Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Box Design

In a followup to my previous post where I show my home-made box for transporting framed prints, I have put together a rough diagram of the design I used. It includes a materials list and a cut list. I have omitted the assembly since that is (a) more difficult to document and (b) should be self-evident to someone attempting to build a box like this. Just be careful to make the box as square as possible.

Below is the diagram. Click on it to make sure you are not seeing it compressed by Blogger.

I have not yet settled on a good lining material. I picked up some thin rolled-up blue foam insulation at Lowes, so I'm going to try putting that in. I'll let you know how that works out.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spyware = Bad

I've just overcome a bout with spyware on my main computer. And I must say: Spyware creators are Evil, and Thank God for smart people who provide great free tools to eliminate this evil.

One of my children visited a "bad" site and maybe clicked on a pop-up she shouldn't have. After a few hours of getting nowhere I found a site that recommended Combofix. This is a program that performs some real magic and it eliminated the spyware that other tools could not. It's not a commercial program - it's a freebie that someone developed with a very crude user interface. But it got the job done, and that's all that matters.

Thank you smart spyware-removing people.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Searching for a Clue

I have recently begun keeping closer track of the traffic to my website. I am not using publicly available tools for this (why not - I really don't know). I keep my own logs and have developed some scripts that spit out some statistics for me. A few nuggets of information has some out of this.

Image-Based Searches

For one, and this was a little surprising to me, image-based searches usually resulted in very little follow-on traffic. Visitors coming to my site from, say, a Google or Yahoo image search typically only view that one photo that they linked to. They don't explore other parts of my site.

Now this is perfectly understandable. When you perform an image search, and click on a specific thumbnail that you find might meet your needs (whether it be to purchase a photo or, uh, "borrow" one for some other purpose) you are basically trying to confirm whether you like THAT PHOTO that you clicked on. You are really in the mindset of continuing your image search through the search engine, not exploring the target website.

At one point I was concerned with getting good rankings in the Google image search, but with this new information I'm not really that concerned any more.

Holiday Season

The other interesting piece of data is that during the winter holiday, i.e. the "gift-giving season", I seem to get a lot of subject-specific searches, and my sales during the holidays reflect that. When people buy photography as a gift I think the tendency is to buy a specific locational subject that the buyer believes the recipient knows and will appreciate. For example "Sea Isle Sunrise" or "Boathouse Row". I don't get a lot of "Fall Foliage" or "Waterfall" searches. Again - perfectly understandable.

Snow on Trees

One more interesting search that I get a lot of in November is for "Snow on Trees", or some variation of this. I have one particular image, shown below, that is a fairly good seller at shows, but not really that good online. But people search for this subject constantly. So what gives? My theory is that people are designing holiday cards or newsletters, either for their own personal use or for others, and they are looking for nice winter images to use for these. Although the quality and size of the image on my website is not appropriate for making prints, some people may find it acceptable for cards.

If this is true then I am sure people are stealing my images left and right, since I get no requests to license this image. It is nearly impossible for me to detect this (i.e. "enforce" my copyrights). And prevention measures are possible, such as making images much smaller on my site, going to a flash-based website, or slicing and dicing the image so it makes it harder to download manually. I am not inclined to do any of that for now, because I like the simplicity of my site - the way it operates, and the ease that I can maintain and update it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter Project

For the past few years I have been transporting my framed prints in cardboard boxes. The boxes were OK, but not really up to the job. They were not durable and did not protect the artwork. They were very susceptible to rain and wet ground, and storing them during the show was always a problem.

So I've decided to build my own carrying boxes. I've seen similar boxes by other artists so I basically "borrowed" their ideas.

It's a simple box design. I designed it with the following features:

  • Removable lid, to protect from rain (some boxes I've seen don't have a lid). The lid stays in place simply by placing the 1x3 wood pieces slightly over the edges, as seen in the last photo.

  • Lauan wood sides. Thin, light, and cheap.

  • 2 inch "feet" on the bottom (the sides extend down to form the feet). In case of rain this will keep the artwork mostly above water level

Here are a few photos of a partially completed box. I will be putting in a soft lining material, but I have not decided on the material yet. I will also be putting on a protective finishing coat. Let me know if you want more information or the measurements/plans.