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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Over two years in with using Firefox Containers and I cannot see how I could live without them on a desktop browser. If you haven’t tried Firefox on desktop for a while, give it a spin.

Unmark 2.0 is now running the hosted site. Tags with autocomplete! Don’t forget, it is free to sign up and use indefinitely. Just pay to support the project and unlock bookmark search, import/export, etc.

There hasn’t been a new episode of the podcast in a little while. This is because the subject I’m attempting to photograph is not cooperating with my schedule. But more are coming!

Looks like my site’s stats plugin stopped working sometime at the end of last month. I’m debating my need to even have it. I do like to know if my site was mentioned or linked to though.

Looking back on Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm

On the cusp of the release of Star Wars Episode IX, I revisited a post I wrote in 2012 regarding Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm from George Lucas.

In it I postulated that Lucasfilm was worth far more than the $4B purchase price but that Lucas structured the deal to make up for that over the long term growth of the combined companies.

It is worth going back and reading that post to see what many were thinking that Disney would do and compare it to what they’ve done so far. I’d say they’ve executed the playbook beautifully.

So how did old George do on this deal?

I haven’t followed along too much to know if he’s done any large sell-offs of his Disney stock or anything. But, remember, he put a cool $2B in cash in his pocket with a single signature on the day the deal finalized. The other $2B was taken in Disney stock – which at the time was trading at around $50/share.

Today the stock is trading at around $150/share.

Assuming he’s sold zero shares, his $2B in Disney stock has nearly tripled in worth already.

But the decision wasn’t all about the money of course. George wasn’t exactly starving at the time this sale went down. How has Disney done in managing the Star Wars franchise and the companies? From my seat, very, very well. It is likely a big reason why Bob Iger is Time’s Businessperson of the Year this year.

The new films in the Star Wars Skylwalker saga has taken their licks – but no worse than in the prequel era. I’d say the sequels have been better reviewed than the prequels by a long shot. The spinoff films of Solo and Rogue One are very good. And The Mandalorian is excellent. Not to mention the Star Wars-related additions to Disneyland and Disney World that are getting rave reviews as well. Oh and the books and toys and comics and everything else. So from a creative stand-point, I think Star Wars has been stewarded better than Lucas could have done on his own.

ILM, Lucas Arts, etc. have all had award winning projects that shipped. There are too many to name but if you look up each company and what they’ve done since 2012, they’ve really done some amazing work and the hits just keep on coming.

Acquisitions rarely go well. In fact, in the tech industry acquisitions almost always go poorly for one reason or another. Disney has proven they can do enormous acquisitions like Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel and create a better result than the sum of their parts. All while George counts his money while eating his popcorn at the movies.

Tonight at 6PM Eastern I’ll be going live on Instagram to discuss behind-the-scenes of some of these photo prints. Join me!

Vincent Laforet reviews the new Mac Pro

Vincent Laforet:

This was the closest I’ve come to feel to seeing my digital work look like Color Slide film – think Fujichrome, Kodachrome and Cibachrome prints. At times, it felt like I was seeing my footage for the first time. It sounds trite I’m sure – but it’s true.

This bit was specifically about Apple’s XDR display – which compares to displays 3 or 4 times its cost.

You’ll be seeing headlines that say this computer costs $50,000+ and tons of reviews that talk about terabytes and gigabytes and cores and nits and wheels… Read Laforet’s whole review to see how the new Mac Pro can make working easier and more fun for the people that really need one of these. And at a fraction of the cost (or comparable in some cases) of other solutions.

Made a few inexpensive prints just for fun.

Speaking of mixed reality experiences, a company that hasn’t delivered yet is Magic Leap. Coming up on 9 years and $2.6B in funding.

Since I still get link requests via email every single day, I’ve updated my post that I use to respond to those scammy spammy requests.

I want any size screen, any time, any where

Andy Baio in an interview on Uses This:

I’ve worn glasses for my entire life, so my personal dream setup would be replacing my laptop, monitor, and phone all at once by replacing my prescription lenses with augmented-reality glasses that annotate the world around me without blocking it out entirely.

I do not wear glasses but long-time readers of my blog may remember that I too would like to replace all of the screens in my life for an augmented reality experience. I’d want them to provide me any screen size I need at any time any where.

When I personally look at how I use my full monitor desk set up, my laptop, my iPad, and my iPhone; I am generally just changing the size of the screen between contexts. Mixed reality (MR) could provide me a way to have any screen I need at any time and thus only have a single device. We’re likely a long way off on this – mostly because all of the companies seem to be focused on the lucrative gaming market.

I haven’t written about mixed reality on my blog in a while. I believe my timeline for such things still stands. As does my observations on the industry as a whole. But it may be time to revisit MR and see what the latest is.

Architectural – October and December 2019

Nashville, TN, Frankfurt, KY, Binghamton, NY.

Links of the 2010s is so, so good. Via Andy Baio.

Alastair Humphreys is starting a podcast titled Living Adventurously. Subscribed.

Xavi Bou’s time-lapse bird path project is so cool. via Kottke.

Heron in the rain – November 2019

It was getting dark and had begun to rain so I was wrapping up a photowalk and as I’m sitting in my car texting Eliza this heron lands just outside my car window. I managed to get a few snaps in before he disappeared into the brush.

Texting while driving

Bloomberg:

The data support the generally-accepted wisdom that despite laws, penalties and reminders of the hazards of cell phone distractions while behind the wheel, drivers continue to put themselves and others on America’s roads in grave danger.

Do the world a favor. Grab a nearby friend or family member and show them how to turn on Do Not Disturb while driving settings for iOS or Android. Both operating systems have very good features around this now. There is no excuse at all not to have this on by default at this point.

Spread the word. It saves lives. It could save a life today.

Recent Snowbirds – Fall 2019

Trudging through the first snows of the season to find small bird havens has been a delight. I managed to find a pile of grass clippings that a nearby grounds-keeper tries to hide away behind some evergreens – the birds love to pick through the pile for insects and seeds.

Finished reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A fast-paced read. Would make a great fun movie.

Finished reading Mutation by Robin Cook. ⭐⭐⭐ – Barely three stars, really. Interesting premise but predictable.

Brent Simmons on why he listens to podcasts at 1x. I’d quote some of it, but you should just read the entire thing. He echoes so many things I’ve covered here on the blog over the years.

I almost lost the majority of today’s work. Walked away for a bit. Came back and restored it in two clicks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this over my career. Especially with programming challenges. Walking away is a pro tip.

Speaking of podcasts, I’m really enjoying BirdNote – a very short daily podcast about birds full of great bird sounds.

Yes! The episode of How I Built It with Joe Casabona that I’m featured in is now live! We recorded it in early-September and it was worth the wait. Well produced, tons of links. If you’re into blogging check it out.

After further study, what I photographed was an American Mink and not a Fisher. I’ll have to provide an update.

Adrian (aows) on Photography

Adrian (aows):

An imperfect composition, a rather dark or bright image, and less than ideal conditions could be ingredients for a great image.

His Instagram account is one of my favorites. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea at first glance, but if you read his FAQ you’ll see what his goal is for his photography. He writes:

I’m not trying to reproduce reality. Every image I make is an attempt at expressing myself and showing what that place, object, whatever, means to me.

I believe his images do exactly that.

In case you missed it, I published an episode of my podcast that tells the story behind these three photographs. Some of my favorite that I’ve taken in the last month.

How to enjoy a long winter

Jason Kottke:

I decided that because I live in Vermont, there is nothing I can do about it being winter, so it was unhelpful for me to be upset about it. I stopped complaining about it getting cold and dark, I stopped dreading the arrival of snow. I told myself that I just wasn’t going to feel like I felt in the summer and that’s ok — winter is a time for different feelings.

I’ve decided the same long before I read Jason’s post but it was a good reminder for me. I’m also going to make the best of winter. I’m going to embrace the differences this season brings and I’m now looking forward to that. Also, the worse the winter the more I’ll enjoy spring!

Lackawanna River American Mink – November 2019

This is a special episode. This is the first time I set out with a specific objective in mind (rather than just exploring or wandering) and I accomplished it!

The animal in the first image is, I’ve now learned more accurately, an American Mink (not a Fisher or Skink as I thought previously). It is in the weasel family and I can’t believe I found him.

Please enjoy this episode. I know I enjoyed recording it.

Edit: In the audio I misidentify this animal several times. I use mink, weasel, skink (which is a lizard) and fisher! Nearly in the same breath! Sorry about that. I had to get back and carefully look through the photos and compare them with what I’ve found online to figure out this was a mink after all.