on Google, this article shows up on their hit list in the top five positions! Sometimes it's the first hit! Wow! I mean, I hardly get 300 hits in a month, and yesterday I had more than that in a day! Maybe, one of the reasons is that I have attempted to 'solve' the riddle Gladwell describes in his book and of course my solution must be way out dumb wrong but nevertheless I saw some readers suggesting better solutions, etc... Funny that so many folks out there still get intrigued by tests of 'intelligence', innit? In any case, I believe Gladwell must have scored another bestseller worldwide with his Outliers book!

So far this morning the hit stands at about 80+, which is four times a good day's average and we are not yet thru the first half of the day (by my location's measures), it's a normal week day after all, and the US is only now getting ready to wake-up in the East Coast! Cool! I bet you we may reach more than 200 hits by midnight here!

On a serious note, I'd really like to learn how pagerank works! I mean, I know the basics, but, why now? It was like a storm! I'm curious to see how long it will take this to subsede and fall back to the old stats, if ever... Would also be interesting to experiment with some other subjects too. Let's be honest... that article was no rocket science whatsoever and solved no riddles at all. It's not even a fair review of Gladwell's work (I'm not a professional reporter as most of you already know). Why Google ranks decided to pull it up so high is anybody's guess. Anyone more knowledgeable of the intricacies of search engines, please comment!

In the meantime, my ego is enjoying the traffic. 'How vain your are...' my dearest spouse remarked yesterday... Whatever...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Da man uses a Canon... what else?

Not nice of me to suggest that... sorry Nikon! It was a photographer's camera that BO borrowed backstage to take a peek prior to remarks he formally gave seconds later about providing mortgage payment relief for responsible homeowners. (Dobson High School, Mesa, Arizona 2/18/09). Photo shot by Pete Souza, published at the Official White House Photostream on Flickr! Yep, you heard well... there are at least two BO official photostreams on Flickr, one of the White House and a second from Obama's election campaign. The White House stream is one of the best ever published, IMHO! Phenomenal shots by real pro's.

Take me to the shoot!

Nowadays, anywhere I go, I carry some sort of 'camera' with me. In earlier days, I wouldn't consider doing any serious picture shooting at all unless I had some heavy gear with me (meaning, single lens reflex sort of thing). Those were the days when developing negatives and making paper prints were long and expensive processes. But then, as the 'digital revolution' became reality and digital camera shooting evolved to equivalent end-product quality, I started carrying trivial cameras of appalling quality just good enough to record the content somehow, deploying in front of me eyes. Even an embedded camera on a mobile computer, at the absence of anything else that is, was good enough to record the scene of my choice. Curiously, some of them pictures nonetheless, by far not sufficiently pixeled to print killer posters with, I liked quite a bit... and without consciously realizing it, I 'started' somehow assembling 'polaroid quality' shots (meaning the 'worst' possible, apologies to Polaroid artists) and let them be. Not every shot one takes needs to be razor sharp with the best possible colors. A mobile phone picture can be as good as anything. As long as I like what I see, it's good enough, right?

Anyways, despite my posting of everything I shoot on Flickr nowadays, I'll be the last seeking comments on these shots of either appreciation or contempt by any strangers, friends or enemies. I am using Flickr more as a storage medium (thx much Yahoo!) for universal access and back-up reasons, and never been interested whether anyone decided to use any of these shots for any reason he/she may choose. I am not that good nor famous to risk wasting 'lost' copyrights of golden egg shots anyways. I actually shoot pictures for my own pleasure and nobody else's, come to think of it. Ever since I stopped smoking I ain't got many other small pleasures left. Not? Outside blogging, that is. But again, that one is just done as a reminder to my siblings and theirs of what I used to think and do when still around.

I'm also one of those who likes to photoshoot as much as a heart desires and a memory card allows. Hundreds of pictures in a hiking shoot of a couple of hours is not unusual. In the tour of Flanders last month I had about 500 pictures taken in a matter of a few minutes when the tour paraded in front of my eyes and those of my two slave photographers...

We were at the shopping village of Maasmechelen yesterday and all I had with me was an iPhone. We didn't get there to shoot pictures anyways... iPhone produces descent shots and pixels but, as anybody on the geek planet knows, its glass really suckzz!! Nevertheless, the challenge has always been to be able to nevertheless produce a shot that most viewers won't discount as seer garbage... that is what really drives me when shooting with the likes of my Nokia N95 or an iPhone. The old coalmines in Belgian Limburg, yesterday, revealed by the tarnished leftovers of abandoned steel and brick elevator structures is an interesting subject to record, even if my best gear available at the moment happened to be a... mediocre iPhone. There's plenty of software around, thank God, to turn a dull shot in a dramatic and high quality print, if you wish to do so. Photoshop, Aperture, Lightroom, Pixelmator, to name a few... But I'm still good with the original iPhone quality of that shot too! No magic software tricks and make-ups necessary here...