All About Images Blog

unnamedThe selfie situation in Russia is even more dire than in the United States. In response to a number of deaths the Russian Interior Ministry has released Take Safe Selfies. (English translation above).

  • A teenager from the Ryazan district wanted to take a picture of himself on the rails and got caught on an electric wire. The shock made him fall off the bridge; he died on the way to the hospital.
  • A 21-year-old Moscow woman accidentally shot herself in the head with a non-lethal pistol, as she tried to take a striking selfie.
  • A 9th grade student from Moscow died while taking a selfie. He grabbed live high-voltage power lines.

The Russian brochure also warns against taking selfies while driving and boating, when on the roof, while climbing stairs, with animals, and when standing in front of an oncoming car or train.

For more on the Russian Interior Ministry’s warning, see The Russian Federation’s Guide to Taking Safer Selfies [English],  Save a Comrade’s Life With Russia’s Official Guide to Selfie Safety, and Russian Selfies Brochure.

bison_cropIt should be obvious, but apparently it is not. Please do not stand next to a bison when taking a selfie. Also avoid bears, lions, rhinoceroses and any other wild animal that can cause serious injury. You’re welcome.

For more on this story see Bison injures woman posing for selfie at Yellowstone and Stop taking selfies with bison.

HP Officejet 8100_002

HP Officejet Pro 8100 (2015)

HP Photosmart 8150

HP Photosmart 8150 (circa 2005)

I have been feeding a monster for the past ten years. This monster is an HP Photosmart 8150 inkjet printer that consumes ink cartridges with the appetite of a velociraptor. The printer still works and I am generally reluctant to replace a working product; however, in this case the reasons are compelling:

  • Speed – The HP Photosmart 8150 has the speed of a slow-moving snail.
  • Bleed- HP Photosmart 8150 inks have the water resistance of low quality construction paper when wet.
  • Economics – Newer printers offer double-sided printing at a lower cost per page.
  • Usage – The HP Photosmart 8150 is optimized for photos, and I rarely print photos at home.

I selected the HP Office Jet Pro 8100, which sells for $99.99 on sale, since it has the features I am looking for.  The printer contains starter cartridges with about half the amount of ink in a typical cartridge. When these cartridges are taken into account, the cost of the printer is actually $58.00.

For an economic analysis, let’s look at the black ink cartridge. Most pages that I print contain mostly black text, although a similar argument would also apply for color cartridges. A black cartridge for my old printer sells for $28.99 and prints 480 pages for a per page cost of $0.06 cents, while a cartridge for my new printer sells for$26.99 and prints 1000 pages for a per page cost of $0.03. The savings are a little over $0.03 per page and I can cover the $58.00 printer cost in under 2000 pages and even faster if the pages are double-sided or include color. For me, 2000 pages is six months to a year of printing. Purchase justified. Case closed.

Note: This analysis is based on HP cartridges. Low-cost aftermarket refill cartridges are available, but I choose not to use them due to concerns about poor performance (see Use third-party ink at your own risk and  WIR Testing Finds Aftermarket Inks Inferior to OEM).

Note added July 23, 2015: Does anyone want to buy a used HP Photosmart 8150?


The photo organization service Pixologie offers some interesting statistics:

  • Over half their web site visitors are men.
  • Their client base is 20-40% men.
  • Men spend 25% more than women on average.

So why do some companies in the photo industry make so little effort to market to men and in some cases go out of their way to alienate men? Here are some examples from my experience at Creative Memories:

  • Creative Memories artwork was heavily slanted toward frilly, feminine designs with pastel overtones. When completing projects I had to go out of my way to find designs that were remotely acceptable.
  • Consultant contracts and training materials were written assuming that the entire sales force was composed of women, even though that was not the case. Creative Memories had a number of successful male Consultants, including Phillip Griffith and others.
  • The company continued to focus on traditional scrapbooking products preferred by women and provided only limited options for digital products that men typically preferred. Sales conventions remained 80% digital, even after it was clear that the transition from film to digital was unstoppable.
  • Hiring practices were heavily slanted toward women. In one instance I was told not to apply for an internal opening because Creative Memories was going to fill it with a woman.

The Creative Memories that I worked for no longer exists, and their exclusive focus on women may be one of the reasons why.


Improve Photography recently compared eleven online photo vendors, rating Snapfish and Shutterfly at the bottom, even lower than Walmart. I was surprised at these results since Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Walmart are large enough that they should be able to implement proper quality control programs. I can only guess that these companies do not believe in the importance of quality.

On the other hand, Pro DPI and Nations Photo Lab were at the other end of the spectrum, receiving top ratings.

My take on this survey is that if you don’t like the quality of your photo prints, try another vendor and you may be more pleased with the results.

See 11 Online Print Labs Compared [Print Quality Test] for complete test results.


Solid state drives (SSDs) are replacing hard drives. The advantages are compelling. SSDs are faster, quieter, and use less power, since they do not rely on a spinning disk. Unfortunately, these advantages come with a drawback. They may lose data, particularly if left at high temperatures or stored without power. In some cases data may be lost in a week or less.

  • Avoid storing computers with SSDs in the heat and do not let them sit idle for long periods of time.
  • Use hard drives instead of SSDs for long term storage and be sure to backup your data.

The original presentation from Alvin Cox at Seagate is no longer available on the internet. My guess is that it was removed because someone at  Seagate, which sells SSDs, found the report inconvenient; however, the data remains available through a number of articles, including some of those listed below.


For more details on the reliability of SSDs see the following articles:

SSDs can lose data in as little as 7 days without power
Some SSDs Can Lose data After Just A Few Days In Storage
Leaving unpowered SSDs in a warm room can kill your data fast
SSDs lose data if left without power for just 7 days
Unpowered for a few days, some SSDs can begin to lose data
SSD Storage – Ignorance of Technology is No Excuse 

Note added June 6, 2015:

Alvin Cox’s original presentation is available on the WayBack Machine:

IMG_0065_cropIf you don’t like the way your dinner looks, I have the solution –  Food Mode. Switching Shooting Modes and Scene (SCN) Modes (EOS M3)-3_crop4

That’s right. Some cameras, including the Canon EOS M3, actually include a Food Mode designed to make food look more appealing. Food Mode combines close-up photography with an increase in saturation to make food look better. Unfortunately Food Mode does nothing for the taste of the food so camera makers still have work to do.



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

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