internet development & fine art printing
June 1st, 2005 (vol. 1, issue 3)


Hot Bird Talk, Issue 3

Welcome to Hot Bird Talk issue 3. This month we: introduce a new client, remind you to clean the gunk out of your computer and give you some pointers on photographing those summer outings. Also, are you worried about losing that great photo of you and the eighty-pound wild boar? Read on about a nifty way to backup your photos (and your important work documents).

As always, we are here to answer your questions and illuminate your technological paths.

Sterling Services Group, L.C

Sterling Services Group, L.C. site screenshot for The Lazarus Group's Hot Bird Talk

We're happy to introduce one of our newest clients: Sterling Services Group, L.C.

Sterling Services Group, L.C., approached The Lazarus Group with a two-pronged project. First, they needed a new website to accompany the release of their two newest products: Readiness Rounds, designed to help hospitals demonstrate JCAHO standards compliance, and Sterling Insourcing, designed to improve hospital operating efficiencies as well as patient satisfaction.

In addition to a new website, they also wanted animated, voice-enhanced demos to detail both products. (And they needed, yesterday.) We happily accepted the challenge, and continue to assist Sterling Services Group with their online advertising campaigns and technology needs.

Check out Sterling Services Group L.C.'s new website at

Spring Cleaning

use an air can to clean your computer

As the summer months get rolling here in the Midwest, there is something we all should do for our computers - clean them. Your computer is cooled by anywhere from one to three fans, and they pick up all sorts of lint (place your hands over the air holes - you should feel the fans running). Your computer will be much happier with a small amount of preventive maintenance. A can of compressed air (available at any office supply store) is the tool for the job.

First, unplug all the wires from the back - write down or remember where they go - then pull your computer out from under your desk and go outside. Most computers open by the plastic front popping off and the side either sliding or lifting open. Standing upwind, take the can of compressed air and blow the dust out of your computer. Make a special effort to blow the fans on your chips clean. You will be amazed, and a little shocked, by the amount of gunk in there. This should be repeated every five months in an office environment. While you are at it, you should also take the time to blow out your keyboard and vacuum your monitor!

Protecting Your Digital Valuables

How do you like the idea of losing a few digital files here and there - or worse yet, all of them?! There is an easy, cost-effective way to back up your digital files. With today's inexpensive hard drives, why not pick up an external hard drive - so your insured, and mobile, too!

External drives are currently available at a range of affordable prices. And with most operating systems, they simply plug into your computer and automatically appear as another drive. Storage is easy: simply copy your file folders and other important items (like your address book) to the new drive. When you go home for the day, unplug it and take it with you. (Just don't drop it.)

In light of all of today's storage options, hard drives are still the best place to keep your data: floppy disks are too small, CD's are not archival and tape drives are inconvenient. But remember that backup means "backup" - if you really want to insure your files, you should have more than one backup in more than one place. Just as you don't trust your quarterly report to one location, you shouldn't keep just one digital copy of your picture with Tom Jones.

Great Family Photos 101

Light! Light! Light! Those are the three most important words in photography. With the right amount of light, taking great family photos can be easy and fun. Almost any Sony, Canon, or Nikon point-and-shoot digital camera with a 3 megapixel or higher resolution will make great images automatically. In full auto mode, the camera will handle shutter speed, aperature and focus!

All you have to do is remember the following:

  • Don't shoot into the sun unless your flash is on! Otherwise the faces of your subjects will be too dark because the camera metered the light behind them. Simply turning your flash on - even when it's light outside - will solve this common problem. (This is called a fill flash).
  • If you want the best possible exposure, have your subjects face the light. That means the sun is behind you, the photographer! Just watch your shadow... if it's too late in the day and you're in the wrong place, you'll end up photographing your own shadow.
  • If the light is too harsh and your subjects are squinting, turn them to the side and photograph them with the light illuminating only a portion of their bodies. This can create a dramatic and pleasing contrast with skin tones.
  • Lastly, take an extra second and make sure everyones' heads & toes are in the picture frame. Framing only takes an extra second and can make all the difference in an image's overall impact. No one wants to get their head chopped off!

These days all the hard work is already done by your point-and-shoot digital camera. Some rangefinder digitals even come with a pre-installed "portrait mode" that will even take care of fill flash so all you have to do is tell everyone to smile and keep snapping photos!

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