MY RANTS AND RECOLLECTIONS

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I BELIEVE IN DIVINE GUIDANCE  -  I GOT THE MESSAGE

Like Moses and the burning bush, Photography really started for me on a unique note, I call it throughout this website  “Divine Guidance”.  Someone left a plain  paper bag sitting on a park bench in the Zoo area in NYC’s Central Park.  I had mischievously become the owner of an AIRES IIIL 35 mm Rangefinder Camera, the first of the excellent Japanese clones of the Leica Rangefinder of that era. That was almost 61 years ago.

The bag even contained a roll of film, a little flashbulb fan and the manual.  I was fourteen, a junior, and was naturally, playing hooky from school. I considered this a reward for my playing hooky. 

Initiative, I had avoided the boring teachers I had in High School and went on my own learning quest visiting the great New York City Museums, of Art and History, the incredible Zoos, Libraries, and even a few college science labs I managed to sit in on.

I escaped the park stealthily taking every trail in the park not frequently used by the public,  to the subway, tripping over a few sleeping drunks and made my escape.  I was home and started reading knowing my 127 Kodak fold out camera was doomed.

A week later (my next hooky day) and I’m off to the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.  I took nice pictures of the timelines of the Dinosaurs and Cavemen exhibits at the Museum of Natural History in NYC using flashbulbs.  A tap on the shoulder told me I got busted and reported as a truant.  I was smart enough not to use my forged school passes, I was good at that, being a writer of sorts.

The Dean of the School and I had a chat, sort of, he chatted loudly, I listened.  My defense was “I was doing something to help my education, not just playing hooky because my science teachers theory that the cavemen killed the dinosaur’s, no way, scientifically distorted and inaccurate”.  And I wanted the truth.  There, I said it... he smiled...

Thankfully he had read DARWIN and was also a cool guy.  The Dean made me a deal, I had to give a presentation to the Science classes in my HS about Dinosaurs, their disappearance and evolution.  Maybe he thought he could break me.  Two days later I proudly did a thirty-five minute plus stand-up, the 50’s version of a PowerPoint on Oaktag paper, and showed off my 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 inch prints. I was a success!  I felt I could do the Late show like Johnny Carson after that.  And  managed to get the school a field trip to the Museam.  I was a hero.

The Dean thought I did an excellent job and we worked a deal out to show my work to other classes for my salvation.  Since I was on Honor roll and Rapid Advance, I graduated high school at fifteen and three months.  I never went to the second and eighth grades since I was a reader and self-taught.  My favorite person was a librarian who was better than any teacher I had.

I wanted to further my interest in photography. I was also interested in the shops the school had to offer,  and it extended my working knowledge in mechanics and electronics   

I LEARNED FROM THE BEST  -  HIGH SCHOOL
I owe my ability to use tools and build things to my grandfather who taught me a lot from five on.  He was an immigrant and spoke little English but what a smart man.  By seven I was helping him rebuild bread toasters and soldering using a blow torch to heat it and a really small hot handle.

And then I expanded my development with the first tools I made at the brand-new state of the art George W. Wingate High School in the metal shop.  We had Zip before the post office could spell ZIP.  You figure that one out.  It was incriminating. 

I got an “A” in metal shop for the projects we had to make to qualify and could have gotten five years for the stuff I didn’t tell them about some of the other kids were building.  I saw it as a dangerous opportunity and smartly kept my distance.

My favorite achievement was the development of the Jacobs Hubcap Remover which was  big success in Brooklyn.


THE GADGET MEISTER - MARTY FORSCHNER
I needed a job.  I picked up a few nicknames, like “The Gadgetmeister” starting my working career in a renowned camera repair facility, the best in the camera district of New York City as a delivery boy.   I gained a lot of knowledge in those early days as a kid meeting with some of the great building blocks of the analog era of photography like Master Machinist Marty Forschner and the father of Nikon,  Mr. Joseph Ehrenreich. 

Marty was the most incredible camera technician I ever met.  If you had a Nikon and liked a particular lens from another manufacturer like the Minolta cadioptic mirrors which were small, compact and light for street shooting, he made it work.

I ran into him every year at the PMAi trade show years later and that was the last time I saw him...  I was always building something and battery packs fascinated me.  

It was also where I found out what happens if you forget to short a capacitor from a Honeywell 770 Strobe, and an Everyday 510-volt battery, it almost sent me to the ER.    

But I learned early what works and what doesn't work and that you don't get it all from school or books.  You must get out there and see for yourself even if it means burnt fingers.  Thats how I learned to cook working in a restaurant.  All this time I’m trying to get a college education, working two jobs, honing some culinary skills,  and becoming a wedding shooter.  It got me financially through Brooklyn college.  

Older, I worked weekends for a Wedding mill in NYC on weekends as a run and gunner for several years to learn the business. I shot every kind of Wedding and ethnicity in New York.   Lots of experience and stress learning that a wedding shooter must be a master of people as well as a technician.  He must at times, my Latino friends and shooters would tell me tener cajones.

I also learned about the draft board.  It was a numbers game and my number was about to be up.   I always had a passion, Aviation... and that led to another twist.   Choice:  The Air Force or carry a gun In Viet Nam.  I got a chance at both.  Maybe Aviation was a better way stay alive, maybe not,  than getting shot at in the jungle.  

I can thank the United States Air Force and when my tours were completed and could afford it, later in life, I swapped rides in C-123 Providers, KC-135’s, B-52’s for Cessna’s and Piper’s and an occasional dumb pilot right side seat in a LEAR 23 Jet.  I owned seven airplanes, one at a time, and flew for thirty plus years.


THE PLAYBOY CLUB FRANCHISE  -  HOUSE SHOOTER

St.  PETERSBURG, FL  1981-1983 - MY BEST FUN JOB
After a brief two year stint as the house photographer at the Playboy Club, in St. Petersburg,
I leaned more into 
Journalism, covering Politics and the Military, and my roots which were in Weddings, over 450.  That’s David Chan, he was one of the first on payroll shooters as the man for the Playboy magazine and later at one time Playboy had franchised clubs around the country, in various locations.

The girls were great, totally portrayed wrong at that time and would be considered saints in todays world.

I worked for the one in St. Petersburg Florida which was in a Hilton Hotel that folded. The funny part, almost hilarious, was when we were harassed by the City Commissioners and clergy who were some of our best secretive customers… I had to be very discreet.

I met with the owner referred by a friend...  again Divine intervention... he invited me back and I got the job. That was tough times locally downtown, when financially and unfortunately the club closed.   

Too bad it was a nice clean operation. Totally portrayed wrong to the public, nothing like the bible thumpers were saying. In fact one of the heavy attackers of the club got arrested and did ten years for the money he stole from his churches. Head of the Southern Baptist Convention,  I saw that as a sign, something about casting the first stone, that schmuck tried it, and the Lord dropped the boulder on his foot.  He recently graduated prison and ooops got caught again.


STATE OF THE ONION  -  IT BRINGS TEARS 
My purest interests are photographic products today that could be termed reclamation. So many good products were built before the great Wall-Mart of China took over the Photo Industry which I predicted in my blogs twelve plus years ago.  

Today cameras are not the creative tools we cherished them as in the past, but they are treated as electronic devices simply upgraded as needed or the manufacturer promising newer is better is taken advantage of, which in most cases is a big fallacy.

We denied thinking it could happen, the sobering loss of the camera retail store industry.  The largest organizations of the industry like the PMAi with 35,000 members are gone.  Two other bastions of the retail end of the business are on thin ice losing members and not showing any growth.  It’s only time before all of the retail stand alone camera stores will be gone unless you have a huge store, internet marketing, and international sales.  

The big box stores selling the entry level cameras, and getting new models faster than we could.  The rise of the cell phone as the dominant picture taker and image transfer today.  The internet tax free sales by B&H, Amazon and Adorama simply killed retail store purchases and any kind of inventory management.  

What Amazon is to Shopping Centers, B&H and Adorama is to the retail Camera Store.  More important are the links made on the internet.   If you want a Nikon 3200 and see it on Amazon, B&H might be the vendor.  Connections, connections, connections... replaced Location, Location, Location.

Best Buy did step out of the hole of competition,  beautifully re-marketed its stores, less brands but the good ones, and just commenting on the one closest to me, I agree, Forbes rates it well. 

In my county in Florida which is Pinellas, Florida, we had 11 camera stores at one time including mine. Today in all of Tampa Bay and surrounding areas clear to Orlando, some 50,000 square miles, there is one store about 600 square feet, no lab to speak of.  My condo is much larger, about 1400 more feet.  They are the only survivor, maybe because they are small with low overhead and a family business.  Our stores were full line, with all formats and a full service pro lab.  The box stores, the internet and the cell phone cameras killed us.

They were replaced by gun dealers and the NRA paranoia.


SOCIAL MEDIA  -  KISS MY ASS GOODBY

PART ONE -  Myspace, Farce-book, Instagram, Nit-Twitter, and DeLinked in, currently all share one thing in common,  I’m not there.  I have removed every vestige of that circle of time wasting refuse collecting nonsense I participated in and my garbage mail and junk ads have slowed to a crawl. 

In my quest to expand relationships and at the pressure of many customers and friends to join their teams of associates and acquaintances, I succumbed to those who suggested my entire world would change after I joined FACEBOOK, TWITTER and “professionally” LINKED IN.

My world did change!  Yes, It did, unfortunately I got more junk mail than a normal person can handle in one day:  I tried filtering, and blocking and a lot of garbage still got through.   And doing a bit of research, with other IT guys,  I found many like myself with years of detective work in IT, who get nervous about being that open to the public arena that much.   

Years of corporate work filtering illegal emails and installing monitoring equipment told me this will go viral one day and not in a good way, hacking became the blood sport.  And I was frickin right.  Just ask Mark Zuckerberg...

It was a distraction, for nothing, it was not good for business, it opened doors to a lot of dead ends. I was not inclined to spend my days in the Mad Hatters Maze and make them rename it to “Alan in Wonderland” !   I suppose it’s OK for those with imaginary friends,  but most of my friends and business associates whom I communicate normally and privately with, that is the real ones, I care a great deal about and like talking with them.  

Luckily I saw this pattern quickly, and imagine the good I could have done with that time.  When a little investigation explained the trash mail and offers I do not need, that was it.  I value real friends and customers who pick up a phone, see how you are doing and wish you well. It's so nice to hear a friendly voice.  So months ago I took a digital laxative with help from the legal pages posted under “How to escape from Facebook”,  et. al., I happily hit the SUBMIT button for permanent removal.   It took a month to detox but well worth it, I took up fly fishing for Baby Tarpon, great sport, bad part was mainly got redfish, legal size and they went in the pot.

  

PART TWO - YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Well, to say I am not happy would be an understatement. Immediately 40% of worthless chatter vanished. After I upped out, things started to surface. I grabbed a shovel. It's amazing what you uncover when you dig. And I guess the most important thing to remember with these social sites is information you may written about years ago and forgot about suddenly pops up and revised and updated and there are those 78 people you have no clue to.

That was the case with the other two accounts I had thought I had unsubscribed to.   You have to do it manually.  The Farce Book updated two old accounts I had glimpsed, and immediately forgotten about and thought I had upped out of.   I was wrong. 

One account was by virtue of its intro interesting, and I became saturated with individuals with some really weird alternate lifestyles.  I’m not into Goth anything nor Zombies, cults, sacrifice, Neo-Nazies and causes they believed in. But sometimes i have to monitor them.  It was like watching those mentally deficient realty TV throwbacks on TV chasing ghosts and big-foot.  

And I thought Trumps bullshit realty show ( Apprentice, clones thereof, and the White House reality show) took the cake.  Anyone who camps knows the woods are full of noise at night by animals that are nocturnal.  Anyone with brains knows ghosts only exist on TV.  Do these nuts really exist?  

The other was a Wedding Forum and Bridezilla was alive and well.  Especially when I recommended a Psychiatrist instead of a Gynecologist to one woman who was banging more than her keyboard, getting all of life she could before she got married (she was engaged to some poor bastard)  and telling the world about it.

Thats fine, we all have different paths, but it’s just totally worthless information to me, and with Twitter and Facebook you get those who want to spill guts all over the place and for a while we all are nosy, thats human. It gets boring. 

PART THREE - IS IT WORTH SOMETHING 
Social networking sites--notably Facebook and Twitter--have recently been the target of cyber criminals due to their large user base. In February 2010 alone, market research firm comScore pegs Filipino Internet users visiting social networking sites at 90.3%, spending an average of 332.2 minutes (or roughly five and a half hours) on such sites, the highest in the region.

And where there are users, there are those who take advantage. According to Sophos's 2010 security threat report, at least 57% of social networking users have reported receiving spam via these services, a giant leap of 70.6% from a year ago.

Social networking spam, Phua clarified, include messages, status updates, and wall posts that promote a certain product. Click-jacking--or hiding the original spam URL through a URL shortening service--is also a prevalent method for spam.

Cyber-criminals--who, Phua noted, have become more notorious and financially-driven over the years--are also the main perpetrators of malware over social media. Just recently, Facebook users were bombarded by their friends’ compromised accounts with wall posts containing the “sexiest video ever," a malware that installs an adware on the user's browser once viewed.

I wrote in 2011 about hacking and vulnerability,  so far I have had four places I do business with tell me they were hacked.  Target, Linked-in, Adobe and one other.  I have cleared and renamed all of them or removed them. I now will not sign on and if I have to register as a guest.

In 2017 Facebook was a contributor to a British Firm who took 50 million bits of data. 50 million people had their profiles stolen from Facebook and Facebook had its eyes wide open.  

The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorization in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalized political advertisements.  There is also some form of collusion involving John Bolton, our newest T-Hump security advisor...Hmmm, wher is Congress when you need them. He should be blocked.

Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

Documents seen by the Observer, and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale. However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals.


I EXPERIENCED IT, DISSECTED IT, 
THINKING ABOUT IT AND CONCLUDED
It made sense as I was getting ads for Canadian Drug Companies offering drugs at low prices in emails coming from people whose name at one time may have come from these accounts which search for your friends. Three gave me a pattern and I did some reverse engineering and tracked back, found the folks and  called them. 

There is another angle to this, how many of these sites promoting drugs, are really Canadian, How do you know?  How do you know that these drugs may contain Fentanyl, an extremely dangerous drug so bad the Police are cautioned when arresting folks with this drug to treat it as a HazeMat situation.   Many questions to ask. 

They had one thing in common... G-Mail and FACE-BOOK.   Now the cloud is completely contaminated.   They had no idea what went out.  Now I will dump that account because that one has been gleaned.  And then in part two I started reading and discovering others have been on this path to social enlightenment.  And if you want a shock, go on Experian and see who solicited you info from the dark web.  Not Luke Skywalker,  the dark side , the actual sub web called the dark web.  (99% of people don’t even know it exists) . 

If you analyze what you do when you go on line with one of these networking sites you discover the following; In reality there is nothing there, it’s more like the local chit-chat convention, a plethora of basically useless information except for the bigger companies who have learned how to use the players to their advantage.  They pay each time you click on one of their ads. Thats how money is made.

You could find closer friends at a library or a Bruce Springsteen Concert.  If you can’t keep back all that personal information and you are just boiling to spill it, get a blog.  And a fake name.  There is one thing to be Sally and heres my avatar but another to be Sally and here's what my underwear looks like unless Sally makes a living at showing her underwear.

And the numbers mean nothing and heres how to prove it...You could have twenty-thousand contacts, tell them you are broke, and need money.  Beg for it, write a good hard luck, story.   Then see how many drop you after you ask to please send twenty dollars to you.  Donate the money to charity.  Thats how you achieve the right Karma. You can then brag at one time you “ I had twenty-thousand contacts and friends”.  Traffic and numbers mean nothing.  Be careful what you look for and be careful if you find it on the social networks.  You are part of the hack.  Those contacts you added anonymously are now hacked because of you.

TODAY, MAY 26TH THE CONGRESS 
Is "interviewing the President of Face Book" for simpler guidance and information disclosures.  Thats like a discussion with “Attila the Hun" on cake bake sales.   Please do not invite me to join you on Face-book, Linked-in, Twitter, or any other Social Nut-working group if your intent is to add one more name to your pseudo following. 

I have reasons for leaving them just for names and/or contacts.  I will however after consideration on both our behalf’s link with clients and those with similar interests through my servers and eMail.  Thats OK! I am currently building my own SECURE data list and blogosphere for daily does of whats good in the photo industry.

FIRST, TOO MUCH PERSONAL CHIT CHAT, SPAM AND GARBAGE MAIL, IRRELEVANT INFORMATION
Is loose on the web and these companies not only sell your info and names to others, you are part of a gleaning process that will eventually cost you.  They call them ADS and Clicks, I call them money makers.   Face Book is free but raised over 41 billion dollars. You’ll be adding more data to those vested in identity theft.  And whom I deal with are extremely nervous about certain programs asking really invasive questions like where were you born, and what month and year?  Be smart use other questions if possible.

If you are wondering why you are getting more spam and garbage mail, just look at what YOU did to deserve this attention. OK we know you are sharp. So was the guy who turned down the offer to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.  He did however buy the mineral rights for under the Brooklyn Bridge and paid cash.  In Yiddish , the defined comment for this type of action is “ OY VEY, WHAT A SCHMUCK ”.

About things I really have no interest in. The best was pictures of a eight by ten garden just tilled and ready for planting. Nothing like blank earth, now thats the stuff Pulitzer Prize winning photos are made of. 

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY
I make my own, I have been socially networking for a long time before it became popular and Steve Gibson a friend of 35 plus years found this old film shot that drowned,  yet survived Hurricane KATRINA.  Hours in my lab rewashing the slides and  an hour in photoshop and a lot of alcohol saved the wet slide. 

That is me!  Thirty-seven years ago socializing my way while attending the Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Hawaii.  Lord, Hawaii is beautiful and the people are fabulous.


WHO THE HELL ARE YOU
Of all those  who asked me to join, I have no clue who some of them are or were as you know it seems everyone on the web has four or more names and aliases. 

I know friends and acquaintances from dealings and then suddenly they are someone else who I do not know.  Backtracking, they were screened off another list by someone I knew or dealt with four generations back. They were just adding names. Like a popularity list, or as it would appear the voting process in the USA.   And they were feeding the hacked list or what is called scrapping, which blew the hack from 300,000 names to 87 million names when Facebook handed the information to  Cambridge Analytica.

Thank you and it's nothing personal, I work seven days a week now on projects. Time is important.  If you need advice, comment, critique or help, suggestion or other, I am and always have been available, and will continue to do so via the regular e-mail system and we’ll keep information between the two of us. 


RELEVANCY
Social Networking is here to stay till the first identity problems arise, they have already arrived, you just don't know about it. Here are things you have to be concerned about. These are additional PRO’s and CON’s.
PRO:  Social networking is free. FOR NOW. Once you invested the time in a network of irrelevancy and you get asked to join a higher plateau for a small fee, the hook is already in your mouth. Sounded simple enough to set up, and it has tremendous popularity. You could have access to thousands of people who could use your product, pretend to be your friend, and possibly hook up with. Many of you never vetted the tooth fairy.  But your name and profile have been sold and given to others many as 2017 shows us without your knowledge or permission.
CON:  It really depends on what you will use it for. If it is for business, you have to ask yourself a few questions. If it is for relationships, remember once you send it out, you can't take it back. 

As a business "who will be doing this social networking". As an owner you have to be concerned about what is really going on. For example, if you have a paid employee doing the work, It’s not FREE so the ad says. You are paying that person for that time and is it productive. 

How constructive is what they are doing?  Then, is it 100% messaging for business or will you find personal use on your dime. Let's not kid ourselves, your employees will be tempted to do so. In some locations this is tad-amount to opening Pandora’s box.

Another consideration is what you are saying…. And how it is presented. Just like on the forums, everyone gets to scrutinize what you say.  You want feedback but you don’t want to start a negative chain. Think about what a disgruntled employee could do to you in seconds if they wanted to.

BOTTOM LINE
Socially, it is estimated that FaceBook, the largest Network has over 2.2 Billion Facebook subscribers.  300 million subscribers were hacked and with the scrapping or mining of those open profiles it resulted in 87 million names and other information used by the T-HUMP boys.  Social Networking is here and part of our lives, heavily embedded.

With employment at record levels, folks have time and the need for companionship on their minds. Even if most of it is make believe friendship and just a temporary relationship either for business or entertainment, involvement can be good for some. Horrid for others.

The important part of networking is that you want an open honest relationship with those you are communicating with. What you say cannot be retracted.  It could have serious consequences.  The worst examples I could think of led to the suicide deaths of two teenagers in separate incidents whose live's were ruined because of what was published on a social network and cellphones. 

You can learn from your replies and comments. You can analyze, change things and rebuild. You can learn what is good for your company and what is not.  

BEWARE
Social, spiritual, mentally short changed morons are an everyday occurrence on the web. They are out there.  When you poll or throw a query out there you are inviting a group of people with diversified ideas and ideals and added to this group are a bunch of socially and mentally deficient nuts, and it’s for all the world to see.  

If they dislike you, all you can do is offer them relief.  Your product failed, fix it. You had a bad thought, apologize. This makes you the good guy, and paints you on the winning side. People respect that, well some do, others will still want your reproductive organs for forgiveness. 

Offering them relief, short circuits further attention and can close issues. Getting in a battle of words solves nothing.  It's like trying to put out a bonfire with urination, you won't put it out. it smells, and if the winds are non-directional and squirrel-ly, adds to global warming and dangerous if you are downwind.