Featured on letstravelsomewhere.com

featured-letstravelsomewhere

Wuhoo! A couple of months ago, I shot some photos at the Deira Fish Market and they just got featured on one of my favourite photography sites: letstravelsomewhere.com

Video: Crying monkey in Singapore


This was taken outside a toy store on a recent trip to Singapore

 

Clean as a whistle

Clean as a whistle is a minimalistic wordpress theme designed to show off your content. It adds focus to your text and images, is easy to use,  has a couple of options you can customize and is absolutely free to download and install. After the success of “White as milk“, this theme uses a newer web framework that should make updating and customising these theme a whole lot easier.

After you install the theme, you can go to Appearance > Theme options to tweak the theme. If you find any bugs or have comments about the theme, please let me know.

Download “Clean as a whistle”

Exif info on photos

I’ve recently got a couple of people asking me what settings I used to take certain photos. In response, on every individual photo page, I’ve added a link under the photo called “exif info” which should provide you with things like the ISO, focal length and aperture I used for that photo.

 

Book review: Delivering Happiness

I just finished reading “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh, who is the CEO of Zappos.com. Although Tony did write this book, there are a lot personal excerpts from others who have worked for Zappos over the years. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a lot from this book, but I was very interested in seeing what made Amazon acquire Zappos for in an all-stock deal worth $1.2 billion in 2009.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the book is that its a very easy read. Tony breaks down most of the vocabulary down to layman’s terms and since most of the book involves personal stories and experiences, there aren’t a lot of technical verbiage anyway to confuse users. As he mentions in the book, this book was designed to be read by fellow Zappos employees, vendors and customers.

The title of the book is very apt for this book, as it deals a lot with what Tony and his team have done to achieve true happiness in the workplace. He not only focused on how to achieve happiness with his employees in the company and also their vendors, but also with their customers by focusing a large part of their company strategy on customer support. If you’re someone looking for ideas to achieve true happiness and bliss, I strongly recommend you pick this book.

Road Inc.

Road Inc is a must have app if you own an iPad. Its an app thats sort of like an interactive coffee table book that showcases classic cars. You download tours of individual cars which includes a 360 degree view and a brief history about the car. A definite must have for any car enthusiast with an iPad.

 

Moving to the cloud for music

I’ve recently made the drastic change of using cloud services for my music. I started by deleting all my music off my computer and resorted to using Rdio and SoundCloud to listen to my music. Rdio makes listening to music unbelievably easy with its massive library and easy to use interface. I pay a flat monthly fee to access their entire music collection. Rdio also has an awesome mobile app that lets me create playlists and listen to them when offline or stream directly from the Rdio service. Rdio even has some excellent social features thats lets me know what my friends are listening to and it also lets us collaborate on playlists and share music we like.

SoundCloud is another service I find myself using more frequently as more music artists use this service to share and crowdsource their music. Mainstream artists like Madonna, Beyoncé and Rihanna are also using Soundcloud to share popular tracks and showcase new exclusive tracks to their fans before releasing it. SoundCloud also has a very unique player that lets you add comments to any part of the track.

Its a bit scary too think we’re becoming so dependent on cloud services, in this case, to listen to music. But the convenience it adds is completely worth it especially when you have apps like Rdio and SoundCloud. With apps like Netflix and Hulu, I don’t think it will be too far along before watching movies and tv shows exclusively online will be a standard.

Punch in Adobe Lightroom

One of my favorite applications that I use all the time is Adobe Lightroom. After trying out almost every popular photo-managment software including iPhoto, Picasa and Aperture, it was pretty obvious that Lightroom was the robust choice to handle my 60GB+ worth of photos. One of the coolest features I like about Lightroom is that you can buy and download Lightroom presets. These presets can be programmed to do anything from converting a photo to black-and-white, removing grain and dust or just enhancing and sharpening dull or darkened photos, all with a single click. You can find a few presets on The Bell Sisters website.

The one preset that I love the most and probably use on almost all my photos is “Punch”. Its a default preset that comes with Lightroom and can be found towards the bottom of the Lightroom presets list. Punch basically takes any photo you give it, and bumps the “Clarity” level on the photo by 50 points and the “Vibrance” level by 25 points. This removes some of the dullness or gray-ness of the photo that you might have inherited especially if you have shots taken in a cloudy environment and makes it, in my opinion, the easiest way to cleanup a photo.

 

Books I’ve been reading – Nov ’10

I’ve been trying to read more lately. After a few recommendations, I’ve managed to pick up quite a few books this month to add to my reading list.

Ten Grand

Microsoft is using a ridiculous marketing tactic to get people to download and use their latest trainwreck web browser, Internet Explorer 8. They’ve created this campaign where you use Internet Explorer 8 and follow a twitter user to get clues to where this ten grand could be.

We’ve buried $10,000 somewhere on the Internet
and if you’re the first one to find it, you get to keep it.
But you’ll never find it using old Firefox.
(So get rid of it, or get lost)

Suuuuure, Firefox is old alright. And apparently IE 8 is a lot better than we all thought.

What’s even better? Someone who works for Firefox, created a website called TenGrandIsBuriedThere.com which is basically a Google map with a crop circle of the Firefox logo that you’ll see if you zoom in enough. Some nice marketing for Firefox.

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