Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 11-10-2003 08:26 AM:

Online lectures?

hi all

i will keep this short.

universities here in Australia (and i guess worldwide) offer online lectures/courses that are downloadable in various formats (inlcuding audio)

wouldn't it be great if one day we who live in the farthest realms of the rug galaxy could 'access' lectures given at ICOC/ACOR meetings? (supplemented with excellent photos and maybe even sound)

i realise this is verging on 'commercial' but hey......

well done turkotek team !!!!!


Posted by Richard Farber on 11-10-2003 09:35 AM:

Dear Mr. Tomlison,

Mr. Howe has been doing a not quite so high tech version of what you suggested in bringing us detailed information from the textile museum in Wash. D.C,

But prehaps there is an idea for a new format in what you suggest . . . a kind of annotated visit to a lecture or gallery which could be kept


Richard Farber

Posted by R. John Howe on 11-10-2003 07:39 PM:

Hi Richard -

There is what seems to me an odd phenomenon about even the rather humble "on-line photo essays" I do from time to time.

It is that they produce startingly little response. Most people tend to lurk or to make telegraphic comments that don't lead much discussion at all.

The feeling for the "lecturer" is roughly like throwing a stone down a well and not even being able to hear it splash.

More, because I use a single reflex camera and then have the film developed before scanning, it costs me about $50 to put up such a photo essay.

I'm not entirely sure of why there is this lack of response. Frequently, there will be vastly more discussion of a rather marginal "show and tell" piece, than there will be of museum quality items that appear in a photo essay. Perhaps the fact that there a number of them presented nearly simultaneously, makes a difference. (The owners of Turkotek have discussed this behind the scenes, but our conclusions are not satisfying to me.)

This relative silence, following what is often a discernible effort, is not inspiring, and I find myself energized to do it less frequently. Saul specifically asked me to bring my camera last week, so there will be another one shortly, but those who come to this board, who want such things need to give those who produce them, a more satisfying species of response.

To be rather "Skinnerian" about it, unreinforced behaviors tend to die out.


R. John Howe

Posted by Steve Price on 11-10-2003 10:14 PM:

Hi John

When you (or anyone else) posts a single piece for discussion, it usually elicits responses even if the piece is pedestrian. If you (or anyone else) posts a lot of pieces at once, they seldom elicit many responses even if the pieces are superb.

The only significant independent variable in this scenario is the number of pieces presented simultaneously; the dependent variable is the number of responses. We might wonder why presenting many pieces at once generates so little discussion, but I don't see how there can be any doubt that amount of discussion per piece tends to fall off sharply as number of pieces presented simultaneously increases. If this is genuinely demoralizing, we ought to try to change it. Perhaps presenting photoessays in bits and pieces over several days, rather than as one big item, would be better.

It reminds me of a rule about how much information to present to students in a single lecture or to colleagues in a single publication: Avoid Moses' Mistake. He presented all ten commandments at the same time, and people still can't remember them. History might have been very different if he presented them one at a time.

Incidentally, one of the four people banned from Turkotek, who was kicked off about 18 months ago, has submitted half a dozen or so messages in the past 4 days. None were approved for posting, of course. Unless writing and submitting them is a reward in itself (and I don't see how it can be - rejection is a negative reinforcement), the psychologists who believe that unreinforced behavior extinguishes are not entirely correct.


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Farber on 11-10-2003 11:02 PM:

Dear Mr. Howe

I for one am looking forward to your next photo essay . . .keep up the good work.


Richard Farber

Posted by Jerry Silverman on 11-11-2003 04:04 AM:

Several solutions to the cost issue come to mind, John.

I've seen ads for photofinishing where a digital disk of the pictures is included along with the prints. Maybe it was at Walgreen's, which are pretty much ubiquitous. Surely processing for a few rolls of 3x5 prints can be had there for less than $50. If the images are digitized, then the additional step of scanning the prints is eliminated.

Or you could bite the bullet and leap headfirst into the 21st century by buying a digital camera. We've discussed digital cameras from time to time here and concluded that while they're not up to the quality of a good SLR they're not bad. Prices have been coming down a lot in the last year. A good quality image can be had with a camera with only 2 megapixels. (Oh sure, it won't allow making an 8"x10" print, but we don't need that much information to post here. In fact, Steve and Filiberto reduce images to less than 100 kb so they don't hog the server.)

I've experimented a little with both, taking shots of the same thing with a Nikon SLR and a Nikon Coolpix 4500 (4 megapixels). Both produce prints of similar quality up to about 8"x10". The SLR produces more effortlessly correctly exposed images (or maybe I just don't know all the tricks to the digital camera yet). But the digital camera allows me to see immediately what the shot looks like. If I don't like it, I can just take another and another until I get it right. The trick is to get the camera with the best lens available at the price you're willing to pay.

As for the questions about the paucity of responses to a multi-image show-and-tell, I think there is a "I don't know where to begin...." thing that happens. For this reason I like Steve's suggestion that maybe something like a Textile Museum report could be doled out over several days. That would give people a chance to think about a couple images at a time instead of twenty or thirty which can be pretty overwhelming.

Finally, I don't think there's a regular visitor to Turkotek who doesn't appreciate the effort you put forth in bringing these geographically inaccessible Saturday Textile Museum sessions to us all. FWIW, I believe our ability to do this here is what the best of the Internet is about. "Global community" is a buzzword used so often as to have lost much of its content, but it applies perfectly to this.

I only wish contributors from Germany or England or Italy or anywhere else that rugs are shown and commented upon would compile reports on what they've seen as you do.



Posted by R. John Howe on 11-11-2003 07:29 AM:

Dear folks -

I don't know how to talk about the issue I see here without seeming to be "fishing for compliments," which I am not.

I am convinced that it is useful to convey a version of some of the TM's rug morning programs to an audience larger than that (max of 75) which can be fitted into Mr. Meyers' former living room. It's what seems not to happen after one does that that concerns me.

What Steve and Jerry have thoughtfully contributed trigger an additional impression or two.

Steve, about your example of unreinforced behavior not dying out, the word was "tendency," and Skinner was not talking about behaviors that might be sourced in real psychosis. Those likely have their own distinctive "motivational" sources. :-)

Jerry, I've considered moving to a digital camera but, as we discussed, have been told that the quality I currently get with the scanned single reflex film prints can only be achieved with a digital camera costing about $1,000 (and I understand that the need to reduce images may make some of that unnecessary). A digital camera would eliminate the film and the developing, and the time devoted to the initial scanning, but I don't know whether it would permit me to take shots as fast as I sometimes need to as they "march by" in a TM presentation. Often I need an "overall" shot, but then there is advantage of zooming in for a close-up. And sometimes someone moves a hand or arm in front of the piece just as I shoot and I have to quickly shoot it again. Some digitals require one to wait a bit between shots. And I also have no experience with how difficult or time consuming downloading from camera to computer is or with what resizing is needed. (I resize everything I submit to Steve and to Filiberto so that it is 100 KB or less, usually about 40-70 KB). And I don't have any experience with the capacity of digital cameras. At Saul's presentation last Saturday, I took 70 shots. That's most of three 24 shot rolls.

Steve, Jerry, you may be right about the fact that a lot of images presented all at once are likely experienced as overwhelming to an extent and do not provide the focus for comment that a single piece does. I'm often surprised at what pieces draw the most extended discussions. They are not usually the ones I would predict might do so. So there's a dynamic here that I don't understand. We could certainly take the advice to break up presentation of a TM rug morning into several pieces. Saul's would be ideal for that, since he divided his presentation into geographic sections. I may try that.

Thanks to all for the thoughts here,


R. John Howe

Posted by Richard Farber on 11-11-2003 08:06 AM:

Dear Mr. Howe,

I think that the format that you have 'created' is not as demanding of a responce as a show and tell. The pieces that you show are already
'attributed' and that function is precluded unless one of us out there things that a mistake has been made.

Steve and Filiberto,

Perhaps if you call this form something else --- photo essays -- photo reports-- digi printis of museum shows -- whatever and archive them in a different way you might be doing a better service to those wanting the information and to Mr. Howe and to the others that might take up this format.


Richard Farber

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 11-11-2003 09:22 AM:

Hi John,

Check this website:

I discovered that now, for less of what I paid for my 1.3 Megapixels digicam 3 years ago ($300), you can have one of these:

Drool! (I’m not promoting especially this camera, but it is a nice example of how prices went down).

I would add eight 15 min. rechargeable Nickel metal hydride batteries and a bigger memory card -at least 64 MB. That should be OK for 70 photos and a bit more.
A $175 will get you 512 MB xD card - but that's 18 rolls of 36 exposure 35 mm film.

Modern digicam download pix through USB connection, which is very fast (mine has a serial connection, it takes around 30 second per pictures).

Last week a friend of mine e-mailed me a photo he took with his Nikon digicam, (I think it had a 3.2 Megapixels). The image is big, 768x1024 but it was compressed at a mere 53.3 Kb…The quality was excellent. That means the better quality at the source gives better results even if the image is very compressed.

Think about it. A new digicam could be a nice Xmas gift, by the way, let it know discretely to your wife…



Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 11-11-2003 09:54 AM:

Uh, and, please John, keep on with your reportages of TM's rug mornings!

Richard - the name under which they are archived is not a problem. Several of them are already archived under the term "Discussion".

Posted by Steve Price on 11-11-2003 10:05 AM:

Hi Richard

We do archive a number of John's photoessays, and are working on developing a topical table of content for the site. It turns out to be more of a job than you might guess.

John, I think you greatly overestimate the complications and expense of digital photography. I got an Olympus C-5050z about a year ago, and haven't touched my Pentax SLR since then, including when I was on vacation and at ICOC-X. It can be had for around $600, and some other very good digital cameras cost about that or less. At sizes at least up to 8 x 10 (I haven't gone beyond that), the pictures look as good as anything I can do with film. When projected on a screen (in a Powerpoint presentation, for instance), they're as sharp and true to color as film transparencies.

Downloading the pictures to a computer is no more difficult or tricky than copying files from a CD or floppy disk. Certainly much faster and easier than scanning prints into the computer. A 512 MB Compact Flash card (less than the size of a matchbook) holds 70-140 photos at high resolution, many more at low resolutions. I keep a couple of CF cards with me when I go anywhere with the camera.

The lag between pictures is, at most, a few seconds. The camera gives me complete control over what it's doing, or I can set it to full automatic mode. It switches with a few clicks of a button between ISO speeds of 64, 100, 200 and 400 (try that with a SLR). Anyway, overexposure, underexposure, or funny light balances are easily and quickly corrected with any image editing software. Just to illustrate (and to show off my kid), here's Nathan:

This is a small crop from a much bigger photo, reduced in size for use on a website with a size restriction. You can see the same crop, but at a larger size, at

The original photo was terribly dark and had a yellow cast from the lighting. Two mouse clicks in Photoshop Elements took care of that.


Steve Price