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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

Category: Nostalgia
March 1, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Seattle sketch comedy show ‘The 206′ finds scrappy path to success

I could see where this joke was going. Seattle comedians John Keister and Pat Cashman faced the cameras in Fremont Studios and ticked off the latest accomplishments of some of their former fellow cast members on “Almost Live!” the Seattle sketch comedy show that preceded “Saturday Night Live” for much of its 15…

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October 12, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Buried in digital photos? Organizers to the rescue

Molly Bullard teaches the basics of photo organizing to a free class hosted by the Microsoft Store in University Village Wednesday night. (MÓNICA GUZMÁN / SEATTLE TIMES)

Molly Bullard teaches the basics of photo organizing to a free class hosted by the Microsoft Store in University Village Wednesday night. (MÓNICA GUZMÁN / THE SEATTLE TIMES)

At the back of the University Village Microsoft Store last Wednesday, Molly Bullard was teaching a class to seven eager people.

Brian Daniel inherited 40 photo albums when his mother passed away. Gene and Karen Smith have 30 27-gallon tubs of print photos to transfer to a hard drive. Gretchen Sill, who came with her mother, brought her laptop PC and her husband’s MacBook Pro. Both were stuffed with digital images, many of their 2-year-old son.

Bullard, 43, is a full-time photo organizer.

“If you feel you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone,” she told the class. “Everything’s not getting easier. It’s getting harder.”
It’s getting bigger, too. Humans took an estimated 86 billion photos in 2000. In 2012, we took more than 380 billion, all but a fraction of them with digital devices.

I’d go into my external hard drive to tell you how many pictures we have stored in there, but I can’t get up the nerve. That drive is a disaster — unsure, slow to load, a mess of folders with inconsistent titles. I have no idea what’s what. I get anxious just thinking about it.

We’re drowning in photos. And we need help.

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Comments | More in Column, Family, Habits, Nostalgia, Seattle

September 28, 2013 at 8:00 PM

4,000 and counting: The handwritten letters of Shoreline’s Charles Morrison

Teacher Charles Morrison pens letters from the back yard of his Shoreline home every day of the year. (GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES)

Teacher Charles Morrison pens letters from the back yard of his Shoreline home every day of the year. (GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES)

When was the last time you wrote a letter?

Charles Morrison will write four today. He wrote four yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. All told he’s penned 4,000 letters to about 110 people in the past 11 years, hardly ever missing a day. They’re nothing grand. Just “letters by a guy of modest intelligence who likes to write,” as the 71-year-old put it. He mailed 150 of them at his Shoreline post office two weeks ago. Each was written with one of 36 calligraphy pens, and each is about something completely different.

I have no idea when I wrote my last letter. I told Morrison as much at Caffe Umbria in Pioneer Square last week. Most of the people walking by on Occidental Avenue South, I guessed out loud, probably wouldn’t know either.

Morrison laughed.

“It’s so easy to get information, give information, dash off an email. The very ease of it makes it so convenient,” he said.

“Convenient,” he added, is not one of his favorite words.

“When everything needs to be convenient, you lose sight of the process, how important the process is,” he said. “It’s just: Get it done.”

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Comments | More in Art, Column, Education, Nostalgia, Seattle, Social

September 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM

‘Paper and coin are the money of the poor or the undocumented’

As more and more people move their money in the cloud, could cash become the outcast’s currency?

It’s a tough question, not the kind of thing you can easily analyze. Reader Sandi Kurtz shared a conversation she’s had with her family on the topic in response to my column about the uncertain future of wallets. I’ve bolded some provocative segments, and added links where appropriate.

At 57, I’m in the cohort that still uses cash regularly, and feels a bit odd if I don’t have some with me.  I have a couple of credit cards, as well as the ubiquitous debit card, but use checks to pay most of my monthly bills.  Online shopping has increased the number of transactions I make with a credit card.

My kid is almost 20, in his second year of college.  He and his cohort have been dealing with money in the form of gift cards since they were quite small (the default birthday gift — a gift card to a bookstore).  Growing up, he got allowance from us in cash, but many of his friends’ families did it all through their bank accounts.  He got a credit card to go away to school (he’s in the U.K., and we wanted to make sure he could get home in an emergency) but most of his transactions now are with his debit card.

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Comments | More in Habits, Money, Nostalgia, Reactions & Resources

March 30, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Journalist who photographed Steve Jobs sees the future in the past

Photographer Doug Menuez poses with one of his photos of Steve Jobs. Menuez says the work of the tech pioneers he photographed is only now coming to fruition, and the world is ripe for new technology transformations. (Photo: Mónica Guzmán)

Photographer Doug Menuez poses with one of his photos of Steve Jobs. Jobs left a mark both on his work and his philosophy. (Photo: Mónica Guzmán)

Doug Menuez picked up his smartphone and sighed.

“You kiddin’ me?” he said, giving it a shake. “We should be at ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ by now.”

Menuez has been a photojournalist for 30 years. In that time he’s covered the Ethiopian famine, presidential campaigns and the AIDS crisis for the likes of Time, Newsweek and Life.

But the assignment he thinks most about these days is the one that never made it to a magazine. The one that changed the way he looks at technology and gave him a mission he’s only now beginning to accept.

From the late ’80s into the ’90s, Menuez photographed executives and employees at 70 Silicon Valley companies as they laid the foundations of our digital world, beginning with the one Steve Jobs ran after he was forced out of Apple — NeXT.

Watching Jobs work left a mark on Menuez — who now lives in New York — and not just because he makes unreasonable demands of his gadgets.

“I had to grow up and become a man and examine my place in the world because of that (expletive) guy,” he told me.

Like anyone who spends time with a legend, Menuez has a lot to say about Jobs. But it wasn’t what he said that struck me, but the enormous responsibility he feels to say it.

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Comments | More in Column, Nostalgia, Tech Devotion

October 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM

The CD turns 30, way less cool than it used to be

Chic, shiny, gone? (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The coolest thing in my friend Sarah’s house, back when I was in 6th grade and she hosted all the best sleepovers — was her dad’s wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling CD collection.

It was the jewel of the cavernous living room where we would lay out the sleeping bags, pop in a disc or two and one memorable night choreographed a multi-part dance to “On Bended Knee” from Boyz II Men’s 1994 album II, which we all had, of course.

Compact discs dominated music when music mattered most to my fragile social life, so it was nostalgic and frankly weird to learn that CDs turned 30 today.

And though CDs are still kicking — the 91 million sold in the first half of 2012 accounted for 61 percent of all U.S. album sales – ask the kids: Downloads and music streams are all the rage, and CDs are history.

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