Photo Prep

Hi there! This post is to let you know you’ve come to the right place to learn how to work with photos taken with your cell phone to prep them for adding them to your web site.

I’ve written step by step instructions and included screenshots as examples to help you work through the editing and formatting process. Just click on the tab in the above menu bar that says, “Photos: From Cell Phone to Web Site” (or any of the individual pages listed in the sub-menu under that tab) to get started.

For the best learning experience, I suggest you read/skim through the entire tutorial to get a sense of what is being covered, then go back to the beginning and work along with each step using a real photo on your cell phone. It may seem a lot to learn, but once you’ve done this process a few times it is quick and easy. Good luck!

Don’t Steal From Your Employer

Today there was a big debate on Facebook about a news story that Cracker Barrel fired an employee for giving a homeless vet a free muffin. Almost everyone on that thread wants to boycott Cracker Barrel for being heartless and not supporting our vets. Sorry, but not many businesses can allow employees to give away their products or services for free. Cracker Barrel has an excellent training program and goes to great lengths to make sure their employees do not pilfer from the restaurant. Be honest – it is basically stealing when you do that. He had been written up 5 times for doing this. I would have fired him, too. If he had paid for the muffin himself would be one thing, but stealing from your employer to “do good” is not OK.

Everything in that store costs money – even the little packets of mayo and sugar. It is the employee’s job to provide the product and collect money for it. One of the biggest problems retailers have is employee theft. You cannot allow employees to just take or give away whatever they want. Cracker Barrel will survive this PR issue just fine. They make good food, have unique gift shop items and are conveniently located across the U.S. They will not go out of business for firing a guy who was stealing from their company.

Cracker Barrel has a very thorough training program and clearly stated policies and procedures. Employees are not allowed to give away food or other products. They are allowed to pay for the food or products themselves and then give it away. But they are stealing if they give away anything for free.

I have worked for restaurants and bars and run several businesses. When I was a bartender at a free pour bar in DC, the boss would come in and actually count the number of liquor bottles in the trash and then tally numbers against the days receipts to make sure we were not over-pouring or giving away free drinks. 

My step daughter worked for a convenience store and was allowed to have all the free soda she wanted while on her shift. She could not have free soda if she was off her shift and could not give free soda to family or friends.

Have you ever asked for a cup of free water at McDonald’s? They tell you no, because they have to charge you for the cup. Now they charge you for extra dipping sauce and other condiments, too.

It would be nice if maybe the employers had a charitable policy of dedicating a certain amount they could allow to be given away to homeless people or customers in distress, but most do not. If you are going to work for somebody else, you have the obligation to look out for that employer’s best interests – and stealing from them is not the way to do that.

Tried a Glass of Fresh Lemonade Today

On my way home tonight I noticed some kids a few blocks down from my street had set up a lemonade stand and were trying to wave down all the people driving by on their way home. I figured I would be a good sport and stop the car to check them out.

They had a little folding table and a beach umbrella set up by the driveway and a poster board with letters too hard to read from a distance. When I crossed the street from where I pulled over and parked my car, I found that they were selling red solo cups full of fresh squeezed lemonade for $1. Of course, in my day you could get a little Dixie cup of lemonade for 10 cents, but times have changed. And to be honest, you can’t buy much of any cold drink for less than a dollar at the convenience store or fast food joints anymore.

So, I forked over the $1 and got a cup of very tart and tangy lemonade. It was not very sweet, but it was cold and wet and definitely lemon. Kinda cool that the kids were so enterprising. I hope they made a few bucks and try it again – I’d stop again if I see them out there.

Sources of New Music

Back in the day, listening to radio was how I heard my music. There was a radio in the kitchen of my parent’s home, and a radio in each of our cars. When I was about 9 years old I was given a small transistor radio as a Christmas gift from my dad, along with a story of how he had to make his own radio from bits and pieces of wire and metal that he scrounged from work sites near where he played, and he used his own saved up money to buy the transistor tubes from a hardware store. The tubes and wires and a little cogged dial were housed in a 3″ x 5″ metal index card file box.

When I turned 13 I got an actual record player. It wasn’t even stereo. It came in a little cardboard box with a brass latch that looked like a piece of luggage that was popular in those days. It had a hinged lid and the turntable had three speeds: 78, 45, and 33. I don’t think I ever used the 78 setting but I used the 45 setting almost every day. In the early days, music was sold on 45 rpm singles, with a hit song on the “A” side and a song that no one really like much as a “B” side. If you were very lucky, your single was by someone that actually had a second hit worth listening to on the “B” side. That was usually someone really big, like Elvis or the Beatles.

Years later we bought 8 track tapes, then cassette tapes which played in stereo. Eventually the music business came into the digital world and you could buy CDs. But now, it is all about digital downloads onto iPods and listening online.

The best part of the downloads is that you can buy only the exact songs that you like and want – no more forcing consumers to buy a “B” side or a whole album of 10 songs when all you wanted was one song. That is what has the music industry screaming about how they aren’t making money anymore, but in my opinion, they were riding the gravy train for 40 years and now it is like it should have been all along – buying the one you want and not being forced to buy ones that you don’t want.

Shaming the Bad Vending Machines

photo of bad vending machine with sign

photo of bad vending machine with sign

It might be a good bet that everyone who used vending machines has lost their money in one at least once. Sometimes the machine takes your money and gives you nothing in return. Sometimes the machine takes your money and does not give any change back. And sometimes the machine drops the wrong item and you are stuck with it.

My biggest complain with vending machines is when you can see a row of the snack or candy items that you want and you know they are in there, but you put your money in and then it promptly rejects the money and you can’t buy what you want and there is nothing you can do about it. It’s not like it stole your money – it stole your hope!