Time, The Blogosphere, and World Economy

23 January 2012.

My daughter’s 5th birthday, celebrated with a large party of family and friends a couple of days ago, and on her actual birthday with grandparents, lots more presents, and time.

For a year or so before Jessica was born, I was heavily invested (timewise) in the Australian Woodwork Forums, moderating, writing and producing videos for a new area that we’d created which had particular appeal to me, as it combined my woodworking and a fascination with video editing.

To roll that back even further: other than always having a particular interest in photography, in 1986 I got to use an SLR for the first time while doing a short course at high school. The photographic interest at that point became the seed for a hobby that kicked off heavily in 1988 when I toured Europe for a year and bought a new SLR (Minolta 7000) while passing through the US on the way to London. That hobby (obsession) continued until 2000, when Kodak took some of my films I had just shot on the Great Ocean Road of Victoria, Australia, and destroyed them all by processing them in the wrong chemicals (they processed the Velvia slide film (E6) in print film chemicals (C41)). My interest in photography had a revival once I got my first digital SLR, but the intensity that I pursue it is only at a 1/10th what it used to be. Still, through a combination of a significant back-library of photos, and what I still take these days, my little photo blog has content to last. Stu’s Darkroom

But back to the video editing. Photography and videography do have a lot in common- video being a bunch of photos taken at 25 frames a second (or 29.79/30 FPS for NTSC). A year after my first SLR experience, I shot my first video- creating a music video for a band at school for a national battle of the bands music video competition called Shazam. The band’s music entry didn’t get anywhere particularly, but my video got through to the final 4. This was in the days long before you could whip up a broadcast quality video on your desktop computer (or your iPad).

In 1999, I was in Cairns diving on the Great Barrier Reef on a dive cruise, and met a couple from the US. Their next stop was Melbourne, so I took them for a trip down to Phillip Island for the day. Turned out, he was a programmer for Adobe, and he offered me their suite of products at cost. One of those products was Premiere: their non-linear digital editing product.

Photography, video, and the ease of desktop editing crashed into each other. All it needed was a few more years for the power of the average computer to catch up to make it a reality.

So there I was in 2006/7, producing small videos on woodworking and we (woodwork forums) become aware of a new blog/podcast starting the the US, called the Wood Whisperer. Not sure exactly when Marc started, but it was around then. What caught my attention was his videos were in iTunes, and I was really interested in getting some of my photo essays on there, in a similar theme to what Magnum was doing with their photo essays.

I needed something to test, and set up a web server at home to host the video. I didn’t want to start with a serious photo essay, so chose one of my woodworking ones. And to package it up for submission to iTunes, I created a simple blog. Stu’s Shed.


This year (end of June) marks 5 years since that curious twist resulted in this website taking off, 5 months after my daughter’s birth. Boy has it been busy times! I read with interest on Marc’s personal blog about just how much of an impact having his first child recently has impacted hugely on him and his (now) business of The Wood Whisperer, and not only can I sympathise, but it makes clear just how time consuming it has been for me to hold down a full time job, with a new child, and run a demanding woodworking blog. I’ve grown the site as much as time has permitted (and continue to do so), but no wonder how much I’ve burned the candle at both ends to keep it running, and still not been able to derive an income from it- time to do the niceties of planning, regular articles, regular videos etc just doesn’t exist (as even Marc is discovering!)

You can read Marc (Wood Whisperer) Spagnuolo’s article here.

We have different models for our blogs, Marc and I. Between Marc, Matt (as in Matt’s Basement Workshop) and I, we had the first three woodwork podcasts (and the first three woodwork blogs (?)) out there. There are a few more these days! I still try to keep mine a bit different- not to be better, but why duplicate what someone else is doing?

This year, Stu’s Shed will, like my daughter, turn 5 years old. It will pass the 2000 article point, and hopefully the 150 video mark (yes, I want to get back to more regular video production). I doubt anyone will offer me $1000000 for my website though!

Still, my constant readers, we will continue on this weird journey together! Now the mad season is coming to an end (Xmas, birthdays etc), I can get back to my job of creating sawdust!

Oh- on World Economy? Have a read of this fascinating article on manufacturing and the western world. It uses the example of the iPhone, but really can be applied across the board to any industry trying (and failing) to keep manufacturing local. The world is a very different place these days. If Michael Crighton wrote Rising Sun today, I wonder how different the story would be?

Apple, America and a Sweezed Middle Class I wonder what future we are setting up for our future generations as western society follows our economy?

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