A word on doing work for “exposure:”


That’s it, just say NO.

If the work is sufficiently complex to require special skills (yours) then it’s of sufficient value to the client to get paid.

I recently went through this dance. A prospect got in touch via email (referral from various sources), then we did some phone tag, several conference calls, a ream or more of additional email, and then a meeting was arranged.

For me, it was a two-hour drive early in the morning (I’m a night owl) to a breakfast meeting in a diner. Got there, and things started downhill almost immediately. The client principal wasn’t in attendance even though she would have to approve any ‘deal.’ The talk quickly turned to my doing this for ‘exposure’ (sorry, No); then well “you do the design and if we like the design then you can bid on the job and if you’re the winner you get paid after the job is all done.”


Not playing that game… time to leave. They wanted a ‘ball-park’ figure; I gave them one, and then added that it would of necessity be much higher should they return in a few months – disgruntled people are much more difficult clients. When they told me it wasn’t likely, I wished them success – with all those other consultants they’d tracked down for this sort of work.

My exit was made in silence, at least from that group. I expect they’ll be back, and my answer will, for them, always be NO.

End result – I think I’m going to have to start charging for prospect meetings, especially if the prospect isn’t used to dealing with custom software.

Having something to say..

Listening in the classrooms, it’s easy to hear the same old lament: the hard plight of the student, never appreciated for his/her own creativity, forced into the same ruts as followed by untold others.

Funny it is, then, when a class requires the student to create, to expound, to communicate, and the student turns to the professor and asks “But what shall I write?”

It’s difficult to create; far more so than it appears on the outside, especially when faced with a deadline. Performing on schedule requires discipline… and interests forged beyond the confines of social media or the platitudes of the textbook.

Curse of the photo walk…

A beautiful Saturday in October; business meeting over, what to do? Let’s go to Waterloo Village and see what’s open. Turns out this was one of the Canal Society’s “Heritage Days” – wherein the village is open and [partly] staffed… and crawling with photographers.

Apparently at least six different photo clubs decided this was the perfect day and Waterloo was the perfect place.

A bevy of photographers brave the Morris Canal.

I didn’t hear any splashes so apparently the boat didn’t capsize but it certainly was down a bit by the bow.

Among the various waves of photographers, this tableau unfolded:

family portrait photo
Family photo fun

Color me a bit doubtful on the use of the monoblock lamp at that sort of distance on a sunny day, but whatever. Everyone appeared happy and I’m sure it turned out well.

The surprise came a bit later. I was over behind the village church, photographing in the graveyard… I’d just taken the ‘test’ shot:

low angle photo of gravestones
Test shot for composition.

And from behind me, the ‘leader’ of a ‘photo walk’ proceeds to tell me (and his followers) that what I’m doing is a waste of pixels; the shot won’t come out at all. Ahem.

I thank him for his ‘advice’ and ask forbearance for the five-shot sequence to follow. I’m going to shoot multiple exposures which will later be integrated into a single high-dynamic-range photo… oh yes, here’s the result:

low angle gravestone photo
HDR low-angle; five shots composited together.

Guess it worked out after all.

Phish story

Boy howdy this one was good… but not quite good enough.

The back story – I am teaching a class on Content Management Systems. To help support the class, I registered several domains using the course name and number… cisy222.net, .us, .org, .com.

Getting ready for the class I went ahead and configured a multisite WordPress installation on cisy222.net (hosted here on the spareparts box). After deciding to use siteground.com as the freeware hosting supplier for the course (they offer 3 months’ free service for students) I then moved cisy222.us over to siteground.

In order to move the domain over to siteground, I had to change the authoritative nameservers to siteground (common limitation on low-end hosting), and that generated a routine alert message from the registrar.

So far, so good.

Then came the phish, a day later. Disguised as a status alert message from the registrar, this suggested that the nameservers were being changed for a different (but related) domain: cisy222.net. Yikes! So I went and signed in to the registrar (not using the convenient link in the email) and everything looked fine.

So I went back and studied the email a bit.

It was a phish.

But well-executed, Russian in origin, reasonably convincing, and I could see it being successful in many cases.

Don’t ever ever EVER click the link in an email without careful study first.