February 14, 2006
Well kids, Saltydog has a job -- a real job. Hence the lack of activity on this page. I've been trying to figure out a good use for this site since I'm not actively soliciting freelance work (though I'm not turning it down, either). I may devote this space to relating the wisdom I've gathered in my years of graphics work. To that end, here's a Lightwave rendering tip for anyone listening: if you have a lot of expensive frames to render, start with the even or odd frames. This will give you a rough idea of your work without having to devote the entire render time to it. You can go a step further and render every third, fourth, or fifth frame. Once you have completed these, compile your animation (you render animations as tiffs, right?), examine it, and then start the frames you skipped.
April 5, 2005
March 22, 2005
Well, the index page of this site mysteriously disappeared, and I lost all of my wise ramblings of the past year. C'est la vie!
June 4, 2004
Practically every electronic device in my house beeps at the same pitch (a very, very high B) I can understand that the manufacturers probably use standardized chips, but altering the pitch couldn't be that difficult, could it?
All I know is that everytime I hear a beeping in my house I can't know for sure if it's the phone, the microwave, the oven, or one of my daughter's toys.
May 6, 2004
More on MLB's poorly considered Spiderman ads. There have been a bunch of great columns out since this announcement, my favorites being King Kaufman's piece on Salon and Rob Neyer's take on ESPN. There have also been some real nitwit pieces out there, such as this Seth Jayson tripe from The Motley Fool, which concludes thus: "Sony, Marvel, and baseball have the same goal: putting butts in seats. This deal, enhanced by the media-generated controversy, will help do that, and it will be good for all three."
Surely Mr. Jayson is not dumb enough to believe that people are going to go to baseball games because there are Spiderman ads on the bases. And that, really, is the crux. This deal is more money for team owners, advertising for a doofy popcorn movie, but it's of no real value to baseball fans, and, in my opinion, breaks down the only significant barrier to advertising left in the game.
One more thing. Speaking to this issue, MLB's senior vice-president of advertising said this: "One thing that came out of the research is that we have a huge opportunity with kids, to bring them into the game. We needed to engage them in relevant and meaningful ways..."
Well, judging by the hour at which the World Series is televised, my guess is that they really only care about kids to the extent that they can earn a few extra bucks.
It's sad that our national pasttime is in the hands of people like this.
May 5, 2004
This just in: Major League Baseball is putting ads for Spiderman 2 on its bases. I don't know about you, but this just makes my blood boil. Isn't it enough that we've had to put up with ads on every vertical surface of every ballpark in America, now we have to look at ads on the horizontal surfaces as well? Advertisers have already co-opted nearly every meta aspect of the game, from the names of the parks to the lineup announcements on television. How much money exchanged hands to bring us the idiocy which is the "Rolaids Relief Man?" But between the chalk lines, it's always been about baseball. What you see down there on the field is, and should be, the same everywhere at all times among all skill levels and age groups. The only purity left in the game is the purity of the game.
But no longer.
As a rabid baseball fan, I find this sickening. Why is it, exactly, that when discussing issues of baseball economics, observers always talk about the players and the owners, as though that's where all the economic interests of baseball lay. What about fans? Fans constitute the largest group by population, and probably the richest in aggregate. Yet fans are the least powerful. Where is the fan representative when the Players' Association meets with the owners to discuss their new collective bargaining agreement? Yeah, that's right: at home on the couch like the rest of us.
And so is it any wonder that this is what we get? Prices continue to rise, broadcast availability of games declines, and premium cable deals continue to rise. In other words, if you want to watch the game, you've got to pay and pay and pay. And what do we get for our extra dollar? If Ford jacks up the cost of their cars by 10%, they can at least point to new technology or leather seats or something. But Major League Baseball has improved the fan experience how? Can anyone say steroid scandal?
So, since they can only squeeze so much cash out of fans, the Bud Selig brain trust has decided to sell off the field to the highest bidder. Well, I say it's not their right. The field doesn't belong to them. It's a collective property that exists for the benefit of all, like the airwaves.
Write your Congressman. Remind him that as your elected representative, he's got a duty to beat Bud Selig with his precious antitrust exemption until he begs for mercy.
May 2, 2004
Major usability issue: A website should always be clear at least about where you are, if not where you've been. At last I was able to find 5 spare minutes to make my own site follow this well-known rule, albeit in kind of a hacky manner. Maybe next weekend I'll pull out the power tools and do it right.
April 24, 2004
So I was sifting through the United States Order of Battle today, as it occurred to me that I have no idea what unit my dad served in when he was in the Army, and I thought maybe I could figure it out by gazing thoughtfully at a long list of inexplicably numbered organizations. Bear with me here -- this is not about the vaunted history of the 82nd Airborne.
Well, after staring at this list for a while I suddenly became aware that the unit names were links to the webpages of said organizations. I clicked on the link to the 4th Infantry Division, and my eyes were instantaneously burned out of my head. I'll probably be put to death by the Ashcroft Gestapo for saying this, but I really can't imagine that an organization as large and professional as the 4th Infantry Division could have as its website something so amateurish.
I had originally thought of posting a detailed critique of the site, but about halfway through it I started feeling pretty guilty. The guy who made the site is probably really proud of it, and he's probably out in the desert somewhere right now getting his limbs blown off. Taking such an obviously bad site apart piece by piece seemed a bit cheap to me. It's the 4th Infantry Division after all, not the 4th Web Design Division.
Still, though, I have to wonder. The guy who designs all the unit insignias is obviously a professional -- they convey a lot of information quickly and succinctly, and frankly, that's not easy to do. So why is the website such a disaster?
If you spend some time looking at the various websites, you'll notice that many of them look as bad or worse than the 4ID site (I was especially amused by the 38th Infantry, which informs the viewer, "You are the 1 visitor to our page."), but some look much, much better. Take the 24th Infantry Division, which has its issues, but was clearly designed rather than thrown together at random.
You'd think an organization like the US Army would insist on a little more uniformity, or at least a standard of quality. Go figure.
Part of me also wonders if there isn't a business opportunity here.
April 23, 2004 (or somewhere thereabouts)
Anyone actually reading this, drop me an
April 8, 2004
Site's live! Three cheers!
Addendum: Why does it seem to me that half my job consists of shoehorning things into Internet Explorer? For those of you in love with all matters technical, here's a nice tidbit. It seems that if you have a:hover defined in a stylesheet with a background-color, and you attempt to wrap an anchor around an image, rolling over said image in Internet Explorer (6.0, Windows) will cause the text flowing past it to move ever so slightly, which is ugly as sin. So, don't do it.
April 6, 2004
Boy, oh boy, do I have news for you! Well, no, actually, I don't. It's just that there's nothing quite as silly as a news page with only one entry, so here's another. As soon as this site launches, I'll start putting up real news for all you legions of slavering Saltydog junkies.
April 5, 2004
Those of you who know me know that I've been working on a super hi-fi cutting-edge site for about six months. This ain't it. The old site had to come down, as I hated it intensely, but had to have something up to show off all the work I've done over the past year. So, rest assured, the big site is still coming, but in the meantime, this is home for the dog.