[This is the text of Surf’s Up column, published in the St. John's Telegram on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. I have a lot of catching up to do!]
It’s funny how the economics of photography has changed. About three decades ago, I would watch my spending to muster the $20 I needed to get a roll of 35mm film developed at the Sooter’s outlet near my house. I ordered doubles for an extra buck, and always knew I had to be careful with every frame I shot.
Nowadays, Sooter’s is a long-ago memory, I haven’t shot actual film in years, I rarely get prints made at all, and I take more pictures than ever, on various devices.
The habit of not making prints is not a good one, I realize. I’m trying to get better at making printed records of our lives, loved ones, friends and travels. We’ve also noticed that our photo albums, so full of images of the not-that-long-ago, have scarcely anything from the last few years!
I’ve become enamored of a tool I tried out, which delivered results that happily exceeded my expectations.
The first thing you need to know about Prinstagram – surprise! – is that you already have be an Instagram user. This will obviously eliminate many people from the list of potential clients, but those that use the photo-filter-and-sharing app should draw closer. Prinstagram makes it easy, almost too easy, to get a bunch of prints made, with specialty products.
I ordered a couple of dozen prints (four inches by four inches) of some of my favourite shots, for us at home, and for family members. They arrived with days (from a plant in Taiwan, I might note) on heavyweight paper with excellent colour reproduction, suitable for framing.
I also ordered stickers that we intend to use in the future for invitations, marking possessions and (really thinking ahead) next season’s Christmas cards. They are unique, and drenched in colour.
I also ordered a poster made up of preferred shots, and the plan is to frame that for my home office.
The prices are reasonable; a set of 24 pictures is $12. The shipping, though, looks formidable - $15 (to anywhere, mind you), which seems like a lot, although it’s a flat rate, which becomes more sensible when you order several products at once things.
The best bit: I received my photos and stickers a few days after I ordered them. That’s pretty decent.
There are other services in the same field, including PostalPix, which I will be trying out. I’ll keep you abreast.
Elsewhere this week
There’s a growing body of research that is focused solely on social media and whether our digital chatter reflects genuine swings in public opinion, intention or influence. (Case in point: November’s U.S. presidential election.) This is a different sort of index. It measures what people are saying on Twitter about the movies nominated for Best Picture, and more particularly, how those comments can be perceived in terms of being positive or negative. Read the background first as you peruse the chart, which is updated regularly. For what it’s worth, Silver Linings Playbook has a digital edge over the critical favourite, Lincoln.
Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal, creator of countless infographic cartoons and author of bestsellers (cf. How To Tell if Your Cat Is Trying To Kill You), turns his attention to where things currently stand in the digital universe. It’s like reading a digest from cNet or Mashable, except it’s illustrated, and funny.
Snow Day Soduku
If the prospect of spending a winter's evening picking out numerals on a plain old puzzle board seems dull, try this app that is perfect for the season. It may seem a little Christmassy, but the falling snow got me in the right mood on one relaxed wintry evening last week.