2009 Card Preview

As usual, feel free to go hunt for your likeness in the large version of the card. You can even check out a mega-large version (huge file warning) for better resolution.

Lovely pic of Chiba-san, in full zen contemplation of year past and year ahead, courtesy of Hiromi.

As you may have noticed, pictures are back in full force on this blog. This rebirth is due to my finally caving in to the trend and buying one of these fancy new cellphone things. One of those that come with a color LCD and, gasp, a camera.

I was until now quite happy using my antiquated prepaid cellphone (about 50×100 pixels of monochrome goodness and such cutting edge features as “call”, “send SMS” and even “address book”), until I started gathering last year’s pictures, for my yearly New Year’s Card project, and realized I had close to none. Even though I own a reasonably nice and compact digicam, and use it sometimes when I feel artistically inclined, it just isn’t the same as a camera-phone…

I was never a big fan of cameras, especially in group settings. Actually I suspect the “let’s take a souvenir photo” bug is mostly a female thing, and tends to grow hundredfold with motherhood. But going over all the drunken (and less drunken) pics I took during my stay in Tokyo, with my trusty keitai, I realized how much I liked having those around. To me, they are nothing like the sort of pictures you take with a “real” camera. Cameraphone pics, for one, are lower quality (especially mine, since I purposely downsample them in order to use less bandwidth when sending them over email), which means you treat them differently: being lo-fi, badly lit or with a strong visible grain is expected and nearly part of the journalistic charm of the medium. The other aspect I noticed with myself and friends while in Japan, was the psychological difference: people usually do not react to a phone the way they do to a camera. Phones are slightly less intrusive and more easily allow you to take pictures without breaking the flow of social interactions; with a camera-phone, even usually camera-shy people tend to be more exuberant and less self-conscious. It is possible that Japanese society is special in that respect, considering how ubiquitous camera-phones have become there, but I reckon things will be moving in a similar direction everywhere…

Anyway, from now on, you can expect a fairly regular influx of live views from my life in Paris. Incidentally, this will help me fill my quota of diary-esque entries on this blog, without having to resort much to boring “did this, did that” text entries. I liked the balance I had found with the older keitai log format, with tons of pointless but short photographic entries on one side, longer verbose rants on the other.

For now, enjoy the pretty random pics of drunken friends and Parisian locales.

As is now customary around these parts at this time of the year:

Dave's 2007 New Year's Card

May 2007 bring you kittens, happy puppies & ponies with very little thermonuclear wars on the side…

PS: If I recently met you long enough to snap a pic, your face is probably up there. Full size version here for the unbelievers.

PPS: To make up for the sharp decrease in picture-taking this year (linked to a switch from my nifty camera-equipped keitai back to the basics of 19th century cellphone communication), I innovated by adding a couple pics of online acquaintances whom I have not met in person this year, but spent more than a share of my time exchanging communications with. Yea, this is 21st century alright.

PPPS: Collage quality is really not all that great this year. Ironically, part of my studies lately have involved the very algorithmic tools I need, to come up with an elegant solution to this very tricky problem (yay for Operational Research). Unfortunately, said studies also meant I really did not have the time to implement it. We’ll try to have it for 2008.