New Disruptors 48: Dean Putney ('s Great-Grandpa) Is the Camera

Dean Putney has made some of your favorite things on the Internet. He's Boing Boing's software developer, as well as filling your mind with the best animated GIFs on the Internet. But what he's working on at the moment takes us over 100 years into the past: a book of photographs his great-grandfather took before World War I, and in the trenches as a German soldier. He recently funded the book project on Kickstarter, and shares lessons in publishing and crowdfunding. (Photo by heysanford.)

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Things we mention in this episode:

David Karp was about 17 when Marco Arment went to work for him, not knowing quite how young he was. Nitrate film stock is highly flammable and degrades horribly unless stored in perfect conditions. It wasn't until the 1950s that all movie film stock was replaced with cellulose triacetate. (Which also isn't stable, but is less dangerous. Now they use polyester.)

Just for clarity about which armed force that Dean's great-grandfather belonged to: The German Army in World War I was the culmination of Prussian consolidation of the country in 1879, and was dissolved after Germany lost the war in 1919. The WWII army was the Heer, the land component of the Wehrmacht, which lasted from 1935 until 1945, when Germany lost WWII. The Wehrmacht was separate from the Waffen-SS, which was a more directly controlled arm of the Nazi party.

The Daily Mail ran a wonderful, lengthy article about Dean's project. They're a little right-wingy, and supported Hitler and the Nazis in the 1930s. So did a fair number of English, though, especially in the ruling class.

Pocket Pal is the very, very best source for understanding the technical production details of pre-press (the stuff you do in making layouts and images that work and turning them into something that can be printed) and press production. It will help you understanding the difference between continuous-tone images (actually different shades of gray, such as on an screen or using a dye-sublimation printer) and halftone images (in which tiny clusters of dots fool the eye into seeing different shades). (I co-wrote three editions of a book on pre-press and images: Real World Scanning and Halftones.)

Dean and his friend Dan Shapiro spent many hundreds of hours discussing their Kickstarter campaigns before launch. Dan's Robot Turtles raised $630,000 towards a $25,000 goal! He has about 15,000 copies of the game to make and ship. Kicktraq is a useful and free way to track information about any Kickstarter campaign, although its early extrapolations of the total amount to be raised aren't very accurate — it doesn't factor in early acceleration slowing down.

The New Disruptors is a podcast about people who make art, things, or connections finding new ways to reach an audience and build a community. Glenn Fleishman is the host, and he talks with new guests every week. Find previous episodes at the podcast's home.

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