December 2008
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Month December 2008

Bookmarks for December 31st

Bookmarks for December 30th

  • Robert Capa – Lost Negatives – Art – New York Times – "To the small group of photography experts aware of its existence, it was known simply as “the Mexican suitcase.” And in the pantheon of lost modern cultural treasures, it was surrounded by the same mythical aura as Hemingway’s early manuscripts, which vanished from a train station in 1922." Amazing find. The pictures associated with the story (reputedly from the lost collection) remind me of the few negatives which were saved from Capa’s photography during the D-Day landings. There will never be another photojournalist like him… or Gerda Taro, for that matter.
  • L-space – Discworld & Pratchett Wiki – "Large quantities of magical and mundane books create portals into L-space that can be accessed using innate powers of librarianship that are taught by the Librarians of Time and Space to those deemed worthy across the multiverse. Because libraries with enough books to open a portal are often large and sprawling, those venturing into L-space may not necessarily know that they have arrived. The floor and ceiling of L-space follow the floor and ceiling of the library used to access it; the best example of this is that the central dome of Unseen University's library is "always overhead" (Guards! Guards! – all quotes in this article come from this book). In every direction and as far as the eye can see bookshelves stretch off, meaning the nature of any walls are unknown." Wow. I love this kind of thing.

Canon MP970: Error Number 88

As promised in my short review of the Canon MP970, I’ll follow-up on a quirk in the Canon MP970′s handling of Letter-sized Canon Fine Art Rag paper (FA-PR1) — a matte specialty paper Canon sells for use with the MP970 printer (among others). Perhaps this will save other owners of the MP970 hours of bafflement.

First, please note that the package in which the “Fine Art” paper arrives proudly states each sheet is 8.5″x11″. You might be thinking to yourself, “I can print on this paper if I set the printer to use a US Letter page size!” That is a very silly thing to think.

fine-art-rag-paper-fa-pr1

My intent was to make two 4″x6″ prints on each sheet of 8.5″x11″ paper. As usual, I set the print job up in Omnigraffle on a “US Letter” page.

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Here is a snapshot of the default “Page Setup” dialog in which the correct printer and paper appear to be selected. We’ll return to this in a moment. Oh yes.

2_mp970_default_us_letter_print_dialog

The only other setting to check is the output quality and media. “Fine Art Photo Rag” is the “Media Type” and “Top-quality Photo” is the “Print Mode”.

3_mp970_double_check_output_settings

Clicking “Print”, however, results in an “Error Number : 88 The media type and paper size are not set correctly. Cancel printing, correct the settings, and print again. To print on Fine Art Paper, you need to set the media type and paper size appropriate to Fine Art.”

Here’s the trick: Canon treats “Fine Art” paper (FA-PR1) differently from “US Letter” paper. To print to “Fine Art” paper, you must dig into the paper sizes in the “Page Setup” dialog and specifically select “Fine Art” paper under the option for “US Letter” paper. Thanks, Canon, you bunch of nimrods.

5_mp970_select_correct_page_size

Note, however, that selecting the “Fine Art” paper size will drastically adjust the printer margins. Compare the following image to the “US Letter” layout above.

6_mp970_fine_art_rag_page_size_reduction

In the end, you are left with a diminutive 8.25″x8″ print area — just enough to fit two 4″x6″ prints, but obviously not enough to handle two 5″x7″ prints or one 8″x10″ print. Working around this limitation may involve lying to the printer. I’ll relay any such experiences in a future post.

Outlaw Cat Predicts Future

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You can prepare for the future by hoarding chocolate syrup.

Outlaw Cat Asks: Are You Delicious?

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Yeah, where’s that good stuff?!

On Break

Catagraph.us will be on break from Monday, December 22, 2008 until Friday, December 26, 2008. I may sneak a post or two in during this week, but they’ll be fairly rare — still need to finish some paintings… then flop over and sleep for a week.

I hope everyone has a great holiday — remember to do as Calliope would do: Pretend to be good, then sniff your presents thoroughly before eviscerating their organs and wearing the box on your head!

A Treasury of Amusements

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What a great story so far! Consider all the new possibilities!

Canon MP970: Short Review

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A few days ago, I purchased a Canon MP970. It arrived yesterday. Is it worth giving up some small green pieces of paper? I believe so — with some caveats.

Pros:

  • High quality prints!
  • A discounted price due to the recent arrival of its successor — the MP980
  • A built-in scanner and memory card reader
  • Ethernet or USB capable

Cons:

  • Canon drivers
  • Appearance
  • Canon drivers

Thus far, the Canon drivers are the only major issue I’ve encountered with this printer. They possess a casual malice, being somewhat annoying to install (reboot required) and counter-intuitive to use (did you select the right media type in exactly the right place?). Indeed, the latter aspect is bad enough that one could reasonably claim Canon printer drivers represent an indefensible crime perpetrated against the end user.

(I’ll go into the subject in more detail soon. Believe me. No one with access to Google should ever have to share in the torment.)

To sum up: The MP970 is quiet, fast, and relatively inexpensive for a good photo printer. It’s capable of doing a lot of different things. It’s also ugly as sin. Physically, it resembles a brooding, streamlined brick; digitally, it resembles a maddened hydra or perhaps a writhing nest of poisonous snakes.

Output counts for a lot, though, and the output from this printer — thus far — looks really good.

Bookmarks for December 19th

  • Number One (Star Trek) – "The prominence of a woman among the crew of a starship was one of the reasons that the original Star Trek pilot was rejected by NBC, who in addition to calling the pilot "too cerebral", felt that the alien Spock and Number One would be rejected by audiences, according to Roddenberry and Stephen Whitfield,[2] although Gene Roddenberry also related the tale of how women of the era had difficulty accepting her as well. Because of NBC's rare order of a second pilot, Roddenberry compromised by eliminating Number One, but aspects of her character — specifically, her cool demeanor and logical nature — were merged with that of Spock (who does appear in "The Cage") during the regular run of the series."
  • The Enterprise, Now Silent. | MetaFilter – A MetaFilter thread regarding the passing of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry.
  • Majel Barrett – Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Wiki – "Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (23 February 1932 – 18 December 2008; age 76) was a recurring actress in the Star Trek franchise and was the wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry from 1969 until his passing in 1991. This association with Roddenberry and his most famous creation has earned Barrett the title 'The First Lady of Star Trek.'" She brought grace and empathy to every role she played.

A Simple Question

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“As he turned to flee, the whistling of valves emitted by the floating machine broke to a melody of long bass notes…”

After exploring Google AdWords more extensively in the last few weeks, I’ve realized that you have to be quite careful about choosing keywords which match the content of the website being advertised.

In my first advertising experiments, I tried to generate interest in viewers by employing curious phrases (nothing ever as brilliant as platypus dirigible, though!). These first ads attracted clicks, but since the visitors weren’t looking for Castle Mountain or Lighthouse + Airship when they googled for information about cat health, none of them came back after the initial visit.

In retrospect, that is an obvious outcome. However, my focus at the time was to entice anyone to visit the website, rather than enticing people who love daily sketches of cats and adventure to visit the website. Recent efforts were more finely tuned, but writing copy and choosing keywords that reach just the right people is a difficult, subtle thing — an art in its own right and one that demands a lot of attention.

I wonder who usually handles such things for artists? Art promoters? Artist’s agents? There must be someone out there.