All About Images Blog

In case you missed my presentation of Preservation Is Forever at Forever Live! in Buckhead, Georgia, September 25, 2015, the complete video is now on YouTube. This presentation explains how Forever’s photo preservation services differ from other online photo services. See also The Statistics of Forever.


Starting sometime in 2016, residents of Minnesota, the U.S. territory American Samoa, and possibly other states may not be able to use their driver’s licenses as identification to fly domestically. I live in Minnesota, and I fly a lot, so this issue is a concern. Apparently the difficulty is that in 2009 Minnesota passed its own law prohibiting the state from complying with federal Real ID Act requirements. The Minnesota law was not a good idea, since it has led to the current impasse. As of November 12, 2015, Minnesota and American Samoa are the only two jurisdictions that have not complied with federal requirements or received an extension.

The Real ID Act has two basic requirements:

  • Establishes minimum standards for the production and issuance of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and authorizes grants to assist states in implementing the requirements;
  • Prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official uses driver’s licenses and identity cards from states unless the Department of Homeland Security determines that the state meets the standards. Official uses are defined as accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding federally-regulated commercial aircraft.

Apparently, Minnesota fails somewhere in the minimum standards for production and issuance of state-issued driver’s licenses.

If something doesn’t change, Minnesota’s airports will be Real Chaos when the federal government decides to enforce Real ID requirements. It’s time for the state to gets its act together.

See REAL ID worries for Minnesota driver’s licenses about to get real,  Will Minnesotans really need a new ID to fly by 2016?, and Minnesota driver’s licenses soon might not be valid for airport security for more details.


pH seems like a simple concept but it’s actually relatively complicated. Let’s correct some misunderstandings that I have seen recently.

  1. There is nothing magical about a pH of 7. pH 7.0 is generally defined as neutral; however that doesn’t mean there is something drastically wrong at a pH of 6.9 or 7.1. All pH measurements have some error in them – typically 0.1 to 0.2 pH units. Because of buffering, many relatively safe materials have a pH somewhat above 7, with a pH range of 7.0 to 9.5 generally recognized as safe.
  2. pH is not limited to values between 0 and 14. I had a discussion with my son’s science teacher about this misconception. pH is a logarithmic scale and as such is not inherently limited to a specific value range. pH can extend below zero and above 14, although the majority of common materials do fall within this range. Highly acidic hot springs near Ebeko volcano have an estimated pH of -1.7 and at the other end of the scale, a saturated base solution has a pH of about 15. (See Negative pH Does Exist.)
  3. Buffered paper is fine for color photographs. The recommendation to avoid buffered paper with color photographs crept into some early photographic standards for no clear reason, and well meaning writers have continue to repeat it. In fact buffered paper is safer than non-buffered for all materials since it protects against acids that may be present in the air.

Our Promise - CM_20151110-1

By creating a whole new class of literature, pseudofiction, Creative Memories clinched the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.  As dramatized in the short story, Our Promise, Creative Memories has made historically accurate information fictional by implying that information was true long after that ceased to be the case.

In this story, Creative Memories uses a time traveling accelerated aging chamber to go back in time to conduct product tests with equipment they no longer own. They also try to stop the digital photography revolution from taking place, but that proved impossible since the driving force for digital was just to strong. In conversations with this author, Creative Memories President Mark Lerud indicated that he was trying to create an alternate reality where everyone used traditional scrapbook photo albums and no one made digital photo books.

Lerud also stated that he might spend the $15,000 prize that comes with the PEN/Faulkner Award on product testing and that he was looking forward to reading excerpts from Creative Memories material at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC later this month.

The original story, Our Promise, is also available in PDF Format.

November 12, 2015: Creative Memories cannot do extreme temperature testing, adhesive bleed tests, Sutherland rub, seem strength tests, slot strength, and material identification. They sold their environmental chambers and do not have the MTS tester shown in product and process testing. Some of the other tests and equipment I am not sure about.

No one except CM can conduct seem strength and slot strength tests since Creative Memories manufactures these products. Also, adhesive tests require the adhesive and CM paper, so they cannot be conducted by anyone else. CM’s wording in every section is “Specific tests we conduct include:” It does not say “specific tests conducted by others.” I just want CM to be honest about what they are doing. It’s the same standard I hold all companies to.


Even a world-class organization can underperform or fail. If I had to make one conclusion  based on empirical evidence, it is that more than 90% of the reason even a good business underperforms or fails is due to a failure in leadership.

For example the Mercedes S600 is one of the finest vehicles money can buy. If, however, you put a bad driver behind the wheel on a rainy night on a windy mountain road, you could have an accident. The same is true of organizations. Leaders are the drivers of organizations.

Ted Mara, Strategic Leadership Professor Emeritus, Cotrugli Business School, Zagreb, Croatia, Quality Progress, November 2015, p.39.

Over the past few years, we have seen a number of failures within the imaging industry, including Kodak and Creative Memories. Why did these failures happen? The answer is simple – bad leadership. It’s all too easy to blame outside factors when the real cause lies within.


In March of 2014 the Adobo Chronicles published an article on American Psychiatric Association Makes It Official: ‘Selfie a Mental Disorder.’ They also indicated that the word selfitis, the obsessive-compulsive urge to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media would be added to the Oxford Dictionaries.  This report was false, but it shouldn’t be.

The chronic obsession with selfies has killed at least 24 people this year, with more to die before year’s end. How many people must die before we recognize this disease?

Wikipedia maintains a list of  selfie-related injuries and deaths and the Russian government has published a brochure to prevent selfie deaths. The actual cause of death in these cases is quite varied, ranging from taking a photo of a live hand grenade to falling off a cliff, but the one thing these deaths have in common is the selfie.

As a partial solution, I propose that all cell phones be labelled clearly indicating the hazardous nature of this product. In addition, a selfie tax with a fee levied every time a selfie is posted to Facebook would discourage this dangerous behavior. Banning selfies and confiscating camera phones is probably not possible.

What do you think?


In 2006 a pair of mathematicians, Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization, determined the number of photos you needed to take of a group to ensure that one photo had everyone’s eyes open.They even won an Ig Nobel Prize in Mathematics for their work.

Severson and Barnes combined the average frequency and time of blinking with some basic statistics. It turns out the for groups less than 20, divide the number of people by three in normal light, or two in low light. So, the next time you are taking photos of a group, take a few extra photos and there is a good chance that one of them will have everyone’s eyes open.

For the more details on this calculation see Blink-free Photos Guaranteed.


All opinions expressed in this blog are mine, not HID Global's.

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