An Unusual Request???

Most everyone has probably heard the story about the stretched necks, body swapping, and other modifications made to the images of McKinney High School to fulfill an ‘unusual’ request made to their photography company.

As quoted from CNN:
The high school had required their photography company to make heads the same size and eyes at the same level in all student photos, the photography’s spokeswoman said Saturday.

The request was “unusual and definitely very particular, but that’s not to suggest what happened here is acceptable,” she said.

This wouldn’t have happened if they were using ImageMatch by PhotoLynx! ImageMatch is designed to allow photographers to align head sizes to make them look uniform in the yearbook.

Video Watch students scramble to redo their yearbook »

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Online Operating System

It won’t be long before many computers won’t even need a hard drive. No more Windows or Mac OS X operating systems as we know it. Your operating system will be up in the clouds, not on your hard drive. You will boot your computer and it will instantly just sign onto the Internet. Your desktop will be saved on some server out in cyber space. All of your software programs will function just like they do now, but instead of being local to your PC, they will be launched from your online operating system. All of your files will be stored online. No more back ups or disk failures! You can log in from anywhere.

Microsoft is hard at work creating an online operating system that they are calling mesh. It is still very much in it’s infantcy, but it’s a start. While Google has applications available that are compatible with Microsoft’s office applications called Google Docs.

What if you want to work on your computer while traveling? By this summer, many airlines will be offering in flight wireless Internet! Depending on the airline, there are two ways the plane will connect with the Internet. SouthWest is going to connect through a satellite, while other airlines will use the on ground cell systems. It turns out that cell phone use doesn’t interfere with the instruments or the planes communications systems. Actually the crossing networks at the speed of a jet plane plays havoc on the cell phone network’s systems. Not to mention, it would be annoying if the person who is already too close squashed in the seat next to you, spent the whole flight on the phone with their elbow in your face.

Not in the office or at home? There are several solutions. Wifi is available just about any where now. Go into a McDonald’s or Starbucks for Wifi. Some communties are offering free Wifi at parks or in populated areas, sort of like TV or radio.

Another solution is through your cell phone carrier. Use a cell phone modem connected to your computer and get high speed internet just about anywhere you can get a cell phone signal.

A completely online system may seem far fetched, but I don’t think it is too far off.  You’ll have all the processing power you will ever need right their in the cloud,

Get New School Contracts with Pocket School Image Software

In the last week I’ve gotten several emails from current users who have stated that they have earned new major contracts by offering Pocket School Image Software as part of their bid.  Depending on the size of the bid, many photographers offer the device and software at no charge to the school with the software pre-loaded.

Pocket School Image Software (PSIS) is a powerful program that runs on a Pocket PC or Palm Device.  A school administrator or security personnel can carry the device with them around campus or at off site events for instant access to every student in the school’s information.  It can include a picture, class schedule, contact information and much more.

The software is a free download from PhotoLynx.  It is synced to the school’s database through School Image Software by PhotoLynx.

As a side note, an updated version of School Image Software will be available in July.  The updated software will operate on the new Intel Macs using Leopard and Windows XP and Vista.

School ID Cards Made From Corn? -Cool!

ADVANTIDGE OFFERS NEW ECO-FRIENDLY ID CARDS
AS PLASTIC ALTERNATIVE

Corn Card Ready to Replace Millions of Plastic
Cards, Including Photo ID’s, Hotel Key-Cards and Gift Cards.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 20, 2008 – Advantidge, Inc., a leading supplier of card printers, systems and supplies, today announced the availability of the Corn Card, a new eco-friendly card solution with important advantages over traditional petroleum-based Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) cards.
Millions of PVC cards are used everyday in a plethora of applications and industries – cutting across nearly every social and business sector imaginable.  These include photo IDs for schools and companies, membership cards, hotel room key-cards, and gift and loyalty cards.  But since their production is dependent on oil, a non-renewable resource, PVC cards adversely affect the environment, both in their manufacture and eventual disposal.
In contrast, Corn Cards are made from corn, a readily available, renewable resource.  Key features include:
•    Same familiar look and feel of standard white PVC cards.
•    Identical quality and durability of printed cards.
•    100% biodegradable and no toxins released when properly disposed.
•    Made from special corn type – not derived from corn used in human food supply.

PVC’s use is rapidly declining, as more and more manufacturers and retailers recognize its harmful environmental effects.
“Biobased plastics such as PLA are a safer and smarter choice for our health and environment than PVC, the poison plastic.  PVC is the worst plastic, releasing cancer-causing chemicals that poison our air, foil our water, and contaminate our bodies.  We commend companies like Advantidge for moving away from PVC and towards safer alternatives such as PLA.  When companies put consumers first, opting to prevent harm where possible, we know that progress is being made,” said Mike Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator for the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, an environmental health grassroots organizing group based in Falls Church, Virginia.
“When you work with some of the country’s largest retailers, most prestigious educational institutions and all levels of government, they rely on our consultation everyday to meet their unique needs,” said Lawrence Grafstein, CEO, Advantidge.  “Corn Cards are a major step forward, easily allowing us to proactively assist our customers in addressing their ‘going green’ initiatives.”

About Advantidge

Founded in 2001 and with more than 40 years of combined industry experience, Advantidge, Inc. is a leading provider of a full range of secure ID and card issuance systems.  Applications include photo ID, hospitality, health care, membership, gift and loyalty card programs.  The company also helps large and small organizations create secure, cost-effective identity management systems.  Advantidge works in a diverse range of markets, including education, entertainment, government, healthcare, law enforcement, retail, security and transportation.  Please visit http://www.advantidge.com for additional information about an entire line of earth friendly products for card and security applications.

Green Screen Version 2

I’ve had a couple of weeks to mess around with the PhotoLynx Version 2 green screen now and I’m excited to say that it works really well!

PhotoLynx Green Screen Shot

What makes this better then other green screen software out there, is that it is very automated.  It inserts a preselected background behind the subject.  The background gets entered through data and then the process is left to run on it’s own.

No green screen is going to be perfect.  But, PhotoLynx puts tools to help bring back in the green in clothing, where it might have dropped.  It allows for easy and quick adjustments to the images to prep them for rendering.

If you are debating about going to green screen or not, please know it takes extra time.  Therefore, you need to cosider it in your pricing of packages.  One pricing model that I have seen, is although 100% of the school is photographed on green screen, they charge $5.00 extra for any background other then the traditional.  The extra cash makes up for the extra time it will take.

To find out more, drop me an email or call 760-782-9000

Bulk File Renamer

I frequently get asked by our customers for a way to easily rename their images. ImageMatch will rename your images after anything in it’s database.

For a more general renaming program, I highly recommend Bulk Rename Utility by Jim Willshire. It’s fast, it works great, it is versatile, and it’s free! It won’t rename your files after existing data, but you can get it to do just about anything else!

PhotoLynx 2008 Release is Ready!

Our 2008 release is ready!  You may download it from http://www.photolynx.com/downloads/updates_hotfixes/pl.hotfix.2008-05-02.3322.offline.exe.

IMPORTANT – Please read these instructions completely, before installing this update!

After the file is downloaded, you can verify that the download completed correctly, by right clicking on the file; it should read 94.9 MB.

Back up any important files!

You may transfer the 2008 update to another computer by copying it to a USB memory drive or CD ROM.  While installing the update if you receive a message requesting disk 2 or receive CRC file error, this means the file did not download correctly.  Please delete the file and download it again.  If you prefer to have a CD mailed to you, with a complete install, please respond to this email with your mailing address.

We suggest that you test this version on only one computer to insure that it does not interfere with your workflow.  We have tested this version through our beta test program.  But, it is impossible to test it in every workflow our customers use our software.  Therefore, if you feel something is not working properly, please report it to http://photolynx.com/support/open.php.  By using this form to report any issues, it will insure that it is received and prioritized correctly.  If you need us to contact you, please include your name and phone number on the form.

This release includes version 2 of our green screen rendering software.  PhotoLynx allows for you to input background choices very quickly and easily.  Then automatically render out your images as picture packages with the selected background behind them.  It will also allow you to export the images for the yearbook with a single background for consistency.  Please download and read the version 2 green screen documentation.

Saturday May 10, 2008 – We will be hosting an online demonstration of PhotoLynx® Green Screen Version 2.  The seminar will begin at 8:00am Pacific Time.  The seminar will be about 45 minutes long.  All you need to participate in the seminar is a computer, online connection, and a telephone.  The seminar is broadcast to your computer through the internet.  To participate in the seminar, please register at www.PhotoLynx®.com/seminar.

Before calling with assistance for green screen, we recommend you read the documentation and attend the online seminar.

Additionally, with RipLynx, you may now export images for yearbooks, or administration CD’s on a centralized computer through your network.  This way you can send several exports into a que without tying up your ImageMatch computer.

The 2008 version of SIS (School Image Software) will be released by the beginning of June.

Organ & Tissue Donor Foundation

Yesterday I received a call from Scott Statz from the Organ & Tissue Donor Foundation. He called because they wanted a way to create donor cards for middle school and high school students to carry. They want to run programs at the schools to educate students about the philosophy and practice of organ and tissue donation. Students who choose to participate can have their parents sign a consent form which will allow them to be registered their state’s Organ & Tissue Donor program. Students who register will receive an Organ donor card.

Initially, the Card will be distributed to local Middle School, High School and College students. The Card will contain information about the holder’s choice for (or against) organ and tissue donation and any health issues that Emergency Medical Technicians may need to be made aware of. The Card will also contain information that EMT staff can use to contact the holders family. The Card will contain a photo but is not meant to be a substitute for a legal identification card. However, several institutions surveyed have expressed a desire to incorporate the card as the school’s official ID card.

This campaign will expand to include a helmet sticker and jogging bracelet. The sticker will contain similar information and will be targeted to individuals and organizations that participate in sports and recreational activities that require helmets. Several stickers will be provided along with a card. A jogging bracelet for men, women and kids will also be developed.

The database required to manage the printing of the cards and stickers has the capability to be integrated with any State Donor Registry – individual state registry policies, the subscribing institution’s policies and the Foundation’s Privacy Policy not withstanding.

This program originates from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They create chapters of college students at universities across the country who volunteer their time for this cause. They have programs geared toward middle and high school aged children that are about a half hour long.

As a school photographer, you can add a value to your service by making this a part of your picture program. Along with your picture envelopes, you can include information and a donor consent form for the parents and teens to discuss and return at the time of photography. You could create a sticker or a logo to be placed on the student’s card if they choose to be a donor.

Currently Scott is working with the national donor registry to automate the process of registering donors online. Once this is set up, PhotoLynx will create an export formatted to be uploaded to their site. So students who choose to participate can be automatically registered.

For more information, consent forms, and official logos, please contact me or Scott. Scott’s email address is: scottstatz@otdf.org . To find out more about the program visit the Organ & Tissue Foundation Website.