Saturday, January 21, 2012

Picnik is Packin' Up - Headed to Google+

Previously Created through Picnik.com
Sun is going down and the mosquitoes are coming out - Time to Pack Up!
My favorite web based photo editing site is packing up its basket and folding up its blanket. At least it is a green product and will be recycling. As of April 19th this year, Picnik.com will be closing its photo editing site. Apparently, they have been working in conjunction with Google+ and moving some of their popular photo treatment effects into Google+'s Creative Kit.

They are Making it EASY!
Not only are they giving us a handy dandy tool to download all of our creations into neat zip folders onto our computers called Picnik Takeout, they also give us the option to transfer them to our Google+ accounts as well. I will be doing this in the next few weeks and am sure I will be seeing a HUGE influx of new photography swarming G+.

Money Back? Who Does that These Days?
Apparently Picnik.com does! I have had a premium membership with them for a very long while now. I am not sure when my membership runs out but apparently that doesn't matter. They are not pro-rating it. Here is what they say about refunds:
To our primo Picnik Premium members, we’ll begin processing a full refund of your current membership fee within a week of this announcement. By “full” we mean the whole darn thing. Yep, this means even if you are on your very last day of an annual membership, we will refund you the entire $24.95. Just because we want to say thanks.
All I have to say to that is - NICE JOB! This has to be one of the best transition schemes I have seen in a very long time. I think that Netflix should have talked to these guys before making the horrible turns they did with their customers. Apparently Picnik knows how to make their customers happy and keep their image good - REFUNDS!

Uncertainty Still Ahead...
Even with all of the niceties trying to ease the blow, the fact still remains that a very popular, easy, and powerful web based photo editing site is going away. It may be headed to Google+ but certainly isn't in its full form there. Also, if someone does not have a G+ account then it will seem that Picnik will be completely taken away from them. Sure, they are opening up their site with full access to all premium content until they close down in April, but after that, there will be a very large group of users that will be left waiting for the next easy-to-use, quality, inexpensive, photo editing software to pop up somewhere that is not attached to a social networking site.

I May Be Alone...
The comments at the Picnik Blog are overwhelmingly negative. The vast majority of Picnik users who have commented do not use Google+, think that Picnik sold out to Google, and are very upset that one of their favorite tools will be leaving them. I may be alone in thinking that this is the best possible alternative, but I think it is. If a business needs to do something to boost themselves in this economy, they need to find something big to ride the coat tails of. Now I don't believe that Google+ has grown or will grow to anything comparable to Facebook. However, I do believe that G+ is a very valuable and useful networking/socializing site. If they strengthen their photo editing and effects, then it will be that much more attractive to someone who has never used it. I think that this will be a win for Google+ as long as it works properly. Everyone on there is going to have fun with the effects they can apply through the technology that Picnik used so I may be alone in thinking this is a good idea but not in the G+ community.

What's YOUR Take?
I want to hear from you! Let me know what you think about this transition.
  1. Had you ever used Picnik.com before?
  2. Were you a premium member?
  3. Are you a Google+ user?
  4. Do you plan on joining Google+ because of this?
  5. Do you think that Picnik sold out to Google?
  6. If you used Picnik and don't plan on using Google+, do you have any other editing software or site in mind?
What's Not There When the Sun Goes Down.
Created using Google+ Creative Kit
I will miss my Picnik and am really hoping that it will not flop in Google+. I liked going to a specific site when I wanted to edit a photo or add effects to it. I didn't have to share it but I was able to share on multiple sites from that single point. Google+ gives me the ability to share to specific people, within my circles, or even to the whole public which isn't the same, but still allows control. However, the Creative Kit is still lacking in some of my favorite Picnik effects such as Selective Focus and the Frames including the vignetting and museum matting. So here we are at the end of the day. The sun has set and the car is all packed and ready for home, I just hope I don't get indigestion.

Monday, January 02, 2012

2012 - The Year of Loose Ends and iTrue Predictions


The New Year Has Come and people are scrambling everywhere to see family, hang out with friends, get after-holiday specials on consumer goods, make resolutions, etc. I am not doing any of that. In fact, the only thing that I did make sure that I did was to call my fiancée and bring in the new years at least being able to see her face. Skype is a wonderful thing but can never make up for the physical presence of those you love.

What can I say about last year? It was a very bad year for many. For me, it was one more year away from Chrissy and my family. It was one more year stuck in a place that I really have no love for (not my job or who I work with, just the area). It was one more year that I couldn't get myself motivated enough to sell my house so that I can move to be closer to my family and eventually be with Chrissy in Scotland. It was one more year where I worried about the welfare and health of my parents seeing my Step-Father go into the hospital twice and spend the holidays there. It was just one more year of negativity in our nation and politics.

Petty Officers Marissa Gaeta and Citlalic Snell become
the first same-sex couple to share the US Navy's
traditional first kiss. Photograph: Handout/Reuters
However, I have to talk about the good as well. It was a good year for LGBT rights when Don't Ask Don't Tell was dismantled and the first time that a female sailor won the First Off the Ship lottery and Kissed her Girlfriend for the whole world to see! It was a year that I still have a good job that pays my bills and allows me to live my life how I see fit. It was a year that brought new friendships and maintained old ones. It was a year I was able to fly to see Chrissy and her girls in Scotland as well as fly to see my family in Wisconsin. It was a year that my health waned but got better after a few doctors visits. It was a year that I am still here to talk about so that I am thankful for.

The next year seems to be less certain. We have a Presidential Election that is gearing up for this November. The economy is still in a downturn and people are still struggling globally because of it. The politicians still don't want to play nice with each other and blame it all on the other party. The world is supposed to end on December 21 as the Mayan Calendar says it does so it must be so (insert head shake here). I still have to find a way to get my house up to par to be on the market and the guts to actually sell it, quit my job, and move back home. My car has over 165k miles on it and needs all new brakes and drums and maybe even a master cylinder. I have crazy student loan debt. And am still no closer to being with the woman I love than I was the year before.

The year of 2012 seems to be one of a lot of loose ends. Whether those ends will be completed and finally closed is something we can only speculate about. I do have hope though. I have hope that no matter what, love will still be there; love from my family, my Chrissy; love for my job and coworkers; love for myself and my life. Everything else is inconsequential and messy.

Here is my predictions for the coming year as it pertains to the rest of the world:

  1. Obama will run against Mitt Romney for president and win but it will be a close race.
  2. The economy will maintain its "roller coaster" strategy and not settle til 2013.
  3. Politicians (Republicans) will stagnate and dig in their heels on important issues because of #1 and be the cause of the continuance of #2.
  4. The world will NOT end this year or the next year just because of the Mayan Calendar (however there will be a few suicides and loonies out there that will freak out about the apocalypse).
  5. There is a 50/50 chance of me getting my house on the market to sell since my neighbor just put hers up and because of my fears of uprooting my stability in my job.
  6. My car will possibly make it through the year but I will get closer and closer to getting a scooter for the summer months to take the pressure off.
  7. I will still have crazy student loan debt.
  8. Unless something major happens, I don't see myself able to move to Scotland next year either. Something has to kick me in the ass to get me there. I would like to see Chrissy come here to visit and meet my family before the end of the year at least.
So that is it. That is my list and however flawed it may be, it is mine. I hope for the best but don't expect to get it. I know I must look at things as one small step at a time but my  fiancée said recently "Lots of small steps make for a very long walk." I am willing to keep walking, however long it is. I just need a little bit of help along the way.
Maybe I should get that scooter I have been wanting.


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