Wednesday, October 27, 2010

$78 Life Saver

Would you pay me $78 if I could restore your entire Mac start-up drive and all its files back to working order in under 4 hours? Would you pay me even more if you knew I was the best way to get all your photos and movies and e-mails back and have your drive in the same condition it was before your drive crashed?

Then why not pay yourself for the same thing in advance?

If you are using Mac Leopard (OS 10.5) or higher, you have Time Machine included with your Mac OS, and you should just use it.

You can get a 500GB hard drive that is powered from the very USB port you plug it into for $78 shipped, and begin using it to back up your system within 5 minutes of receiving it.

It's a little bigger than a pack of cards and needs only the included, manageable USB cable.

Just the other day my start-up drive died. I bought a new one, stuck it in my Mac and formatted it for Mac OS. I then restarted my Mac from the Leopard OS Install disc. Once it started up, I went to the Utilities menu of the start-up screen and chose "Restore Stem from Time Machine Back-up" at the bottom of the menu list.

After pointing to the most recent back up that I felt was safe, and to the new drive I wanted to write to, I clicked "start." In my case, my start-up drive had 700GB to restore, so it took me longer than most folks. But in four hours it was done, and I was back online with all my apps still installed and working.

That is the easiest recovery I have ever done. By far. It used to take days or weeks.

Do it now.

Classic Sanden Book - Painting the Head in Oil

Some time ago at a garage sale or old book store I stumbled on this 1976 book, Painting the Head in Oil, by John Howard Sanden. If memory serves me, I was not yet an oil painter, but dreamed of one day abandoning the slapdash, hurried, frequent-all-nighter schedule of a commercial illustrator in favor of leisurely painting subjects in my spacious, 2-stories-tall, natural-light, north-facing windowed portrait studio.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

I was young, full of future, butbusy raising a family... and there wasn't an internet back then, so I really did not know who Sanden was. But one glance through his book told me that he knew what he was talking about. He was a portrait painter.

And he's one of those painters whose brush marks leave proof that he is in full control of his paint at all times. His paintings are never overworked, and always present a good and flattering likeness. He's painted some of the most famous people in the world, including very famous people you've never heard of. (This irony in pictures was the beginning of my understanding that the world is bigger than I could imagine).

Unlike many art books on portraiture that display fine examples of a master's work, with little practical how-to, this one talks about flesh-tone colors, mixing, premixing, mediums, and much more.

If I have one criticism, it is at the same time praise for Sanden who, due to his tremendous skill and eye for proportion, still makes portrait painting look too easy. But that is not the fault of either the author nor the publisher. The publishers are not painters nor even faintly expert in that which they publish. They are about selling books. What do they know about painting to even ask for additional clarity?

And Sanden? He's so good that when it comes to explaining some aspects of his own methods of painting, there are some issues that are so basic and instinctual to him that he probably cannot imagine they need explaining. Such is the caveat of mastery.