Photo booth

I've been thinking of making another attempt at building a photo booth for DNA Lounge.

I last tried this back in 2007, and gave up, because back then, no cheap video cameras were good enough in low light, and getting a Mac to remotely control a DSLR and then get images out of it was basically impossible.

But hey, eight years later! And the world has changed so much that there are not only a ton of people out there selling photo booths, but there are a ton of people selling just the software to turn a DSLR, a printer and a tent into a photo booth. With anim-GIFs.

The world has changed so much that there is a Photo Booth Expo. Yes, there really is a convention for everything.

So, Lazyweb, what do you know about this stuff?

Have you used photo booth software? Have you maintained a photo booth and seen what happens upon contact with the enemy?

Which software, cameras and printers are any good? I guess I want:

  • Mac-based, not Windows;
  • Live video preview;
  • The preview works well enough in low light that the booth doesn't have to leak light all over the nightclub (a flash is ok, but a constant-on 100 watt bulb is not);
  • Auto-upload all photos to our own web site;
  • A photo printer that can stand up to an extraordinary amount of abuse;
  • Ability to take cash or credit cards to pay for the prints;
  • Is not going to require an operator to fuss with it multiple times a night.

There are lots of companies out there who will happily put a photo booth inside your business, charge for the photos, and keep all of the money, but if I've learned anything from owning my own ATMs and owning my own ticketing service, it is this: "never, ever do that."

The turnkey photo booths you can buy seem to go for $8,000 to $15,000, which seems crazy for a fabric tent that has at best $1,600 worth of hardware and off-the-shelf software in it. But, maybe answering the questions I asked above is harder than I think it is.

(If you are about to suggest running Apple's "Photo Booth" application then you are missing the point about how combat-hardened this solution needs to be. In fact if you're about to begin a sentence with "Why don't you just...", please don't, that means you haven't thought it through and you're not helping.)

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Today in "Glistening Fatberg" news...

Sewer Snake: Boss Level

A 10-tonne lump of wet wipes and fat has been removed from a sewer in Chelsea, west London.

The toxic lump of congealed fat and household waste -- known as a fatberg -- was 40 metres long and so heavy that it broke the 1940s-era sewer.

Repairing the damaged sewer is expected to cost Thames Water £400,000 and take more than two months, the company said.

Stephen Hunt, a repair and maintenance supervisor at Thames Water, who is overseeing the fatberg's removal, said its size was staggering.

"We see blockages all the time on household sewer pipes, which are about big enough for a cricket ball to pass through, but to have this much damage on a sewer almost a metre in diameter is mind-boggling.

"The original sewer has been so badly abused by fat being chucked down the plughole we've had to opt for the time-consuming and disruptive option of replacing many metres of pipe."

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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A dialog with some DMT entities

"Universal Love," Said The Cactus Person.

"Transcendent joy," said the big green bat.

"Right," I said "I'm absolutely in favor of both those things. But before we go any further, could you tell me the two prime factors of 1,522,605,027, 922,533,360, 535,618,378, 132,637,429, 718,068,114, 961,380,688, 657,908,494 ,580,122,963, 258,952,897, 654,000,350, 692,006,139?

"Universal love," said the cactus person.

"Transcendent joy," said the big green bat.

The sea was made of strontium, the beach was made of rye. Above my head, a watery sun shone in an oily sky. A thousand stars of sertraline whirled round quetiapine moons, and the sand sizzled sharp like cooking oil that hissed and sang and threatened to boil the octahedral dunes.

"Okay," I said. "Fine. Let me tell you where I'm coming from. I was reading Scott McGreal's blog, which has some good articles about so-called DMT entities, and mentions how they seem so real that users of the drug insist they've made contact with actual superhuman beings and not just psychedelic hallucinations. You know, the usual Terence McKenna stuff. But in one of them he mentions a paper by Marko Rodriguez called A Methodology For Studying Various Interpretations of the N,N-dimethyltryptamine-Induced Alternate Reality, which suggested among other things that you could prove DMT entities were real by taking the drug and then asking the entities you meet to factor large numbers which you were sure you couldn't factor yourself. So to that end, could you do me a big favor and tell me the factors of 1,522,605,027, 922,533,360, 535,618,378, 132,637,429, 718,068,114, 961,380,688, 657,908,494, 580,122,963, 258,952,897, 654,000,350, 692,006,139?

"Universal love," said the cactus person.

"Transcendent joy," said the big green bat.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Uber might have safety training, but if they do, it's secret.

Safety Courses Not Required For Uber, Lyft, Others

In the wake of an Uber driver arrested after allegedly hitting and injuring a cyclist in Fisherman's Wharf on Sunday, more questions are being raised about driver safety requirements.

Specifically, taxis are regulated by SFMTA and are required to take 28 hours of classes through one of four approved private driving schools, and another day of training through the SFMTA. An hour of the SFMTA training includes instruction on sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, is taught by a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. At least two hours of testing is required. And as part of the city's Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024, SFMTA is instituting a large vehicle urban driving safety program for all large vehicle drivers who work for the city.

All told, as Central City Extra covered in their latest issue, there are 71 pages of dense regulations for cab drivers to follow. Not so for drivers working for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar or limo companies, which are not regulated by the SFMTA -- they only have 28 simple regulations to follow. [...]

Frisbee confirmed that the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is in talks with Lyft to include online safety training. What about Uber? "At this point, Uber has decided that our safety training is not worth their investment," Frisbee said. She said Uber told the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition the company "found someone else to do it," but when it asked for details, including who was giving the training, how long it lasted and what was included, "they said 'we're not sharing it'," she said.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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