Tag Archives: books

Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

I’m a “closet” designer. In this Monday’s Link Roundup I’ve posted a treat for other designer “wannabees”. Be sure to check out The Designer Says: The Collected Quips and Wisdom of Famous Graphic Designers. And if you’re concerned about the democratization of criticism in the Internet Age, be sure to read Star Wars. Do we still need experts and critical authority? I think we do.

  • The Internet dilemma: Do people have a right to be forgotten? “Human forgetting actually performs a very important function for us individually as well as for society,” Prof. Mayer-Schönberger says. “It lets us act and think in the present rather than be tethered to an ever-more-comprehensive past. The beauty of the human mind and human forgetting is that, as we forget, we’re able to generalize, to abstract, to see the forest rather than the individual tree. And if we cannot forget, then all we will have are the individual trees to go by.”
  • The History of Typography. “The history of typography, in a stop-motion animation made of 291 cut-paper letters and 2,454 photographs. Pair with a peek inside the sketchbooks of the world’s best type designers and 10 essential books on typography.” [Thanks to my friend Bill Gough for alerting me to this item.]
  • Is It Time to Reset Your Marketing Plan? “Is your marketing plan producing the results you need? When was the last time you evaluated your plan to see if it is leading you toward success? Are you even using a marketing plan at all? Here are four questions to help you determine whether it’s time to reset your plan.”
  • Star Wars. “…there are complications with this idea that the Internet has obviated the need for experts and for critical authority. One question is what is happening to criticism itself when the evaluative architecture on a site such as Amazon is the same for leaf blowers as it is literature, when everything seems to be quantifying one’s hedonic response to a consumption activity; when we are forced into a ruthless dyad of thumbing up or thumbing down, or channeled into expressing a simple “liking” for something when the actual response may be more complex.”
  • The Designer Says: The Collected Quips and Wisdom of Famous Graphic Designers. “On the heels of last year’s tiny gem The Architect Says comes The Designer Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom (public library) — a charming, similarly-spirited compendium of more than one hundred beautifully typeset remarks by some of today’s and yesteryear’s most celebrated graphic design minds, including favorites like Saul Bass, Charles Eames, Debbie Millman, Milton Glaser, Louise Fili, Paula Scher, and Maira Kalman.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

For first time visitors to my  Monday’s Link Roundup, welcome. This is an eclectic list that features articles I find engaging, whimsical, and educational.  And I hope of interest to other personal historians, biographers, videographers, family historians, and memoir writers. Enjoy!

  • What Is the Business of Literature? “As technology disrupts the business model of traditional publishers, the industry must imagine new ways of capturing the value of a book.”
  • 7 Ways to Summon the Courage to Say “No”. “What do you do when a freelancing project just isn’t right for you? Do you turn it down, or do you take it anyway? Most freelancers already understand that they should say “no” to some clients. But often we freelancers just keep on saying “yes” when we know that we shouldn’t.”
  • Why You Should Fire Yourself. “What would you do if you discovered that the secret to your success online lay in firing yourself? Would you do it? That’s the question Alex, a freelance copywriter, had to face.”
  • Hey, at Least You Can Be Virtually Immortal. “NO one will confuse typical retirees today with the Emperor Augustus, who constructed a huge mausoleum to celebrate his life for eternity. And yet they belong to the first generation of elders within easy grasp of something once so rare and valuable that relatively few historic figures could enjoy it until now: virtual immortality.”
  • The Best Ways to Be Sure You’re Legally Using Online Photos. “Using images in our online work is crucial. It’s a visual medium and how better to tell your story or draw in your audience than with a compelling photo? But while some may be flattered you’re using a photo they took or image they created, most are not. Besides all the SEO and search-engine ranking reasons, using someone else’s work without their permission is not only wrong but also may be illegal.”
  • Getting Media Coverage: 5 Things You Need To Know. “Any publicity is good publicity, the saying goes, which makes free publicity even better. A mention in a magazine or buzz on a blog can put your company on the map and help boost sales, in most cases, without costing you a dime. But how do you get on journalists’ radar screens?”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

In this Monday’s Link Roundup there’s some practical advice. If you’re considering offering clients a newsletter, you’ll want to read The Benefits of Offering an Email Newsletter for a Freelancer.  For eBook publishing don’t miss eBook Formatting: Possibilities and Limitations. And if you’re struggling to attract clients, then you’ll want to take a look at The 6 Fundamentals of Client Building.

  • A U.S. History of People with Disabilities. “A Disability History of the United States pulls from primary-source documents and social histories to retell American history through the eyes, words, and impressions of the people who lived it. Throughout the book, Nielsen deftly illustrates how concepts of disability have deeply shaped the American experience—from deciding who was allowed to immigrate to establishing labor laws and justifying slavery and gender discrimination.”
  • Adorable Miniature Houses Built of Books. “Ever wish you could live inside a book? Well, you can’t quite live in Dutch artist Frank Halmans’s stacked vintage book houses, but you can tell he’s had the same idea. The works in Halmans’s series Built of Books, which we recently spotted over at My Modern Met, are adorable odes to the worlds created by literature — complete with windows and doors to see through. Take a vacation in some tiny book homes after the jump, and then be sure to head on over to Halmans’s website to check out more of his work.”
  • eBook Formatting: Possibilities and Limitations. “While we are well into the eBook revolution–far enough in so that it’s pretty safe to say eBooks and eReaders are not a fad and have become a permanent disruption to print books–there are still significant limitations on how eBooks can be presented to the reader.”
  • The 6 Fundamentals of Client Building. “The kind of influence needed to acquire clients doesn’t require money or status. Social psychologist Robert Cialdini has pinpointed six key elements of influence or persuasion. We all use them. Once they’re on your radar, you’ll spot them everywhere. You can apply them to make a connection, strengthen a bond, stand out, or even navigate tricky situations.”
  • The Benefits of Offering an Email Newsletter for a Freelancer. “Email may be a fifty-year-old technology, but it’s still an incredibly useful marketing tool. Billions of people use it not only for communication, but to subscribe to news and other information. It’s incredibly inexpensive to create and send, especially compared to other types of marketing. Done correctly, email can help you build a close relationship with your clients so that they’re willing to trust you with more freelance work on a regular basis.”
  • See your Family Tree in 3 Dimensions! “Progeny 3D Family Tree™ is the only program that can display your family tree in 3 dimensions. The 3D Family Tree gives you a whole new insight into your roots. 3D Family Tree builds pedigree and descendant trees in three dimensions. Photos of your relatives really make the tree come alive.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

In this Monday’s Link Roundup don’t miss Should you work for free? It looks at what it means to do the work of a professional and the difference between that and the work that goes into a hobby.  If you’re concerned about the proliferation of digital gadgets in our lives, then you’ll want to read Cyborg dreams. It examines the dangers inherent in the magic of new technologies.

  • Getting Over Your Self-Promotion Phobia. “…here are a few tips to help you nip your fear of self-promotion in the bud. When you overcome the perceived horrors of doing so, you will likely find that your business grows–and that self-promotion isn’t so bad after all. You may even grow to love it!”
  • 10½ Favorite Reads from TED Bookstore 2013. “I had the honor of curating a selection of books for the TED Bookstore at TED 2013, themed The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered. Below are this year’s picks, along with the original text that appears on the bookstore cards and the introductory blurb about the selection:”
  • Should you work for free? “Work is what you do as a professional, when you make a promise that involves rigor and labor (physical and emotional) and risk. Work is showing up at the appointed time, whether or not you feel like it. Work is creating value on demand, and work (for the artist) means putting all of it (or most of it) on the line. So it’s not work when you indulge your hobby and paint an oil landscape, but it’s work when you agree to paint someone’s house by next week. And it’s not work when you cook dinner for friends, but it’s work when you’re a sous chef on the line on Saturday night.”
  • The Ghost in the Gulfstream. “Tapped by the late billionaire entrepreneur Theodore Forstmann to ghostwrite his autobiography, in 2010, the author found himself jetting off to Paris and London on Forstmann’s Gulfstream while the then chairman of IMG told tales of his legendary career as private-equity pioneer, philanthropist, and playboy. It was only when Rich Cohen sat down to actually write the book that the trouble began: an emotional tug-of-war that mirrored a central conflict in Forstmann’s life.”
  • Cyborg dreams. “Digital gadgets are the first thing we touch in the morning, and the last thing we stroke at night. Are we slaves to their magic?”
  • ‘Licking the Spoon’ by Candace Walsh. “…is a gastro-journey to self-discovery. It begins with a short family history, because Walsh’s family is instrumental in her life and cooking. Then it moves from her birth through her growing up on Long Island, her college years in Buffalo, her early twenties in New York City, her first marriage, divorce, and more. Through it all, Walsh narrates her life alongside the food that inspired and sustained her—from cookies baked at her mother’s side to thrifty split pea soup to “dinners of the defeated” to bacon-wrapped eggs with polenta. It’s a clever concept, and there is much to savor within these pages.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

In today’s Monday’s Link Roundup, don’t miss Going through ‘treasures’ at my childhood home. If you’ve ever wondered why you’ve held on to your High School Yearbooks all these years, this is the article for you. And if you’ve wondered why the need for a good editor, be sure to read 7 Deadly Myths and 3 Inspired Truths About Book Editing.

  • How to Use LinkedIn to Your Best Advantage. “While I don’t actively think about it, I do have goals for how I use LinkedIn. As a consultant, I want to be sure that prospective clients can find me. I have also used the site to ensure that potential employers or recruiters can find me, as well as to find employees or partners. I want to be seen as knowledgeable in my area of expertise, and connected both geographically and in my profession (digital content strategy)…Here are my recommendations about how to use LinkedIn to your best advantage.”
  • Going through ‘treasures’ at my childhood home. “It struck me that I had kept all these boxes so that one day – this day, the day we cleaned out the crawl space – an older me could look through them and be reminded of who I had been. The boxes held examples of what I had valued and thought important enough to keep. They were signifiers of phases of my life, souvenirs from years past.”
  • Going In-Depth. “…is the free digital genealogy magazine presented by The In-Depth Genealogist. In each monthly issue, you’ll find guest articles, regular columns, and free resources such as Ask Ephraim and MIAA to help you along your family history journey. As with all IDG products, we strive to create a resource for every genealogist, no matter the age, stage, or focus of your research. Enjoy a new issue on the 15th of each month.”
  • 7 Deadly Myths and 3 Inspired Truths About Book Editing. “I’ve edited lots of books — children’s books, fantasy, memoirs, self-help, textbooks, and especially books about myths. Myths? I like myths. Heck, I love myths… If we’re talking about myths in the more negative sense of “untruths,” however, I like them less — especially if they’re myths about my profession and vocation.There’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about editors and what they do. Here are seven of those myths that I’d like to clean up:”
  • The Essentials of Web Design That Works. “Our sites are created for human interaction. And we human beings — for all our splendiferous variety — share some universal behaviors, no matter where we’re from. As publishers to the open web, we ignore these behaviors at our peril. What are they? I thought you’d never ask. Here are a handful of essentials for designing websites that humans want to read …”

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Are Your Clients Getting Too Little?

too little

Recently I was reading an article by marketing provocateur Seth Godin. In his usual challenging manner he hit the nail on the head.

” The hard part isn’t charging a lot. The hard part is delivering more (in the eye of the recipient) than he paid for…Too often, in the race to charge less, we deliver too little. And in the race to charge more, we forget what it is that people want. They want more. And better.”

This got me thinking.  A personal history book or video is a big ticket item for most clients. So what can we do to demonstrate that our clients will get get more than they expected?

Here are some ideas that come to mind:

Emphasize the lasting value of A life story.

When you have an initial conversation with a potential client, use  words such as investment rather than cost, legacy rather than personal history, gift instead of book or video.

I sometimes use a new car analogy. I point out that as soon as you drive a car off the lot, it begins to depreciate. On the other hand, a Life Story appreciates over time. You can’t say that about many things.

Use your professional qualifications.

It’s true that “Cousin George” can probably do the book for half the price. But does he have the experience and professional background to do a first-class job?

When people hire me, they know that not only are they getting an experienced professional personal historian but also a former award-winning documentary filmmaker. My work will be better than “Cousin George’s”.  At least I hope so. ;-)

Look for ways you can make your qualifications stand out.

Give your client more than just a book.

There are a number of ways to add  extras.

  • Include a set of audio CDs of your interviews.
  • Provide a poster size duplication of the book cover.
  • Give a subscription to a a family history magazine.
  • Reproduce a treasured archival photo from the book and have it framed.
  • Organize a launch party for friends and family after the book’s publication.

Find those little extras that add more value to your work.

Emphasize the superior quality of your books.

Have one of your beautiful personal history books to showcase your work. The quality will speak for itself. Point out the exceptional archival paper stock and inks that are used.  Acquaint clients with the  outstanding design elements.

You want to convey the message that these are “Legacy” books that will last for generations.

stress the  good feelings that come with a personal history book or video.

What clients may not appreciate are the positive feelings that arise with personal histories. It’s not just a book or video.

Parents and children talk about feeling closer to each other after engaging in a life story. Parents are touched by the thoughtfulness of their children undertaking such an endeavor. Still other recipients of a personal history find a new appreciation for their life accomplishments.

A personal history is  a connection to the soul.

What are some of the ways that you exceed your client’s expectations?

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Image by iStockphoto

Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

On the eve of a new year, my wish is that 2013 brings you much happiness and peace.

This is the last of Monday’s Link Roundup for 2012. Don’t miss A vested interest in palimpsest. I must confess I didn’t know what palimpsest meant. Now I can’t wait to use it. ;-) For another wonderful word to add to your vocabulary, check out 19 Regional Words All Americans Should Adopt Immediately. There you’ll find out  what whoopensocker means.

  • Biographies That Defy Expectations. “This year brought us some brilliant biographies of world-famous leaders .., but this list focuses on books that chronicle the lives of some true originals from many different walks of life…the subjects of these biographies spent most of their lives well off the beaten path and gained fame for their stubborn refusal to conform to other people’s expectations. You could say the same thing about the biographers. These books are written with extraordinary style and originality, by masters of the craft who can spin a tale as adroitly and memorably as any novelist out there.”
  • 12 communication basics everyone should know. “You know that saying about not getting a second chance to make a good first impression when you meet someone? Well, when you’re communicating with someone, especially if it’s electronically or by phone, you get even less slack—particularly when it’s for work. That’s when lost opportunities can have bottom-line consequences. If you want the prospect to open your email, the client to return your call, or the journalist to read your pitch, you’ve got to communicate impeccably. Here are some of my favorite basics:”
  • 19 Regional Words All Americans Should Adopt Immediately. “When traveling across the United States, it sometimes feels like the locals are speaking a whole different language. That’s where the Dictionary of American Regional English comes to the rescue. The last installment of this staggering five-volume tome, edited by Joan Houston Hall, was published last month, and let me tell you, it’s a whoopensocker. In celebration of slang, here’s a list of 19 delightful obscure words from around the U.S. that you’ll want to start working into conversation.”
  • I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why. “If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.”
  • Reading Habits by Place. “The latest survey from The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project focuses on how residents of different communities (ie: urban, suburban, rural) read and use reading-related technology and institutions.”
  • A vested interest in palimpsest. “The English language contains certain meaning-rich words that command attention and stir controversy. “Paradigm,” for instance: When Thomas Kuhn used it in 1966 to describe accepted scientific theories, and gave us the phrase “paradigm shift,” he launched a thousand articles, several hundred books and quite a few careers, some just distantly related to science.That kind of word raises curiosity and pries open the imagination, encouraging us to think about what we might otherwise ignore. My favourite is “palimpsest.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup there’s so much good stuff to choose from. As a closet designer, I was particularly drawn to The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design.  This is a must on every designer’s wish list. As someone who volunteers at our local Hospice, I was deeply moved by Hospice Hand Portraiture.  And if your business involves the gathering or tellingof stories, you’ll want to read Telling Your Story: The Secrets To Content Branding.

  • People Of The Bookshelf. “Alpha by subject … or by dinner party seating rules? Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks on a shelving obsession.”
  • Are You Overwhelmed by Marketing? “Does it seem like there are just too many things to do to market your business? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by marketing ideas, plans, and tasks, especially when many of them involve learning new skills. And then people are always telling you about something else to do. But you’re only one person. You can only afford to pay for so much help. Is it really even possible to do everything about marketing that others say you should? Here are four steps to find a clear path out of marketing overwhelm.”
  • Hospice Hand Portraiture. “As a hospice nurse and photographer I have the honor to witness and capture the unwavering expression of love that endures between people living with terminal illness… Hand portraiture preserves this important expression of love. Each hand is different; a symbol of identity that embodies character and tells stories. Hands reveal honest emotion. Hands are for holding.”
  • The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design. “Every once in a while, along comes a book-as-artifact that becomes an instant, inextricable necessity in the life of any graphic design aficionado. This season, it’s The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design — an impressive, exhaustive, rigorously researched, and beautifully produced compendium of 500 seminal designs…”
  • Mary Karr, The Art of Memoir No. 1.[Paris Review Interview] The Liars’ Club, Karr’s 1995 memoir of her Gothic childhood in a swampy East Texas oil-refining town, won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction, sold half a million copies, and made its forty-year-old author, who was then an obscure poet, a literary celebrity…For a writer who has shared herself with the public in three memoirs, Mary Karr is an extraordinarily elusive interview subject. Nearly two years passed between our initial contact, in July of 2007, and our first session.” [Thanks to Pat McNees of Writers and Editors for alerting me to this aerticle.]
  • 9 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The English Language. “I’ve riffled the pages of scores of old dictionaries and ransacked my father’s old army trunks, which now contain hundreds of my journals and notebooks. More than once during my restocking I’ve thought of the startling line in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, where Captain Hook is described: “The man isn’t wholly evil; he has a thesaurus in his cabin.” Recently, I felt even more vindicated about my ardent belief in the beauty of word books when I heard the deadpan comedian Stephen Wright say on late-night television, “I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.”
  • Telling Your Story: The Secrets To Content Branding. “Facts are boring but putting facts into a context with emotion makes them memorable. Stories help you connect with people on a sensory level…The late Steve Sabol, the man behind NFL Films, once said “tell me a fact and I’ll learn, tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

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The Best of Monday’s Link Roundup Videos.

Here are some favorite videos drawn from my weekly Monday’s Link Roundup over the past year.  If you didn’t watch them the first time, now’s your chance to see what you missed. Enjoy!

  • Life in 4,748 Self-Portraits.[Video] “It started simply enough in 1999. Jeff Harris, a photographer based in Toronto, took his first self-portrait, something he has since repeated every day. His visual diary now amounts to 4,748 photos and they tell a very personal story.”
  • The Secret Bookstore. [Video] “Watch this beautiful video about Brazenhead Books, a secret bookstore that’s been tucked away in Michael Seidenberg’s apartment on the Upper East Side ever since the rent for his original retail space in Brooklyn was quadrupled.”
  • How Film Was Made: A Kodak Nostalgia Moment. [Video] “Before pixels there were silver halide crystals, and before memory cards, film. Little yellow boxes cluttered the lives of photographers everywhere, and the Eastman Kodak Company was virtually synonymous with photography…To indulge this nostalgia–and perhaps learn something new about an old technology–we offer a fascinating 1958 documentary from Kodak entitled How Film is Made.”
  • In ‘Pilgrimage,’ Leibovitz Explores Portraits Without People. [PBS video]“Known for portraits of celebrities and musicians, Annie Leibovitz has given herself a new assignment: capture striking landscapes and visit the homes of iconic figures to document significant items from their past. Jeffrey Brown and Leibovitz discuss her “Pilgrimage” book and exhibition at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum.”
  • This Is My Home: Inside Anthony’s Parlor of Curiosities. [Video]“…a friend and I were strolling down a street in the East Village when we stumbled upon a whimsical place — a kind of curiosities parlor that stretched, narrow and full of unusual objects and private memories, from the street site of the building to the backyard. Inside it was Anthony Pisano … We, it turns out, we not the only ones mesmerized by Anthony’s curiosities and unusual lens on the world. This Is My Home by filmmakers Kelsey Holtaway and Mark Cersosimo is a beautiful short film, in the vein of This Must Be The Place, that captures Anthony’s singular character through the contents of his home and his heart.”
  • Print in Motion Winner: Medusa in Fragments. [Video]“With so much stunning work being produced in the world of motion graphics these days, we wanted to invite the field’s artists to show off a bit. And so Print in Motion was born. We approached the competition with no real parameters other than to feature the most interesting and innovative work we could find, and to build a forum for designers eager to see—and be inspired by—what their peers are doing.We received many worthy entries, but eventually we whittled them down to 10 standouts, starting with this great piece titled Medusa in Fragments.”
  • The Birth and Decline of a Book: Two Videos for Bibliophiles. [Video] “Why Do Old Books Smell? Produced by Abe’s Books, and drawing on research from chemists at University College, London, this video looks at the science behind the aroma of used books…When you’re done watching the video, you might want to spend time with a second clip that deals with another part of the lifecycle of the book — the birth of a book. Shot by Glen Milner at Smith-Settle Printers in Leeds, England, this short film lets you watch firsthand a book — Suzanne St Albans’ Mango and Mimosa – being made with old school printing methods. Enjoy.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup don’t miss Can a photograph be true or false? It’s a a thought-provoking  interview with filmmaker Errol Morris. And if you want to improve your website’s credibility, and who doesn’t,  check out How to Improve Your Website Trust Factor.

  • The Ultimate History Project. “In recent years, an academic job crisis has led many highly trained historians to leave their profession.  The Ultimate History Project draws on the skills of many of these scholars, providing them with an opportunity to publish and promote their scholarship.  The Ultimate History Project also encourages faculty members to write for the general public and it provides a forum for academically trained historians to work alongside avid genealogists, independent historians, and collectors, enabling them all to collaborate and learn from one another.” [Thanks to Francie King of History Keep for alerting me to this item.]
  • Dead Again. “Two decades ago, the Book Review ran an essay, “The End of Books,” in which the novelist Robert Coover questioned whether print could survive the age of “video transmissions, cellular phones, fax machines, computer networks, and in particular out in the humming digitalized precincts of avant-garde computer hackers, cyberpunks and hyperspace freaks.” Was the book as “dead as God”? …Every generation rewrites the book’s epitaph; all that changes is the whodunit.”
  • Hints for Memoir Writers from Woody Allen. “A few months ago, I pulled a page from Bloomberg Businessweek. The article was called, “The Woody Allen School of Productivity” and the author was John Lopez. The premise was that there are valuable lessons in examining a career that has been as successful as Woody Allen’s. Between 1965 and 2012, 47 years, Allen has directed 43 films. Just about one a year…John Lopez researched Allen and came up with eight points. I’ve turned five of these into tips for memoir writers. With thanks to Lopez for this inspiration.”
  • The Last Pictures: A Time-Capsule of Humanity in 100 Images Sent into Space for Eternity. “Inspired by cave paintings, Sagan’s Golden Record, and nuclear waste warning signs, MIT artist-in-residence Trevor Paglen set out to create a collection of 100 images, commissioned by public art organization Creative Time, to be etched onto an ultra-archival, golden silicon disc and sent into orbit onboard the Echostar XVI satellite this month — at once a time-capsule of the present and a message to the future.”
  • How to Improve Your Website Trust Factor. “Is your website harming the trust and credibility of your business? Are people worried or put off when they visit you online? Could your site be working against you rather than working as a business asset? I’m sad to say that this is more common than we would like…The GOOD news is, a lot of the problem areas that cause mistrust or unease in your visitors are easy to fix. Check out these factors and see if improvements can be made in your own site:”

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