Another day at Starbucks
Computer Battery

Image by Ed Yourdon
This is the Starbucks establishment on Broadway, between 94th & 95th Street. I took a picture of it yesterday, too, with the same reflected scene of buildings across the street, on the east side of Broadway (in fact, you can see the reflected awning of the Key West Diner & Cafe).

There’s nothing particularly striking or unusual about this scene; but I’m always intrigued to see a slightly different set of characters in there, each in his own world, each sipping coffee or munching on a snack while texting or chatting on a cell-phone, or working on a computer…

Note: this photo was published in a May 31, 2009 blog titled "Zesty foodbites van deze week." And it was used to help illustrate a June 2009 Boorah blog titled "Amsterdam Cafe, New York – 79%." And it was used to illustrate an Aug 2009 Boorah blog titled "Starbuck’s Coffee – New York." More recently, it was published in a Sep 2, 2009 Consumerist blog titled "AT&T To Offer Free Wi-Fi Hotspot Access To Windows Mobile Users." It was also published in a Jun 28, 2010 blog titled Is "The Times’ Paywall Already Bad News?" And it was published in a Jul 6, 2010 blog titled "What Does Distribution Really Mean for Self-Publishers? It was also published in an Aug 17, 2010 blog titled "20 Facts About The World of College Freshmen."

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in an Apr 25, 2011 blog titled "???????????? ?." It was also published in a May 2, 2011 blog titled "Clueless Starbucks Customers Get Robbed All the Time."

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a May 21, 2012 blog titled "5 Brands With Great Mobile Marketing Apps." It was also published in a Nov 1, 2012 blog titled "Starbucks to trial wireless tabletop charging over holiday season."

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This is part of an evolving photo-project, which will probably continue throughout the summer of 2008, and perhaps beyond: a random collection of "interesting" people in a broad stretch of the Upper West Side of Manhattan — between 72nd Street and 104th Street, especially along Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

I don’t like to intrude on people’s privacy, so I normally use a telephoto lens in order to photograph them while they’re still 50-100 feet away from me; but that means I have to continue focusing my attention on the people and activities half a block away, rather than on what’s right in front of me.

I’ve also learned that, in many cases, the opportunities for an interesting picture are very fleeting — literally a matter of a couple of seconds, before the person(s) in question move on, turn away, or stop doing whatever was interesting. So I’ve learned to keep the camera switched on (which contradicts my traditional urge to conserve battery power), and not worry so much about zooming in for a perfectly-framed picture … after all, once the digital image is uploaded to my computer, it’s pretty trivial to crop out the parts unrelated to the main subject.

For the most part, I’ve deliberately avoided photographing bums, drunks, and crazy people. There are a few of them around, and they would certainly create some dramatic pictures; but they generally don’t want to be photographed, and I don’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. I’m still looking for opportunities to take some "sympathetic" pictures of such people, which might inspire others to reach out and help them. We’ll see how it goes …

The only other thing I’ve noticed, thus far, is that while there are lots of interesting people to photograph, there are far, far, far more people who are not so interesting. They’re probably fine people, and they might even be more interesting than the ones I’ve photographed … but there was just nothing memorable about them.

McGuyvering my phone
Computer Battery

Image by Scott M
As soon as I arrived in Europe, my cell phone decided that it wasn’t going to charge anymore. I bought a European charger specifically for the phone, but it refused to work. Then I tried buying a charger while in Germany and it still wouldn’t charge. Then I tried connecting it to a USB cable to computers at the local internet cafe. Finally, I got desperate and hacked up one fo the usb cables, jury-rigged some rechargable batteries and tried to charge the phone that way. The phone recognized that there was voltage connected, but it still refused to charge. Eventually, it *was* the phone and I got it replaced. I think that had the phone not actually been broken, this would have worked.


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