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man and space

by ater

Think Creative

by ater

To be creative, you have to first believe you are creative.

A short time ago I received an email from a young entrepreneur asking me how he was suppose to compete in a marketplace where the competition was high and more established companies had big advertising bucks. I mentioned a few ideas to him but the one that concerned him the most was creativity. Give him numbers and he’ll work them, but tell him to come up with some creative idea, forget it.He said he doesn’t have a creative bone in his body.

People who tell themselves that have already lost unless they decide to do something about it.

The development of a creative thought process is no different than learning martial arts. At first, someone shows you how to stand, execute proper body movement, and teaches you a Kata (a.k.a form - a set of movements that help develop your technique).

Once these techniques are learned you must practice them to become a good fighter. When fighting, it is taught that the best place for your mind to be is no where at all, called Mushin (means “no mind”). The point of Mushin is to blank out your mind so that you are in a state of “openness.” In other words, it allows you to simply react and not worry about what might happen when fighting.

The same can be said when learning to be creative. You first learn what techniques help develop a creative thought process and then you have to practice them while keeping your mind open to endless possibilities no matter how ridiculous they may seem.

But how do you train your mind to become a well-oiled creative thinking machine?

Like the first sentence of this post says, you have to first believe you are a creative person. Following that you need to exercise your mind in various ways.

Let’s take a look at some creative mind-pumping ideas and activities that will help widen your mind’s creative eye.

I. Listen

Don’t Jump the Gun
It is important listen to everything and not judge or come to your own conclusion prematurely. This is vital if you are to create a product that wins in the eyes of your customers and employer. Remember, listening does not equal simply hearing.

Try listening to a different radio station (or TV channel). See if you can figure who the intended audience is. Who would be the dedicated listeners and who might be the occasional? What influential people might be listening to this station? What is it’s market?

II. Brainstorm

Brainstorming can be an effective way to generate creative ideas; however, before brainstorming about your subject at hand, try warming up the creative juices.

Warming Up
Grab a pencil and blank piece of paper and just start writing. If nothing comes to mind, write that, then write whatever comes to your mind next no matter what it is. Then expand.

In another example, grab yourself a pencil and paper and create something new and describe it, no matter how absurd it may seem. Try creating a new life form. Where does it come from? What is its goal? Or try creating a person. Who is she? Expand on the idea.

These are good exercises to get you in the mindset of thinking outside the box.

III. Counter the Negatives with Positives

This is probably one of the more important ones to do. Whenever you want to do something but your mind tells you that you can’t, write that thought down and then next to it write down 2 or 3 reasons why you can. Do this quickly and often. Soon you will notice that you have trained your mind to automatically react with a positive thought whenever you think of a negative one.

IV. Be Ready

If you’re searching for creative ideas, keep a pen and pad handy at all times, you never know when a thought might pop into your head - or maybe someone else’s thought spawns a new thought of your own that you can build off of.

For example, one of my favorite shows is Kitchen Nightmares. I was watching an episode one night and Gordon Ramsay was offering up business advice to the store owner. During the show, I kept getting up and jotting down a few ideas that he had mentioned that I wanted to expand on for my blog. The result was an article you can read here.

V. Learn

Obviously, the more you know about everything, the more you can come up with creative ideas by linking things together. You wouldn’t know how Physics and landscaping might go together unless you knew at least a little bit about both.

Therefore, the more you know, the more you can create.

Ideas to help you expand your horizons

  • read blogs
  • take classes
  • read books
  • try something you’ve never done before
  • teach something to someone
  • participate in a group or online community
  • talk to people you might not otherwise talk to

Can you add to the list?

VI. Evaluate

Often times I find when I’m stuck in a rut and can’t come up with a creative idea, I evaluate things.

If you’re stuck, try flipping through a magazine and evaluate the ads. Which ones catch your attention and why? Who is the target audience? What might you do differently if you were to write the ad? On the ones that catch your attention, how can you modify what they did to what you’re doing?

Your Competition
Get online or flip through the yellow pages and evaluate your competition. See if something they are doing spawns an idea for you. Is there something there you can build on that they could have but didn’t?

Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. Label the left side “My Weaknesses” and the right side “My Strengths.” List all your weaknesses and then under the strengths side, combat those weaknesses with your strengths that might compensate.

You now have a blueprint of what you need to work on and what you have to build off of.

Ask Questions
When stuck on the problem of trying to be creative, ask a series of questions to gain a new perspective of your product or idea.

  • What can I substitute?
  • What can I add to it to make it a little better?
  • What is not needed?
  • What is the opposite of this?
  • Where did this come from?
  • How has something like this been used?
  • What else can it be used for?

Can you add any?

VII. Exercise Your Creative Thought Process

Try some of these activities from time-to-time.

  • Every day pick any topic and write it down; then create a flow chart and see where the flow takes you.
  • Think of a product. How could it have been invented in a different way but produce the same result?
  • After reading half a book, close it and write or think about how you would end the story.
  • Read non-fiction books and solve the problem before it’s answered.
  • Do crossword puzzles, it gets you thinking about all kinds of stuff.

After a while, by doing these exercises you’ll find that your mind approaches ideas in new creative ways.

VIII. Travel

One of the best ways to generate creative ideas is to go to new places or simply just get out and go for a walk. Don’t have the money to travel? No problem. Go where you need to go but get there in a different way.

New experiences and going to new destinations is a great way to gain new perceptions that can generate creativity.

So there you go, 8+ ways to to mold you into a creative thinking machine.

Do you consider yourself creative?

the 90's and how?..

by ater

1. Before YouTube... there was "America's Funniest Home Videos"

This 90's television smash-hit, based on a Japanese show, kicked off user-generated video content in America. People submitted home videos of babies with nail guns, dogs on fire, and grandmas falling down, in hopes of winning a weekly cash prize.

2. Before Twitter... there was IRC.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a UNIX-based system of chat servers that was introduced in late 1988. A series of networks and thousands of channels allowed people to "tweet" about various topics, share cool links, and offer technical support. Twitter now offers a somewhat similar experience with a more user-friendly interface and mobile support.

3. Before blogs... there were 'zines.

image credit: Laughing Squid

If you wanted to delve in the world of personal publishing in the early 90's, it was pretty spendy. Desktop publishing with Adobe Pagemaker required investing big bucks into a high-end Mac and a state-of-the-art laser printer. Most young people stuck to cutting and pasting scraps onto blank paper and then xeroxing the final product.

4. Before podcasts... there were codelines.

image credit: Killbox

In the 90's, when digital voice mail was a cutting-edge corporate technology, there was a vibrant voice mail hacking scene. Phone phreaks from all over the United States would sequentially "scan" 1-800 exchanges for voice mail boxes (VMBs) and use default passwords to take over employees' (unused) voice mail boxes. They would record long informational greeting messages, known as "codelines." Codelines began with music and "shouts out" to other phone phreaks and then segued into first-generation "podcasts" packed with underground content: freshly hacked calling cards and credit cards, conference calls PINs, and global outdial passwords.

5. Before blogrolls and comments... there were web rings and guest books.

image credit: simon slade

Sites on similar subjects used link out to each other in a promotional circle jerk called a "web ring." Guestbooks used to be the hot way to leave comments, until bots were developed to harvest the e-mail addresses for the the worst kinds of spam imaginable.

6. Before Facebook... there was the 20th annual high school reunion.

image credit: Alan Light

You'd have to wait in 20 year increments – and buy a plane ticket – to catch up with many of your old friends or see their photo albums. Seriously.

7. Before Skype... there were k0dez and bridges.


Before VOIP and cell phone plans, it was rather expensive to make a long distance call. In some cases you'd pay over a dollar a minute (!) to "reach out and touch someone." The early-adopters (a.k.a. "phone phreaks") used home computer software to hack out calling card codes ("k0dez") to keep in touch. For teleconferencing, phreaks would hack out corporate phone systems' conferencing nodes, called "bridges." Epic bridge sessions and knowledge downloads that went on for weeks... until the corporate host got a massive phone bill, found out, and shut it down. Check out these awesome vintage recordings.

8. Before eBay... there was the pawn shop.

image credit:Duien

Same questionable items, high fees and unsavory characters - but in an actual, real-life retail location!

9. Before the iPhone... there was the PayPhone.

Before technology allowed people to yak loudly on cellphones in restaurants, they had to go out to the payphone.

image credit:Aaroynx

And if they wanted to make a long distance call, they'd need an entire roll of quarters. The 90's equivalent of an "unlimited calling plan" was a toll-fraud device called a red box. redbox.jpg Red boxes were modified Radio Shack touch-tone dialers that made the same sound a Bell payphone made when a quarter was inserted. By the end of the decade, Radio Shack had discontinued the device and Bell had upgraded to digital equipment. Thankfully, cellphones were becoming affordable, mainstream communications devices by then.

10. Before P2P file sharing... there was Columbia House Records.

image credit:joe madonna

Before DRM and iTunes - people downloaded music from Napster and burned it on a $569 external CD-R drive. Non-technical people who wanted free tracks got tempted by magazine ads that promised "Get 8 CD's for Just One Penny!" and they were unwittingly signed up for recurring CD subscriptions. Then they got slapped with a huge bill afterwards - the old-school equivalent of an RIAA settlement.

11. Before Craigslist... there was the men's room wall.

image credit: simon slade

Local newspapers would only publish "vanilla" dating ads. So, how did geeks and other shy people manage to hook up? The restroom wall, of course! Gay guys would post phone numbers and set meeting times for man-to-man encounters. Straight dudes would post the numbers of their ex's and innocent girls they wanted to harass.

12. Before Digg... there was your local newspaper's "Top Stories of the Year" issue.


You used to have to wait until December to find out hottest story of the year. And the news stories were picked by crusty old editors. Now there's an infinite stream of high-quality, uncensored content and entertainment - all just a mouse click away.

Pictures that Changed the World

by ater

berlin wall

BERLIN—A young man bridges the wall between East and West Berlin, 1989. © Raymond Depardon

Slate magazine has a collection of Magnum photos which changed the world. Mostly doused in black and white gradients, these pictures feature significant historical incidents. Some of them, like the picture of the girl who grew up in a concentration camp are remarkably powerful reflections on our actions.

Here are some of my favorites:

Spanish Civil War

CERRO MURIANO, Spain—Federico Borrell Garcia, Spanish loyalist militiaman, collapses into death, 1936.

This is a classic photo and I like it because the Spanish soldier looks totally peaceful and dare I say it, graceful even when falling to his death. Some have said it was faked but I don’t care. It’s beautiful.

Teresa David Seymour

POLAND—Teresa, a child in a residence for disturbed children, grew up in a concentration camp. She has drawn a picture of “home” on the blackboard, 1948. © David Seymour

This picture is just mind blowing. The kid is out of whack and severely traumatized by growing up in a concentration camp. Chalk lines that go nowhere and stay nowhere.

racism elliott erwitt

NORTH CAROLINA—A black man drinks at segregated water fountains, 1950. © Elliott Erwitt

White’s man burden. The difference is stark and very direct. It just hits you right in the face. White Americans even believed that they deserved better drinking fountains. Absurd.

sharpeville massacre

SHARPEVILLE, South Africa—Police open fire on a crowd, killing more than 70 and injuring hundreds of others during what came to be known as the Sharpeville massacre, 1960. © Ian Berry

I love the shot of the clouds in the picture. Ominous. Apocalyptic. Bearing weight upon everyone beneath it.

Martin Luther King

WASHINGTON, D.C.—At the climax of his “I Have A Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr. raises his arm on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and calls out for deliverance with the electrifying words of an old Negro spiritual hymn, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”, 1963. © Bob Adelman

Walking in the shadow of the valley of death, King does his thing and the audio for this speech is electrifying.

Jan Rose Kasmir

ARLINGTON, Va.—Jan Rose Kasmir confronts the National Guard outside the Pentagon during the 1967 anti-Vietnam War march, 1967. © Marc Riboud

This is a very iconic picture for many reasons as it totally symbolized the hippy creed of love overcoming all adversity and conflict.

The key to the appeal of Riboud’s seminal image may be Kasmir’s empathy for her adversary. “All of a sudden, I realized ‘them’ was that soldier in front of me—a human being I could just as easily have been going out on a date with,” Kasmir says. “It wasn’t a war machine, it was just a bunch of guys with orders. Right then, it went from being a fun, hip trip to a painful reality.” (Source)


SAIGON, Vietnam—The Saigon fire department, which has the job of collecting the dead from city streets, has just placed a girl, killed by U.S. helicopter fire, in the back of their truck, where her brother finds her, 1968. © Philip Jones Griffiths

Grief has been a main subject for many photographers and the little boy’s despair is heartbreaking.

Paris Riot

PARIS—Students hurl projectiles during the May 1968 student protest. © Bruno Barbey

The student protest in Paris was no Tiananmen but was a remarkably fun period for many students because of the massive energy on the streets. Protests, films, arts, secret meetings, marches, songs.. .the id unleashed in full glory. Barbey’s picture makes them look like they were dancing.


MEXICO—Mexicans are arrested while trying to cross the U.S. border, 1979. © Alex Webb

I love the color in this one. The maroon and browns of the shirts with the yellow daffodils. The helicopter becomes a misplaced contraption within the natural environment.

Afghan girl

PESHAWAR, Pakistan—An Afghan girl at Nasir Bagh refugee camp, 1984. © Steve McCurry

No worthy collection of seminal photography would ignore this iconic picture by McCurry. National Geographic made it big and this is really just a beautiful picture. Her eyes are incredible.

New Brighton

NEW BRIGHTON, United Kingdom—1985. © Martin Parr

I would love to know the context of this slightly surrealistic picture. Is he sunbathing or protesting with his body? The placement of the body just in front of the demolishing tractor just makes it so ambiguous. Love the little kid in pink.

Iran women

TEHRAN, Iran—Veiled women learn how to shoot in the outskirts of the city, 1986. © Jean Gaumy

Powerful picture. Women in Iran are generally treated like crap and heavily controlled by many fundamentalist rules. This picture is empowering and shows the strength of Iranian women.

Tiananmen square

BEIJING, China—Tiananmen Square, 1989. © Stuart Franklin

I can see why this picture was such a big hit when it was published. One person can make a change. Just one is usually enough to derail a movement or at least force it to reflect upon itself.

Tank Man, or the Unknown Rebel, is the nickname of an anonymous man who became internationally famous when he was videotaped and photographed during the Tiananmen Square protests on 5 June 1989. Several photographs were taken of the man, who stood in front of a column of Chinese Type 59 tanks, preventing their advance. (Wikipedia)


catch them black

by ater

the meanest machines on the road In BLACK....
can you ask for more!!!

Porsche Carrera GT Flat Black

997 Turbo, needs different wheels:
997 turbo flat black

This Ferrari 575 looks to have a shoddy job, but it could just be the lighting.
Ferrari 575 flat black

BMW m5 Flat black

audi r8 flat black

Not really flat black, but all raw carbon fiber Pagani Zonda in full race prep form.
pagani zonda

The 599 is my favorite out of the set.
Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano 2


home from the heavens

by ater


A dot in the sky....

Earth seen from 4 billion miles away, photographed by Voyager 1 on June 6, 1990.

Of the "pale blue dot," astronomer Carl Sagan said, "That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

by Greg Ross


my computer can see...holy cow

by ater

the best error u can ever get on your PC,i was rolling on the ground after i saw the expression on this guy's face....click on the image to enlarge.

best of digg

by ater

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