Sunday, November 21, 2010

Finally, an affordable and reasonable mobile data plan!




I am truly excited about a product and data plan that Virgin Mobile and Walmart just came out with. The two-year commitments that cell phone carriers require are ripoffs. When I had a Blackberry plan with AT&T, there were months when I was not traveling at all, and I did not use or need my Blackberry at all. AT&T would not let me suspend the service during those periods of non-use. My mother has an iPhone, and she is paying something like $90 per month for it. Even now, AT&T will not let her suspend the service – this time, she is headed out of the country and will not use the iPhone in the slightest because it gets so expensive to use internationally. Paying $180 for something you will not use is pretty unreasonable.

In this economy, more folks agree with me. There are voice services out there that make sense for thrifty folks like me – I have been recommending Net10. With Net10 phones, I’ve bought a refurbished LG300 phone that works perfectly well with voice and receiving texts. I pay $30 for 600 minutes of voice calls that last two months. Since I (and from what I hear, the younger generation) don’t make many voice calls, those minutes last me the full two months, and then they roll over. I pay an equivalent of $15 per month for my cell phone that gives me the voice capability that I need.

And here’s a tip that I unearthed on a cell phone forum. It doesn’t work perfectly, but it works enough to be useful when I am traveling: you can forward emails to your Net10 phone (and likely any other phone that receives text messages) by using your phone’ email address! My Net10 phone uses the T-Mobile network, and its email address is in the form “dddxxxyyyy@tmomail.net” where “dddxxxyyyy” is my cell phone number in the form of area code and local digits. When I leave for a trip, I have Gmail forward my emails to my cell phone, and it works well enough. For my particular cell phone, my emails are truncated, but I am able to glean enough to know if the message is urgent or not. I can then call the person or whip out my laptop to send an email – as long as I am in a wifi zone, which brings me to my new discovery.

Since giving up my Blackberry, I have been waiting for a carrier to come out with a data plan that made sense. What makes sense? I want a data plan that is month-to-month, does not require a longterm commitment that penalizes you if you don’t want the plan, and does not cost a huge amount of money. I want a plan that is priced competitively, gives me enough data usage so I can get my emails and browse my websites when traveling, and works in the places that I travel to, within reason. Most of my business requires emails that are longer than can be reasonably typed on a Blackberry. And I admit that I am wordy.

As far as data plan usage, I can live with a monthly cap of 250Mb. That’s probably the lowest cap per month that would work for me, and would probably get me through a month of traveling and accessing emails and web pages. It’s a bit low, however, and I travel less than the typical businessman (but I consider myself an average guy and not a power user guy in a business suit, who has an unlimited budget anyway).

With the iPad, Steve Jobs seemed to have forced AT&T to offer a reasonable data plan. I have been on the verge of buying an iPad solely for the reasonably priced and month-to-month, no commitment, data plans. Kudos to Apple and Steve Jobs (and perhaps AT&T) for offering such a reasonable data plan for the iphone. However, the cost of the iPad (do I really need yet another device when I already have a netbook, a laptop, and a couple of desktop machines) has made me hold off. And I’ve also been holding off and waiting for E-Trade to send my $500 Apple Gift Card, which is a few weeks overdue! After my recent convention show, however, where I was stranded at the airport and needed web access (shame on SFO for not having free wifi!) to book rental cars and hotels, I was ready to buy an iPad immediately for the 3G access.

T-Mobile used to have a prepaid, 200Mb per month plan with no commitment for $24.99 per month. They have recently revamped their website to solve the problem that I describe below; they offer $30 and $50 monthly prepaid plans now for 300Mb or 1Gb of data respectively. Congrats to T-Mobile for finally getting their act together.

The problem is that if you try to buy this plan, the T-Mobile website forces you to buy a USB data modem also, at $150 to $200. OK, let’s say I buy the modem. Let’s say that I use the plan for two months and then don’t need the data plan for a few months. I cancel the plan. I try to start it up again. Well, if you try to start it up again using T- Mobile’s website, then you will be forced to buy another modem and pay another activation fee! And if you call T-Mobile’s ridiculously awful customer service, they know nothing about this prepaid plan and don’t even have the web resources to look it up! If you go to the store, they will tell you that T-Mobile does not have such a prepaid plan and will try to sell you the data plan that has a two-year commitment! I tried all the above. I even let myself get talked into trying out a data modem on a two-year plan by a store representative who promised me that if I cancelled within 30 days, I would not be charged a dime. It turns out he lied to me, and T-Mobile charged me over $60 for activation fees and usage fees even when I returned the items within 30 days. Yes, I am arguing wth T-Mobile, but of course their awful customer service is suspiciously and sufficiently awful to never credit me the amount promised. I am talking HOURS on the phone.

So forget T-Mobile and its treacherous, two-faced, deceitful offerings. Let’s move on (and by the way, don’t let the cell phone agent at the Costco booth tell you that there will be no charge whatsoever to try out the ridiculously expensive Verizon data plan for less than a month. Verizon will renege, you will discover that the guy in the Costco booth is just some guy that has no training and doesn’t know all the rules of all the plans for all the carriers that he purportedly represents , and you will be billed by Verizon for $100 just for trying out their modem for a few days).

This takes me to my recent trip to Las Vegas for a convention and being stranded at the airport. I have had my eye on a Virgin Mobile data plan, to use it until E-Trade sent me my Apple Gift Card. It cost $40 for month of unlimited service (or $10 for 10 days and something like 100 Mb of data), and it uses the Sprint network. This was still a bit pricey for me, considering the iPad’s $15 per month plan – but I was interested in it. After being stranded at the airport and realizing that I needed internet access while traveling NOW – I rushed over to Walmart after finally getting home and looked for the item: a Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go USB modem. I noticed that Virgin Mobile offered a special $20 per month (for 1Gb), no commmitment plan for those customers who purchased their modems at Walmart. This plan is perfect! Hip hip hooray for Walmart and Virgin Mobile for offering such a reasonable and usable plan. I am happily using this modem now to post this blog to my site.

Setting up the Virgin Mobile USB modem (which is a Novatel U760 modem) is not always simple and easy. I tried installing and uninstalling the Broadband2Go software on my MacBook Pro several times to no avail. I finally fired up VMWare and Windows XP on my laptop and activated the modem using the Windows environment. I was then able to go to the Virgin Mobile website and get my MDM account number, MSID number, and choose my Account PIN. Armed with that information, and still on the Windows environment, I paid for a month’s access on the Virgin Mobile website. Summary: when activating and starting up the Virgin Mobile USB modem, I highly recommend using a Windows XP machine (or emulator) to activate the modem.

Now that my modem was activated, I spent another hour trying to get the Broadband2Go software to work on my Mac using OS X. I finally decided not to use the Broadband2Go software and instead, went into Network Preferences. Here’s a rough description along with two screen grabs:

Go to Network Preferences.
Select the Virgin Mobile modem.
Click the Advanced button.
Under the Advanced page, change the modem from a phone modem to “Novatel Wireless and CDMA.”
You’ll then see green connected and sent/received bars.
When you want to connect to the internet, simply hit the Connect button, and you should be good to go.
Don’t bother using the Broadband2Go software in the Mac environment. It repeatedly asked for my system password but never connected me. Do run the Mac installer, however, to install the modem drivers. Do use the software in a Windows environment as it seems to work just fine.

I am a happy camper! Thanks, Walmart and Virgin. No thanks to you at all, Costco, T-Mobile, and Verizon! I’ll write more about my experience with Costco’s kiosk that markets cell phones. In short, why are we Costco customers, who pay for a good premium shopping experience, having to tolerate Costco’s phone kiosks, who do not offer Costco customers the best deals, do not offer prepaid services, do not offer agents that are knowledgeable, and do not offer the same service and return policies as Costco?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

These Companies Suck: T-Mobile and Citibank

Citibank: if you apply for a credit card, expect a call at 7AM in the
morning asking to verify your social security number. Why? And the
last time I applied for another credit card, the amount of phone calls
and credit checks was staggering. Then they started denying our credit
transactions, stating that they were "protecting" us from fraudulent
activity. I told them that we were already covered by federal law from
any fraudulent activity on our credit cards, so we weren't being
protected by this policy -- Citibank was protecting itself. They did
not argue with me.

No other credit card company has hassled me so much or made me call them
so many times.


T-Mobile: all customers in California get a 30-day trial period to test
out if a cell phone company's products work out for you. Return the
phone or SIM card within 30 days, and you should legally not be charged.

Not with T-Mobile! They are obviously trying to hoodwink folks who
don't have the time or the knowledge to combat this evil corporate
entity, which uses standard evil corporate tactics. Here's how they
work: you try out a SIM card for a service. You return that card within
30 days, in which case you should not be charged at all. T-Mobile then
sends you bill after bill each month, each month charging you for
another month's service. You call. You tell them that you cancelled
the service before the first 30 days. You tell them that you returned
the SIM card. They say that they cannot do anything. You yell and
scream, and finally one of their representatives, after putting you on
hold for 15 minutes, tells you that the best they can do is take $10 off
your now $150 bill. You ask to speak to a supervisor. He finally comes
on and understands that you know the law and are not giving up. He
finally does the right thing (we'll have to see) and says that he is
cancelling all charges and all the bills.


I won't even go into how difficult it is to order a SIM card for a
month-by-month plan, which is clearly visible on their website, but
impossible to order without ordering a $200 USB modem as well. It's
always amazing to me when I know more about a company's products (that
are featured prominently on that company's website) than their
representatives. I spent hours on the phone a month ago trying to order
a SIM card for their month-to-month data service. I already had a USB
modem that would accept their SIM card and just wanted the SIM card and
month-to-month service. Guess what? Impossible to order. If you
already have a USB modem from T-Mobile and just need to have data
service for one month, you have to buy another modem from T-Mobile for
that month? Use the data plan for two months, and you have to buy the
modem for sure. Now you have two modems at $200 each. Stop the plan
(it is month-to-month, by the way!) and you have to pay the monthly rate
of $24.99, the activation fee of $35, and buy another modem all over
again!!

After hours of speaking to T-Mobile sales and customer service reps, a
supervisor told me that the only solution around this was to order a
smartphone SIM card, then to call and change the service. Guess what?
The smartphone SIM card didn't work in the T-Mobile modem that I already
had. It was super slow. And then T-Mobile charged me over and over
again even though I returned the SIM card.

I wish a cell phone company would offer a simple data-only,
month-to-month data plan that is actually under $25 per month, lets you
stop and start service when you need without having to pay activation
fees each time, and will let you use the SIM card in a Blackberry, smart
phone, or USB modem for a laptop. T-Mobile is close, but watch out for
the above scenarios. Virgin Mobile's new plan is close, but requires
you to buy a Blackberry for $300 rather than allowing you to use your
old Blackberry. BS!

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Product Recommendations

I'm laid up with a giant bruise that turned into a bacteria-eating flesh wound of some sort. It's been six weeks now and looks like six more weeks before I am able to go diving again.

I'll recommend a few things below.

1. Western Digital Live Media Player: this little unit is fabulous. I held off on buying one since I figured that an existing PC could hook up to my TV and do everything I needed. After getting a $300 electricity bill the last two months, I am on a mission to reduce the power consumption of my devices. Anyway, this little unit does indeed read Mac-formatted disks, and it does indeed play back files recorded by a Media Center PC! It plays back just about every file that my Mac does. Incredible little machine.

2. I finally gave in a bought a hot tub (made by Sunshine or something like that). The thing costs $100 to $150 per month to use! Granted, I am using it on 110V. I will be putting a 220/240V outlet for this and this should reduce the energy consumption, but still -- this is a lot of money to run a hot tub. Regardless, I've experimented with keeping the water crystal clear. Besides using the shock chemicals about every 4-5 days rather than once a week, I HIGHLY recommend a product called Spa Bright and Clear. I had a problem with cloudy water, and despite keeping the water chemically up-to-date and the filter cleaned, I was still getting cloudy water. One treatment of Spa Bright and Clear made the water completely clear for a good three weeks. The product seems like little more than soap, but it is inexpensive and supposedly binds to small particles in the water, so that the particles can be captured by the filter.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Shame on Software Companies That Make It Hard on Users

I have been a long and loyal customer of Cradoc Software for 20 years. Every time they've come out with a new version of Fotoquote, their great and useful software to help photographers determine what fees to charge for the licensing of their images, I've immediately purchased a copy.

Regrettably, I will have to think long and hard before purchasing another copy of Cradoc Software's fotoquote software, and I've been putting off upgrading my version of Photoshop CS3 because of all the problems I've had with the activation of software.

These companies just don't get it. They are so concerned about the misuse of their software that they are willing to waste the time of their users. Here's a typical email dialog that I just had with Cradoc:

Norb:
I had to wipe the hard drive and reinstall all software on the computer used in our office by my office manager. It is a laptop but we use it as a desktop. Now FQ6 tells me that I have too many computers registered! This is the second time I've had problems registering my FQ6 sofware. I use FQ6 on my laptop and this office computer and spoke with someone there in the past and got the OK to use FQ6 this way. Of course, I rarely use FQ6 and rely on my office manager to use it. I am quite disturbed because my office manager has stopped using FQ6 for months now (without my knowledge) since she had so much trouble just getting the program to start. Very uncool.

I am not a happy customer particularly since no one seems to be in your office
to help with this stuff.

Cradoc:
Changes to your hard drive can alter the computer’s ID which is used to verify the activation of the software. When you “wiped the hard drive” your computer ID probably changed making the program think it was a new (3rd) computer resulting in the maxed out error message you received.

So that we can verify which computer ID to reset, please provide us with the computer ID from the machine that the program is still successfully activated on. To obtain the Computer ID follow the steps below.
....

Send the computer ID to me so that I can reset your activations allowing you to then activate on the other computer.

We recommend that if you plan on making significant changes to your computer such as installing a new hard drive and/or reinstalling the operating system, you first deactivate the program.

After these changes are made you can activate the software again to continue use. This helps prevent your activation from being affected by these changes and needing to rely on customer support to manually reset your activations.


Norb:
You guys fail to understand the needs of the customer. We are not
idiots. We would, if we could remember, to go to all the programs
needed to deactivate them when there is a problem with the computer.

Unfortunately, when there is a problem with the computer is precisely
the time that we would NOT remember to deactivate a program. And asking
a computer user to remember to deactivate a program is pretty ludicrous
if you think about it.

Come on Cradoc folks, live in the real world. YOu've got software that
folks out here appreciate, but you are pissing off your best customers.

Thanks for your software, but no thanks at all for wasting so much of my
time and not understanding the needs of your customers.

Norb

A last comment:
Cradoc wrote:
This helps prevent your activation from being affected by these changes and needing to rely on customer support to manually reset your activations.

Cradoc is ticked off (and says so on their website) that customers forget to write down the serial numbers and activation codes for their software. They now charge a fee to look up a lost registration code!!! So, a customer buys their software. He puts it on his laptop. He changes a laptop and loses his registration code. He has to pay to get that code back, when that code benefits Cradoc only, not him!!

Here's what Cradoc says on their site:

looking up lost registration codes was becoming a real problem. There is now a $10.00 charge for replacing lost registration codes. There is also a $10.00 service fee to send you a download link if you lose your program and have not backed it up.


Does anyone else agree that this is back-asswards customer relations? I buy the program, have to replace a laptop or otherwise service it, and then I have to pay to get a registration code, or I have to remember to deactivate this program beforehand? Who is going to remember this, seriously? And how messed up is Cradoc's attitude when they say: This helps prevent your activation from being affected by these changes and needing to rely on customer support to manually reset your activations.

These guys make life hard for their users, put in controls that waste their customers' time, and then they have the gall to say that they are unhappy that the customer has to rely on customer support to get the product working again?

WTF?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Paypal accounts: personal and otherwise

I don't like Paypal's sneaky business practices, but I do use it a lot. I've paid many folks now using Paypal personal accounts. Link to a checking or savings account. Don't link any credit cards and never accept a credit card payment. Do the minimum. If you accept a credit card payment or perhaps if you confirm your address, you get converted from a Paypal personal account to a premier or business account, whereby any funds you receive get hit with a 3% commission.

The thing I don't like about Paypal is how they hide this sort of information from you. Also, if you pay with Paypal rather than a credit card, you lose the edge in disputes. My credit card companies always take my side and have always refunded my money in full in disputes where I was clearly in the right. I used Paypal once, foolishly, to buy a camera on a fraudulent website. Paypal took weeks to investigate and would not refund $25 or so. One call to my credit card company took care of that. The credit card company told me that Paypal was a middleman and by using them, I gave up my right to use Amex/Visa directly to resolve disputes. Not a good thing.

But without Paypal, my small business would lose money accepting credit card payments. At least Paypal makes it easy for small businesses to accept credit card payments. But I'd like Paypal a lot more if their policies were much clearer, and they went to bat for folks using them as much as the credit card companies do.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Perfect Online Image Database Software: Summary

After years of searching, I have finally found a near-perfect solution to my needs: Stockbox Photo Software, made by a company in Canada (http://www.Stockboxphoto.com/). I was able to get this software up and running to service all my images in one day. It took only a few hours to customize it, and I am even able to put video clips on the database -- something no other leased software package has been capable of doing. Stockbox Software is both affordable and reasonably easy to install and administer, and it offers just about everything that I have ever wanted or needed for my website's image database.

It’s currently up and running at: www.norbertwu.com/lightbox/index.php

As far as I know, Stockbox is the only software platform that allows users to display any file formats that are viewable in a web browser, such as . gif, jpg, au, avi, aif, htm, html, mid, mp3, mpg, mov, png, ra, ram, rar, swf, wav, zip, wma, wmv and pdf. If the file format is not viewable from within a web browser, the system provides a link for users to download other formats and files so that the user can view or play them locally in the associated application.

Stockbox Photo is not perfect. The documentation is not great, and I encountered some obstacles that left me scratching my head until their technical support folks clarified things for me. Their staff seems small, which is reflected in their email response time. .

Movie files display in the gallery, but it is not possible to edit the movie files from within the system. The user has to choose the video frame that will serve as the preview frame of the video clip. Automating this process would be helpful. Because I do not have the time for all the steps that have to be taken to get video clips into the system, I have gone back to using Filemaker to show my video clips to clients.

My Search for the Perfect Online Image Database Software

An essential part of any photographer's kit of marketing tools -- particularly nature photographers -- is the searchable database of images for a photographer's website. This database allows clients to search a library of images to find an image or create lightboxes of their favorites for future reference. It took me years to find the right software for my needs and those of my clients.

Developing your own software:
I’ve had an internal database of my images since 1988. It began as a text file where I kept and printed out caption information for my best images. As personal computers and databases developed over the years, my database changed from a simple text database to a Filemaker database that included a visual of my image. I am still using that Filemaker database in my office.

Filemaker is known for its ease of use. I use it for invoicing, maintaining contacts, tracking submissions, organizing footage, recording timesheets for my staff, and several other office needs.

Because Filemaker is customizable, I can create databases to suit my needs. Off-the-shelf photographer-friendly software packages have the capabilities to do many of the functions I need but offer neither flexibility nor control. Microsoft Access is another popular database program worth considering.

Get the Database Online

If you are in business to license the usage rights to your images and have a fairly large library (more than 100) of saleable digitized images, you will want to get them online. One way to do this is to use static web pages. There are dozens of great programs that allow users to organize and search their image collections in-house. Examples are Aperture, iPhoto, Extensis Portfolio, Lightroom, ACDSee, and others. These programs will create static galleries of images that can be posted to the web, but once posted they cannot be modified, nor are they responsive to individual client needs.

To get more customizable results, you’ll need software that allows your clients to search for images by typing in keywords. There are several available, but many of them might not suit your needs.

Filemaker and other database programs

Filemaker offers a fairly easy way to post images to the web in a searchable database. You can see an example of this “Instant Web Publishing” method at:
http://norbcrocker.homedns.org:591 (log in as a guest, no password required). I’ve posted the best of my HDTV footage at that URL.

Filemaker is a fine database for internal use and can easily put images and video clips on the web. But to modify it to allow clients to create private lightboxes will require $20,000-$50,000 in development fees. And even at that price, there’s no guarantee you’ll get what you want. Price is determined by how much time and work is involved.  I saw one site that did exactly what I wanted. The developer told me that it had cost $250,000 to develop that particular site – way beyond my budget. Yikes!

Leasing Existing Software.

I have leased web-driven database software from Aurora & Quanta Production’s Independent Photography Network (IPN), Digital Railroad and most recently, PhotoShelter.


These are all web-based services that, for a price, allow you to upload your images into their system, include a web gallery to show off a “home page” using one of their pre-designed templates, and offer image search capabilities for your library. Clients can login and create private lightboxes of your images.

All of these companies have developed software that does a decent job. The problem is that once the companies have developed the software, they often try to increase their fees. Many companies form agencies or collectives based on their subscriber base, and strongly encourage their photographers to join the collective agency. Sometimes that requires giving up a percentage of your sales in return for their increased “marketing power.” I have always refused to give up this percentage.

IPN was purchased by the conglomerate that publishes Photo District News. I did not choose to join the new collective, even though the publisher admonished me with the line, “But you will missing out on all the sales to the advertising market. You don’t want to make money?” (The publisher left or was otherwise replaced from his position at PDN before the year was out).

Digital Railroad (DRR) had a great software platform, and I was with them for a couple of years after leaving IPN. They went bankrupt even though they had a base of a few hundred paying photographers. I was concerned that I had paid an annual fee rather than a monthly fee every September, and the November bankruptcy of DRR meant my entire annual fee (in the order of $600) would be lost. Thankfully, however, my credit card company resolved the dispute in my favor and refunded me for the remaining lost months. I learned a few lessons from this experience – always pay with a credit card that stands behind you, and try to pay these types of companies monthly rather than annually so you don’t get stiffed.

PhotoShelter made offers to stranded DRR clients, and I signed on with them. They have a nice program, but I have found a few problems with it. One of the biggest concerns I've had with PhotoShelter, is that thumbnail images are not presented with captions. As my images are editorial and usually require explanation, not including the caption could result in missed sales.


When I complained, I was told that PhotoShelter made the choice not to show captions below thumbnail images because captions would detract from the design of the web page. I had had a similar discussion with the folks at DRR, who finally allowed this feature two years after I requested it.

The ironic part of this is that I called PhotoShelter shortly after they sent me a mailing stating what designers and clients wanted to see in a photo search engine. One of the points was that clients wanted to see caption information associated with images, including thumbnails!

In summary, while putting your images with a company like IPN and PhotoShelter is a viable way to get your images into a searchable online database, getting into bed with these companies comes with frustrations. Natural history photographers need captions below thumbnail images so the clients will know what they are looking at.

The captions are all-important. I was shocked to learn that one of my online software providers did not even include captions in their search base -- only keywords. My office had to spend hours putting our caption information into the keyword field for our 6000 images in the library.

Off-the-shelf software
After years of searching, I have finally found a near-perfect solution to my needs: Stockbox Photo Software, made by a company in Canada (http://www.stockboxphoto.com/). I was able to get this software up and running to service all my images in one day. It took only a few hours to customize it, and I am even able to put video clips on the database -- something no other leased software package has been capable of doing. Stockbox software is both affordable and reasonably easy to install and administer, and it offers just about everything that I have ever wanted or needed for my website's image database.
It’s currently up and running at: www.norbertwu.com/lightbox/index.php
Because I have had experience setting up my own web pages, getting Stockbox to work was relatively easy. The folks at Stockbox Photo installed the software on the servers at my website hosting company after I supplied them with my username, password, and other information. A consultant I hired spent about three hours getting familiar with the software and showing me how to work with and modify the program; after that, I have been able to tweak the system with few problems.
Any photographer who decides to use Stockbox software will want to find a web hosting service that has enough expertise to help install the software. You can find web hosting services advertised in magazines such as PC World and MacWorld. Some will host your site (including specialized software) and give you email for less than $20 per month. The only thing you’ll need is high speed internet access (DSL, cable, satellite, etc from your home or office, so that you can access the software and images.
It is entirely possible to host Stockbox on a Mac, Linux, or Windows computer (server) in your office or home. The software requires specialized, but free, programs such as PHP 4.31 or later, My SQL 3.23.58 or later, Apache 1.3 or later, and some others. Most remote hosting services provide these software programs as part of their monthly fee.
As far as I know, Stockbox is the only software platform that allows users to display any file formats that are viewable in a web browser, such as . gif, jpg, au, avi, aif, htm, html, mid, mp3, mpg, mov, png, ra, ram, rar, swf, wav, zip, wma, wmv and pdf. If the file format is not viewable from within a web browser, the system provides a link for users to download other formats and files so that the user can view or play them locally in the associated application.
Stockbox Photo is not perfect. The documentation is not great, and I encountered some obstacles that left me scratching my head until their technical support folks clarified things for me. Their staff seems small, which is reflected in their email response time.
Movie files display in the gallery, but it is not possible to edit the movie files from within the system. The user has to choose the video frame that will serve as the preview frame of the video clip. Automating this process would be helpful. Because I do not have the time for all the steps that have to be taken to get video clips into the system, I have gone back to using Filemaker to show my video clips to clients.
Other Choices to Suit your Needs
Photographer needs vary depending on what you do with your images and with whom you are dealing. Filemaker or other programs can certainly work for a photographer who only needs to provide the most basic search capability of his library. If you only need to make submissions of static web pages of images to clients, then almost any imaging program can help you do this – examples in the Mac world include Photo Mechanic, iPhoto, Aperture and Extensis Portfolio. I use all of the preceding programs (except iPhoto) when static web pages are sufficient for my clients.
There are a world of alternatives out there for photographers. Extensis Netpublish is a software package that provides online search capability for a library of images. Extensis also makes the program Portfolio, which helps photographers manage images on their Mac or Windows computers – but offers no internet search capabilities. The AGPix online platform will host your images; and photographers can create lightboxes on this platform for clients.
My office handles the pricing and actual delivery of images to clients. All of our images are unique, and we price our images according to the usage, how difficult and expensive it was to obtain the image, how unique the image is, etc. The ecommerce capabilities of these software packages would not work for me. My office delivers high-resolution images via email and FTP once a fee has been agreed upon, and I do not rely on the above software to do the job, even though it may be capable of doing it. I strongly recommend that high-res images be sent only to trusted clients and only after they have paid for usage.
Making a Choice
Choose a program or service that is designed to be used over the web using a standard web browser. If you have a broadband internet connection, you can sit in your RV on the beach, upload images, and manage just about everything you may need. Once you’ve learned how the software works, it is quite easy to upload new images and make those new images available to clients. You can create a lightbox for a client to see, and clients can create their own lightboxes by searching your image database.
The 6000+ images on my website take up about 25gb of hard drive space. They are all saved in high-resolution 1-6mb JPGs. My existing web hosting service provides me with 30gb of space for under $15 per month. I can store my entire library of high-resolution images on their servers along with the Lightbox software .
Photoshelter hosted these same files and the same amount of space, charging a few hundred dollars annually to host the images, while providing their software for me to use. PhotoShelter will take a percentage of any online sales you may consummate with their service, but if you do not allow e-commerce sales on the site, this point is moot.
If your images and software are hosted by a remote server, you don’t have to worry about your server going down. However, you must still backup your images, software, and software settings. My web hosting service allows this to be done automatically. Regardless, I always have at least three hard drives with all my images backed up at my office, home, and a third location. I always input captions, keywords, and other metadata into the original, master images that I have in my office and not into any remote servers. This way, the metadata always stays with and travels with the original, master images – and is transferred to lower-resolution versions if needed. If I change services or software, none of the metadata is lost in transition.
Conclusion
There are some pluses to leasing software as opposed to owning it. Whenever a leasing company comes up with new capabilities, you will benefit from them immediately. If a purchased software program is upgraded substantively, you must pay for the new iteration. For photographers who are fairly new to the business, don’t have much experience administering photo databases and websites, or who want a relatively painless solution to putting their images online, then services such as PhotoShelter are probably the best choice.
If you have a fair amount of computer expertise, are tired of services making choices for you, and know exactly what you want in an online searchable database of images, then a software package that you own, such as Stockbox Photo, might be the perfect solution.
No matter your choice, keep in mind that getting your images online and searchable does not guarantee that people will see them. That requires marketing skills and hard work.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hunt for Giant Pacific Octopus and Wolf Eels, God's Pocket Resort, September 5-12, 2010

My friend Alan Studley and I have put together a special trip at God's
Pocket Resort, at the tip of Vancouver Island, home to some of the
world's best diving. Pt. Hardy is home to some of the best diving in the world, and God's Pocket resort is a real treasure. The rooms are all land-based, very comfortable, with their own bathrooms and showers. The food was absolutely great last time.

Why is this special? First, God's Pocket is home to some of the world's
best diving, and God's Pocket is home to some of the best meals in any
diving lodge that we've experienced. Second, there's a place called
Dillon Rock that we have found gives the best wolf eel and giant
Pacific octopus encounters we've ever seen. See our video and still
images as an example of a friendly giant octopus encounter at Dillon
Rock (soon to be posted on Norb's website).

Some photos of the resort and the diving, as well as a giant octopus encounter, can be seen here:
http://gallery.me.com/astudley/100100
http://gallery.me.com/astudley/100114


For this trip only, we will have the use of God's Pocket's Hurst Isle or
Shoal Searcher, a houseboat or dive boat that we will anchor over Dillon
Rock for three days. This will give a select group of eight divers (per
day unlimited diving at this haven for wolf eels and giant octopus.
Rebreathers are welcome.

This is a rare opportunity to spend unlimited time on a fantastic dive
site with the world's most unusual underwater animals.

The dive boat or houseboat will be limited to eight divers per day,
including the trip leaders Norbert Wu and Alan Studley (actually, the boat will be limited to only seven divers, since one of Alan’s pals is coming for hiking/kayaking but will not be diving) . We will return to God's Pocket each night for their fantastic meals and comfortable rooms. We will be the only group of divers; where the boat usually holds up to 16 divers, we will have only 7! We will be able to go wherever we want to go.

The trip will be a six day, seven night trip. You will need to arrive in Pt. Hardy to meet the boat to the resort on September 5 evening, and the boat will get you back to Pt. Hardy on September 12 at 9AM. Trip cost includes all diving, meals, accommodations, shared land room for two. More logistical details will be coming if you sign up.

Information on the resort itself can be seen at:

http://www.godspocket.com/



Hope you can make it!!

Norb

Announcing Trip to California's Channel Islands, August 20-23, 2010

Join professional photographers Jason Bradley, Kevin McDonnell and special guest Norbert Wu on board Truth Aquatics' vessel Vision for 4 days of diving and photographing California's Channel Islands. Space on the boat is limited, so sign up today! Diving, accommodations, air fills, food, slide shows and seminars are all included.

I will be on this trip as a guest, but will be there mainly to heckle my friends Jason and Kevin as they lead the trip. The trip dates are August 20-23. Trip cost is $890. San Clemente Island, one of my favorite dive spots in the world. Clear water, fairly warm (not Monterey cold!), kelp forests, garibaldi! What more could you want?

Here's what Jason has written:

We are limiting the boat to 23 people not including staff. It will be a limited load, southern islands, underwater photography workshop. We are going to San Clemente island, but will likely do ship rock and black sea bass at Catalina. If conditions are good, maybe we can go to Santa Barbara--unless that messes with the fuel charge. As people sign up on the site I will immediately contact them to take bunk assignments.

More information and the trip flyer:

http://bradleyphotographic.com/workshops.html


Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm often asked what dive gear to bring on a trip. I have dove a great deal in cold waters, and I have most recently gotten very interested in the great diving at the tip of Vancouver Island, at a place called God's Pocket. In fact, I am leading trips there this year and next, the first trips I've led in a long while. Below are my recommendations on dive gear, which apply to California waters as well:

What Diving Gear Should I Bring?

Question:

> It looks great. I'm very interested... Having the opportunity to dive> there with you and Norbert would be fantastic. The "warm water wimp" in me still needs to know -- water temps? 45-47 degrees? I don't have dry gloves. Do you think I'd be okay in a drysuit with thick undergarments, thick hood and thick wet gloves. I didn't have any problems last year but the water temp was low 50s.

Answer:

I don't think that I am that unusual. I get cold just like anyone else. The gear has come a long way in the last 15 years, to the point where diving in 45-50 degree water means very little. I do dive Monterey, but not much these days -- not because of the cold, but because I've dove it so much that it is boring to me now.

However, Alan Studley is far more of an explorer and has some GREAT dive sites there that awed me when I went out with him. They are a bit more work, more wild and wooly, than I am comfortable with, however.

Diving with God's Pocket is easier since they have the boat and knowledge of the currents. I hate to say it, but the animal life is more prolific, colorful, and interesting too.

Anyway, back to getting cold. The best undergarments aren't necessarily thick. I have found, and Studley and many others will agree, that the Fourth Element two -piece Arctic drysuit undergarments are the best. They are not too thick so you have lots of flexibility. If you combine the Arctic with the Drybase thermal bases (basically, thick polypro long johns) then I think that you will be toasty. I used this combination in Antarctica and I was fine.

I believe that Fourth Element has a dealer on the East Coast.

You won't need dry gloves, nor particularly thick gloves. I find thick gloves very difficult to put on and just use fairly thin, flexible neoprene gloves. I don't like gauntlet gloves or gloves with big velcro bands around them; they are just harder to put on.

As for hoods, the absolute best, warmest hood I can recommend (I just used ONE of these hoods in Antarctica last season and was fine; I used to use an ice cap under a hood in past seasons) is the Henderson Hyperstretch Hybrid Dry Suit Hood.

I also like flexible drysuits. I really like the DUI TLS 350 drysuits and have always used them since day one. They are lightweight, durable, dry out quickly, and are a shell. I do not recommend the rock boots and prefer the standard booties. I do have latex neck seals and latex wrist seals. I have Sitec rings put on the suit; latex wrist seals fit into them, and if I am diving Antarctica, cheap rubber concrete mixing gloves fit over them to create dry gloves. No Zipseals (too expensive for me but I have heard good things about them). You might find the Sitec rings to be too big. They do add bulk and do get in the way sometimes, but I am very used to them. They allow the changing of wrist seals in the field very quickly. Then I just use thick wool socks and I am fine.

I hope that this helps. In Antarctica, I use much the same gear except for drygloves, which I can describe if anyone asks.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Duplicating the New Transponder Car Keys

If you buy a newer car, you'll find that having a spare key for the car made at your dealers will cost $150 to $200. Ouch! This is because the newer cars require transponder keys. The keys need to be cut as before, but they also have electronics in the fob that communicate with the car itself.

I read about getting transponder key "blanks" in a newspaper column a few months ago, and I ordered keys for our cars. One is a 2008 Toyota, and the other is a 2010 Subaru. The newspaper column made it seem that the process was easy -- just go to the internet stores that the column recommended, buy the transponder keys, and you are basically done. I'm here to tell you that it is not so easy.

Getting a blank transponder key is only the first step. Once you have a blank key (the one for my Toyota cost $15), you have to find a locksmith that has the proper programming tools and program for your car. No locksmith in the Monterey, California area where I live could do this for me. The dealers, of course, refuse to do this. I called the internet store to ask for a solution and they recommended that I consult a web directory to find auto locksmiths in my area. I did so, and I found the names of a few auto locksmiths in the San Jose area, about a 2 hour drive from Monterey.

Out of four auto locksmiths that I called, only one person was remotely friendly or helpful. All the others quoted a price of $150 or more, or acted like they did not understand what I wanted to do. I drove up one weekday on other business and stopped off at Schwenk Lock & Safe, near Valley Fair shopping mall in San Jose. The owner, Yevgeny, was a jovial, very nice and helpful person. He berated be (nicely) for buying a transponder key on the internet, and then spent a good 30 minutes getting my key to work. He warned me continually that it was possible that after all his work, that the key would not work. In the end, it did work, and he charged me a measly $35 for all his time. I highly recommend these folks. I also recommend that you call them first, find out if they can get the transponder key for you ahead of time, and then bring in your car for a spare key. This will be the most efficient and painless way to get a spare key for your newer model car mde.

My 2010 Subaru is too new for the auto locksmith. I'll be returning the key to the internet store, and I'll post here if they do or do not honor their "no questions asked, no time limit" return policy.




Here are the vendors I used:
For the transponder keys: www.autotransponder.com, 1-866-595-9596. This internet store supplied me with the key "blanks." I do believe that their FAQ page was a bit misleading. It states, among other things: "New keys can be cut from a spare original. Transponder key comes with complete instructions, which require a second working programmed key. "

The truth is, my keys came with no instructions whatsoever. Creating a working spare key from the transponder requires that the actual car be present along with a working programmed key. If I had been told this first, it would have saved a few hours of driving around looking for locksmiths and visiting the car dealer in Monterey.

To find an auto locksmith in my area: www.autolocksmithfinder.com

The auto locksmith that programmed my Toyota key: Schwenk Lock & Safe, 60 N Winchester Blvd #4, San Jose, CA. yevgeny@locktools.com, 408-978-0403.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

holy cow, Creative Cow? Why so hostile to a newcomer?

Dear Ron:  (and for my web-savvy friends whom I have bcc:d on this, let me know if I am out of line here, since I am gasping in disbelief at the acrimony arising from my using my email address that says "temp1@****.com"):

Holy cow!  I  can't believe the acrimony arising from my using my email address that says "temp1@****.com".  So, here's my explanation. 

I have three addresses that I use a lot. 

spam@****.com is one of them.  It happens to be an email address that I give out to friends and which I use for personal correspondence and for things like forums,  Amazon, etc.  I sometimes travel for weeks at a time.  I have a Blackberry that can cost me a lot of money to get emails when I am in, for instance, Indonesia.  So, for urgent work-related emails, I have an address that my office and business uses.  I check those when I am overseas.  

My "spam@****.com" email address is for personal stuff that is not usually urgent.  The name is something I chose waggishly since it is one that I give to friends.  I usually don't have those emails forwarded to my Blackberry.  That's the background behind the "spam@****.com" email.   Emails coming to any addresses that are spam are filtered out anyway before they reach me, largely. 

Now, I do use email addresses beyond those.  Anyone who is worried about spam and values their email privacy would do so.  My "temp1@****.com" address forwards into my "spam@****.com" address.  Using a "temp1@****.com" address doesn't filter emails for spam any more or less than my office and work emails might.  It actually is a permanent email that just happens to be named "temp1".  I am shocked that doing something as simple as this would irritate a forum manager to the point where he sends a irate message to a new member. 

You are making a ton of assumptions about me based on something as innocuous as the email address I used to register on your site.  Wow.  It's almost like being labelled a nerd just because my name is Norbert and I am Chinese in descent. 

Holy cow again! 
--   Norb 

On 4/17/10 7:04 PM, Ron Lindeboom wrote:
Norman,

Yes, I work hard and I wrestle with high blood pressure and so sometimes I get bitchie.

But as I said: we take offense at "temp" addresses that are used in our site.

You take offense that someone MIGHT send you something from here and so you use it.

If you don't like our site, don't use it.

I will gladly turn off your account as I am always ready to cull the herd, even when it's someone whom we own one of their books in our library. (Your Antarctica title.)

You DID say our work was spam, by using the temp address -- you even admitted it was used to avoid spam.

We got the message.






Dear Ron:

Wow.  Maybe you have been working too hard.  I have that problem often, but I try not to flame new clients or new contacts.

  Sorry for the email that voiced my concerns, but perhaps you can take it as constructive criticism rather than bringing in the three irrelevant responses you gave:

1.  We spent over 8 million dollars building this and we do it our way.

How much you've spent on the site was not relevant to my email to you.  I am actually impressed by the site, but obviously it is not welcoming to new members.


2.  We weren't impressed by you, either.

How could you have been impressed or unimpressed by a brand-new member of your site?


3.  we are offended by people who think all our work and effort is spam.

Now, where did I ever say this?

Holy crap, creative cow.  And Ron.





On 4/17/10 12:41 PM, Ron Lindeboom wrote:
We get lots of these temporary email account sign-ups, Norbert, and we turn them off.

Yes, we are indeed autocratic and we also don't apologize for it. We spent over 8 million dollars building this and we do it our way.

Weren't impressed by us? We weren't impressed by you, either.

This site isn't on auto-pilot. And just as you are offended by autocratic site admins, we are offended by people who think all our work and effort is spam.

Please don't feel the need to contribute if you don't want to, we have over 2 million people a month that do. We keep the serious ones who sign up for real and we toss the others. We call it "culling the herd."



What?
What kind of message is this to send to a new user?
Has an email sent to temp2@****.com bounced yet?
Is there a reason to give a new user this negative feeling of having joined some kind of autocratic organization?

I am a 25-year veteran of photography and filmmaking.  I have multiple email addresses to avoid spam. I have a lot to contribute to a forum, but this message, and the incredible amount of administrative governance that I've encountered so far make me far less inclined to contribute to this forum or to even visit it.   Just posting my first thread and getting a warning every time I posted a reply that it would be monitored, as well as the arrogance exhibited by one of your "experts", has left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Wow.  I am not impressed with Creative Cow.

Norb



On 4/17/10 11:16 AM, Ron Lindeboom wrote:
Hello Norbert,

I wanted to point out that the account using temp2@****.com will be deactivated the first time that the email bounces.

That is our policy.

Best regards,

The COW Team



*********************
Parts of my original post to the forum and a surprisingly hostile reply:
For the full thread, read:
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1081667

Note that each time Norb posted to the forum, he got a warning message that his message was being moderated for quality or substance before being released. 


digitizing HDCAM library to ProRes422HQ process
by Norbert Wu on Apr 5, 2010 at 1:06:47 pm

Hi folks:

I am hoping that I can get some suggestions from folks here. Thanks in advance.

I have a library of about 250 HDCAM tapes that I hope to digitize to the ProRes422HQ format. Here is my plan, and I wonder if anyone sees any glaring errors in it or has suggestions to go this more efficiently or cheaply. Am I missing anything?

1. I will buy a used Sony J-H3 HDCAM deck to play back the tapes. This will give me an SDI output. I plan to sell the J-H3 deck after digitizing my tapes. I could also buy a J-H1 deck which outputs component HD, but I’ve heard that SDI will give a cleaner signal. It does seem that J-H3 decks sell more quickly and there is more demand for them than the J-H1 decks.

2. I’ll take the SDI output from the J-H3 deck and feed it into a Matrox MXO2 LE box.

3. My Mac tower will do most of the computing work. I will take the output from the Matrox box and convert it using Final Cut Pro version 6 (the latest I have), I will convert the footage to ProRes422HQ. My Mac is a 2 x 2.66 Ghz Dual-Core Intel Xeon with 3Gb RAM.

4. I have a MacGurus Burly Firewire 800 enclosure. My Mac will feed the ProRes422HQ footage into a Hitachi 2Tb hard drive using Firewire 800. I have heard that I should use RAID to avoid dropped frames, but I am not sure what flavor of RAID to use. Instead, I plan to capture footage to a drive, then clone the drive as backup. I’ve heard that Firewire 800 will be just fine to capture my footage.

I’ve heard this statement: “You can capture ProRes to a single drive, but it may be safer to capture to a RAID to ensure there are no dropped frames.” Can anyone tell me what flavor of RAID I should use and how that would avoid dropped frames? My enclosure will allow me to set various RAID settings (software and hardware based, but I am told that the software based RAID is superior: Performace is superior using software RAID with OSX Disk Utility … and not the firmware RAID configured using the bridge RAID configurations).

5. Most of my tapes were shot in 1080i, but about 25 tapes were shot in 23.98. I shoot with an older F900 camera and after digitizing all existing tapes, I hope to sell the deck, and to use the camera to digitize any new tapes. Since the Matrox box has component HD as an input, I believe that I can simply feed my footage using the F900 camera to the Matrox box and use the procedure outlined above. Am I correct?

6. I’ve heard this statement:
The only other issue needing research is monitoring the video levels for capture. I don't know if the signal can get messed up during capture.

If anyone can explain the above and how I can solve any possible problem thereby, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Many thanks in advance for any suggestions on the above. I am looking for a used J-H3 deck and a Matrox box to buy if anyone has one.

Norbert Wu

Norb
----------------------------------------
Norbert Wu Productions
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
USA

*******
Re: digitizing HDCAM library to ProRes422HQ process
by Shane Ross on Apr 5, 2010 at 1:31:19 pm

HQ is overkill. HDCAM is an 8-bit 3:1:1 format. IF it was HDCAM SR, you might choose HQ. But all that does for HDCAM is take up more space.

That is a LOT of footage. 75GB per hour, so I hope those tapes aren't 1 hour tapes. Even if they are 30 min tapes, that is about 9.6TB of space. 14.1 TB at HQ.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

*******
Re: digitizing HDCAM library to ProRes422HQ process
by David Roth Weiss on Apr 5, 2010 at 1:45:07 pm

[Shane Ross] "75GB per hour"

Interesting, my Digital Heaven VideoSpace widget said 62.04 per hour.

Must be because it defaults to 2-channels of audio, when HDCAM actually has 4-channels.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™
EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards
A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.

*******
Re: digitizing HDCAM library to ProRes422HQ process
by Shane Ross on Apr 5, 2010 at 2:39:17 pm

According to my AJA iPhone App, it is 75.3GB, with 2 CH of audio.

Shane
GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

*******
Re: digitizing HDCAM library to ProRes422HQ process
by Arnie Schlissel on Apr 5, 2010 at 3:45:54 pm

[Shane Ross] "According to my AJA iPhone App, it is 75.3GB, with 2 CH of audio."

Yes, but what does your iPad say?

BTW, did you see Stephen Colbert chop salad with his?

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/

*******
Re: digitizing HDCAM library to ProRes422HQ process
by Norbert Wu on Apr 5, 2010 at 1:45:55 pm

Thanks for the speedy replies regarding hard drive space. Hitachi 2Tb drives are $150 or so -- so I am not concerned about buying up to ten hard drives, and I believe my library of about 170 hours should only fill up 6 to 8 Tb, or 3 to 4 drives. That is a tiny amount of money compared to the cost of buying or renting a deck.

Anyone see any glaring errors in this process otherwise?

Thanks.
Norb
----------------------------------------
Norbert Wu Productions

*******
Re: digitizing HDCAM library to ProRes422HQ process
by David Roth Weiss on Apr 5, 2010 at 2:01:47 pm

[Norbert Wu] "Anyone see any glaring errors in this process otherwise? "

Norbert, two of the forum leaders have already given you the same answer. What additional info could you really need?

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™
EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards
A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.

*******
Re: digitizing HDCAM library to ProRes422HQ process
by Norbert Wu on Apr 5, 2010 at 2:12:06 pm

Well, I did have some other, perhaps more difficult questions in my post other than the hard drive space required. I do appreciate any answers to those questions, and I thank the two experts for their answers about hard drive space.

Norb
----------------------------------------
Norbert Wu Productions
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
USA

there's more to the forum thread, all of which was helpful. 

David Roth Weiss, Creative Cow: why so hostile?  We're all just out here trying to get along. 

creative cow community for video folks -- dang, weird place

On 4/17/10 12:41 PM, Ron Lindeboom wrote:
> We get lots of these temporary email account sign-ups, Norbert, and we
> turn them off.
>
> Yes, we are indeed autocratic and we also don't apologize for it. We
> spent over 8 million dollars building this and we do it our way.
>
> Weren't impressed by us? We weren't impressed by you, either.
>
> This site isn't on auto-pilot. And just as you are offended by
> autocratic site admins, we are offended by people who think all our
> work and effort is spam.
>
> Please don't feel the need to contribute if you don't want to, we have
> over 2 million people a month that do. We keep the serious ones who
> sign up for real and we toss the others. We call it "culling the herd."
>
>
>>
>> What?
>> What kind of message is this to send to a new user?
>> Has an email sent to temp2@***.com bounced yet?
>> Is there a reason to give a new user this negative feeling of having
>> joined some kind of autocratic organization?
>>
>> I am a 25-year veteran of photography and filmmaking. I have
>> multiple email addresses to avoid spam. I have a lot to contribute to
>> a forum, but this message, and the incredible amount of
>> administrative governance that I've encountered so far make me far
>> less inclined to contribute to this forum or to even visit it. Just
>> posting my first thread and getting a warning every time I posted a
>> reply that it would be monitored, as well as the arrogance exhibited
>> by one of your "experts", has left a very bad taste in my mouth.
>>
>> Wow. I am not impressed with Creative Cow.
>>
>> Norb
>>
>
>
On 4/17/10 11:16 AM, Ron Lindeboom wrote:
Hello Norbert,

I wanted to point out that the account using temp2@***.com will be
deactivated the first time that the email bounces.

That is our policy.

Best regards,

The COW Team