The New Polaroid

For a few months, I’ve been kicking around a few ideas related to printing photos. I feel like I’m at the point where I would love to have some physical copies of photos I take on my phone. I’ve dabbled with printing services — from printing on glass to metal to paper. But there always seems to be some hurdle — no matter how small — to entry. There are some fancy and expensive solutions out there, but what do you do?

A cheap Polaroid printer caught my eye.

I must be up-front about these facts:

  1. The color reproduction is terrible.
  2. The resolution is terrible.
  3. It fits in your pocket.
  4. It’s battery powered, and rechargeable via USB.
  5. It wirelessly prints via Bluetooth from your phone.
  6. Prints are about 40¢ each.
  7. …but they’re also stickers.
  8. And to be honest, it feels really cheaply made.

So, let me reiterate: it’s a terrible printer. But then, a Polaroid instant camera produces terrible prints. So it somehow works out. But with all of the above caveats out of the way:

IT IS SOOOOOOOO FUN!

Seriously. You continue to take photos the way you always do: with your cellphone’s camera. But then you can turn any random event into something a little more permanent, a little more lasting — something you can glimpse as you glance at your magnetic whiteboard or refrigerator. Oh — did I mention that the prints are also stickers? So here’s a random selection from my magnetic whiteboard at work:

(In the future: more of the promised adventures of Disneyland and Harry Potter World.) But for now, the fact that you can just take a random picture at a bar and print it out there, no matter how terrible the rendition, is pretty freakin’ cool. You always have the full-res on the phone. (And uploaded to Instagram and Facebook, if that’s your kink.) But honestly, when it comes to thoughts and emotions and memories, FM radio has taught me that if I really love a song, a cassette tape recorded off the air, with the DJ gabbing at one end and the first split-second of a mattress commercial at the other, is perfectly fine on my emotional mix-tape of beloved songs. I don’t need full high-definition 600DPI, wide color gamut to give me happy memories of the pub with friends.

First Post!

I have been blogging in some form or other since 2001. It all started on LiveJournal. The blog back then was what you’d expecct from a 20-something goth kid in a MySpace-dominated, pre-Facebook, world. The party last night was epic. Check out this neat link. I’ve been listing to this album on repeat for hours. Let me tell you all about the drama with this group of people. It was entirely rambling and unfocused.

Around 2007, I migrated to my own host. Netninja hosted mostly hackery things, but not much personal. The blog kind of took focus and the hacker material dropped into the background. At some point in the past 5-ish years, and since I started using Twitter, I decided to focus strictly on blogging about projects I’m working on. Document the process. Share the source code and files. My outlet for that personal stuff that had been clogging up my blog became Twitter. Twitter is satifying in some respects, but has some built-in constraints, given the (then) 140 character limit. While it’s fun to push yourself to work within those constraints, I feel like I need a bit more room to stretch out.

I feel that the future of Facebook and Twitter is in question, given privacy, Russia, overbearing advertising, and 3rd party client limitations. Posts to Netninja already cross-post to Twitter and Facebook, and my plan is to keep that as a project diary, but there’s no reason not to set up a new place to host personal stuff. So why not stretch out into a new personal blog?

This will be a transitional experiment. I have no idea how much I’ll write on here versus Twitter, but I am going to give it a try. At the moment, I’m writing this at 30,000 feet, on my way to Disneyland. I expect the theme park to be the first set of posts you’ll see on this blog. The captain has turned off the seatbelt light. I’m free to stretch out and move around the cabin.

But for now, I have a cheese platter in front of me to photograph and enjoy.