Online Insights on fiveAA, Sunday, September 09, 2007

September 9, 2007

City Shrinker
An old photography buddy of mine, Adrian Morgan, pointed out a fantastic photography site, showcasing the work of former Adelaide boy, Ben Thomas. It’s called City Shrinker. Ben has an amazing technique, enabling him to shoot cityscapes and make them look like close-up photos of model train sets. It is fascinating. We think he uses a tilt-shift lens to play around with focus, and then desaturates key colours, but he is not forthcoming about his method, nor should he be. He says, “You see amazing things every day. It could be out the window of the train on your way to work, it could be in your back yard, even better it could be somewhere completely foreign, something you didnt know existed. My aim is to give that feeling of newness with each shot I take. My method is to take what was once large and shrink it down to model size. To take the familiar and get you thinking even if for a second “wait a minute, is that…”.”

Red Bubble
RedBubble is an online art gallery that makes it easy to sell your art, photos, designs and illustrations as high-quality framed prints, mounted prints, greeting cards, designer T-Shirts and more. RedBubble
manages credit card payments for you, provides high-quality manufacturing, takes care of packaging and worldwide shipping, sends you your earnings! You get to keep the copyright over your art work, set your own prices, decide which products to sell. RedBubble takes the risk and cost out of selling art. They collect the orders, deduct a base price for making products, and send your earnings to you.
Some of the fun designs for t-shirts include: If at first you don’t succeed, sky diving is not for you; DRUMMER – a person that hangs around with musicians but is not a roadie; No longer contagious.

43 folders
43 Folders is Merlin Mann’s site about personal productivity, life hacks, and simple ways to make your life a little better. I want to point out the link to INBOX ZERO on the site. These are posts from a special 43 Folders series looking at the skills, tools, and attitude needed to empty your email inbox — and then keep it that way.
Some of the basic principles to keeping a clean inbox are:

  • Some messages are more equal than others
  • Your time is priceless (and wildly limited) – there’s no way you will ever be able to read every email ever sent to you in great detail
  • Less can be so much more – short emails are not rude, they are invaluable

It includes 5 sneaky email cheats:

  • Use email templates for basic responses to standard emails you receive
  • Send a link to the answer/resources
  • The question – if you’ve sat on an email for a while, just ask if a response is still needed
  • The “I don’t know” – if you don’t know, don’t fake it. Just say you don’t know and maybe recommend someone who does
  • Delete – if you haven’t responded to an email in a fortnight, reply or delete NOW.

Life Hacker
Lifehacker is a blog that covers tips and tricks for streamlining your life with computers (and sometimes without). It’s updated several times daily and points out software downloads, web sites, do-it-yourself projects, how-to’s, tutorials, shortcuts and tips for going beyond the default settings and getting things done in the most clever, unexpected and efficient ways. It’s like “self-help for geeks”.
Some of the topics posted recently include:

  • How to use the headphone jack on airplanes to power your iPod or Gameboy or other gadgets
  • The etiquette of borrowing (suggests not to borrow expensive equipment, just in case something goes wrong)
  • Flight Simulator in Google Earth 4.2 – “…the latest version of Google Earth… quietly got a fabulous new flight simulator which flies a virtual airplane… from an airport and runway of your choice.
  • Boost your home WiFi signal with a homemade signal extender

If you have a good “life hack” you can send an email with a link to your product or website to [email protected]. A link and a one to two line description will suffice.

Custom South Parks
The site is intended to give South Park fans a chance to have some fun by making their own custom cartoon. There’s a stage at the top of the homepage which hosts a flash program that allows you to build and save your very own Custom South Park! You can change hair, glasses, clothes, etc. As well as alter sizes and shapes, so if you have some artistic skill, you make them to look like you or people you know. You can save the image, or embed it in your MySpace page. You can also add a talk bubble.