Saturday, March 19, 2005

I must be doing something wrong....

I played golf yesterday morning before work. Got out there at 7 am with Dave and JP and was set to play 9 holes. We went to the driving range and I forgot to stretch before I started hitting balls and after a few, I tried to kill my driver. I felt something twinge in my left shoulder. Ow. I played the holes and it got a bit worse, but it wasn't too bad.

Last night, Zach and I drove up to Whistler and with the exception of being pulled over by one of the nicest police officers I've ever met, it was an uneventful trip. This morning, Zach and I got ready to go skiing and we headed up to the midstation at Whistler. There was a bunch of new snow and I was really psyched to get some good skiing in with Zach. My shoulder was hurting a bit more, but not too bad. After a couple of really light runs it started hurting a lot more. Not sure if it was from being tight on the ski runs, or from the helmet or what, but at this point it was really hurting. We had lunch to see if it would calm down when we went inside but nope. So we had to leave early and head back to the hotel room so I could ice it and rest. Ugh. Driving home tomorrow should be a blast.

So does this make me the first person to not be able to ski because of a golfing injury?

Friday, March 11, 2005

World of Photoshop World

I went to Photoshop World in Las Vegas this week. It was an interesting opportunity to meet a bunch of people who spend their days working in Photoshop, trying to take advantage of all of the powerful features in the application. I've come to a conclusion about them. They are User Experience Masochists.

It isn't that they aren't smart -- they are very smart and creative people -- but they seem to relish the gyrations they need to go through to accomplish what seems like simple tasks. Scott Kelby gave a talk on Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks where he repeatedly said that the most obvious way to do something in Photoshop is invariably the worst way to do it. His mantra could be "why do it in 1 step when you can do it better in 12?" In fact, over and over I would hear about people who chose a wrong button accidentally at some point and stumbled across a completely incomprehensible dialog full of sliders and buttons and by twisting the odd control on a layer had discovered the most amazing duotone effect.

It kind of reminds me of playing Worlds of Warcraft (which I have been doing so much that I haven't been writing much here lately). They go on long quests to find the different parts of a process and try to remember the secret combinations that give them the most realistic shadow under a product shot. Their gaussian blur has 12% more stamina than any one they've seen. They have the Enchanted Blending Mode of Witherbark (+28 Frost damage!) which is only available to a Level 38 Photoshop Mage but can actually defeat the Dodge & Burn elite quest in Stranglethorn Vale.

They chat amongst each other in their guilds and swap war stories of how they created a star field out of pure noise (no--- really!) and gave their house a faint yellow glow against a purple sky which really made it "pop"! They are proud of the hours or days they spent figuring out how to make something work and equally excited to learn more arcane usages of layers, masks, filters and curves from other warrior quests.

Now I know that this doesn't work for all people, but I wonder if the ultimate imaging application would be one where there was a whole set of dialogs that all had scrolling lists of checkboxes, sliders, buttons and dial controls with names like "Fidget", "U731", "Quantitude", and "Mud Saliency" but no documentation about what any of them mean. Get the right combination and you have the most remarkable red eye removal for a digital photograph. Change the "Tremble Factor" slider on the third tab of the "Luminescency" dialog to 1014 and you can remove all motion blur from a photograph taken during an earthquake! (Don't try 1013, though, it will look like crap!)

Then you can create recipes of all of the best combinations and if you add just a pinch of Goretusk Snout you've got the cover of your next book!