internet development & fine art printing
December 1st, 2005 (vol. 1, issue 9)


Hot Bird Talk, Issue 9

Art for People:

A few of you may know Jon Bidwell, our resident printing guru, and you may also have seen his art before. For those who don't know his story, JB began creating digital art in 1996, long before most of us realized the potential of digital design. His works include a broad range of digital photography, digital abstractions and hand-illustrated tribal designs. In the past 10 years, JB's collections have grown into the hundreds. And for those of us who have witnessed his evolutions, our hats are off. (For those traditionalists who couldn't believe that 'digital' and 'art' would ever truly be accepted together...ahem, tell that to the Smithsonian.)

We recently re-designed JB's site from the ground up, to house his growing body of works and in support of his Art for People movement. But instead of giving you any more, "we love JB, his art, and his site" talk (although we do) we're going to let him speak for himself. From his website:

"Art For People began with the belief that the world of "fine art" doesn't have to mean a world of exorbitant prices, pretentious, austere atmospheres, high dollar cheese and low dollar wine."

Art is supposed to enrich our lives. Creative expression is the foundation of a civilized culture. Since a culture is composed of every single person who makes up the society, it is my belief that every person should have the right to bring unique and original art into their homes."

And as for JB's site, he weilds an amazing amount of flexibility - truly his own online gallery. He controls where and under what circumstances each of his hundreds of pieces are diplayed, can add new items, sells his art at a variety of print sizes - including limited editions - and even offers e-gift certificates and free downloadable wallpaper. Art for People - People for Art.

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Support During the Holidays

We all need support. Want to know and easy and affordable way to provide it for everyone coming to your house for the holidays this year? Buy a tripod! Tripods are one of the easiest ways to improve your indoor holiday photography. They are lightweight, affordable, reduce the dreaded camera shake you get from drinking too much coffee Christmas morning (or eggnog on Christmas Eve), and most importantly, they let you be in the photo too!

Simply group everyone together in front of the tree. Put the camera on your tripod and take the time to center the image and make sure you're not going to cut off anyone's head, including your own. (Have someone stand where you plan to be in the photograph to ensure perfect composition.) If you've got a rowdy bunch, set your camera's timer for a 20 second delay and go get in the picture and get the kids calmed down. Watch the auto focus light as it flashes one time for each second and start the countdown! "Five, four, everyone look at the camera and smile! Two, one, show time!" It's as easy as that. Now you've got a shot of the whole family including yourself to cherish for years to come. A basic tripod can be purchased and delivered to your house in plenty of time for Christmas for around $24. Once you have one, you'll use it year after year at other holiday events and family get togethers. Tripods always make the perfect picture.

Need a recommendation? Check out this nice tripod by Vidpro for just $17.95 - from The Lazarus Group's favorite online photography vendor, B&H Photo Video.

Making a List and Checking it Twice...

The reports are in: the Thanksgiving shopping weekend was, to say the least (in this, "the greatest economy of our lifetime"), uh...somewhat disappointing.

Yet, one bright area remains in the otherwise dismal reports: various reporting agencies indicate that online shopping jumped between 22-29% over last year. The Pew Foundation posts studies indicating that as much as 70% of the buying public use the internet to research purchase decisions and to shop online, including 60+ million individuals every day.

As a retailer scrambling to find new ways to bring a little Christmas cheer to your cash register - isn't it time you considered an online purchasing option?

With only a few items for sale, you might consider a simple, safe, easy-to-use system (like PayPal). The fee is just a touch more than a credit card, but the reduced hassle of not having to manage a merchant account or track various monthly fees can be attractive to a small or start-up business.

If you offer oodles of selections, it will probably behoove you to consider a more complex, professional e-commerce functionality. Something where you can offer your customers a broad selection with options (for example: size, color, shipping, etc.). You will need to set up your own merchant account through your bank or credit card company. You will need to acquire a SSL Certificate so you can safely accept credit card payments online. And then you will want an attractive, easy-to-use shopping cart.

The Lazarus Group specializes in taking your business to the online shopper, be it improving the looks of your existing shopping cart or developing professional e-commerce functionality just for you.

Ho, ho, ho - and don't overlook the online shopper in your advertising mix (banner ads, e-coupons and email sale notices...)

Top Six Ways to Stay Warm!

  1. Use different outlets for your personal heater and your computer- they won't stay friends on the same outlet.
  2. Wear socks - not just the flimsy frou-frou ones.
  3. Exchange soda for hot tea. Think of the antioxidants!
  4. Type with your laptop on your actual lap - just as warm and less furry than a cat.
  5. Bake a batch of brownies for The Lazarus Group.
  6. Sweatin' to the oldies. (Really, isn't baking more fun?)

Images from Jon Bidwell

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