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Thursday, 10 April 2014


I've had a photograph that stank so badly that UPS and FedEx refused to deliver it. Even the airlines wouldn't let me get on their planes. But I managed to get it past the TSA. :)

Perfect timing. I get the strong impression that despite yesterday's XPocalypse, Windows XP and Chuck's fine photograph will outlive all of us.

Indisputably one of the great stories in photography's history, notwithstanding the fact that it will be largely unknown and ignored by the custodians of photography's culture history.

Personal note: I may be one of the minority of people who have rarely seen this image. My exit from the daily office world coincided roughly with the introduction of Windows XP. I have been exclusively on the Apple Mac platform since then.

Here's a question for all us photographers: would you have someone else's photo as your desktop background?

I always feel that I should have one of my own pics up there: I make pictures, so to use someone else's pic is kind of cheating.

I use this one most of the time: (https://www.flickr.com/photos/78667200@N00/5722338617/in/set-72157626726143660) which I took from a well known photo place in Hong Kong which requires a bit of scrambling and rock climbing to get to. Although it's more challenging to get down, as you tend to stay for the sunset and have to make your way down in the dark. Bring a flashlight! And maybe a stick to defend against the snakes.

I make an exception for NASA APOD pictures (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140406.html) - no matter how hard I try, I can't schlep my tripod to where they can go.

Ha ha! I always thought that image was a digital composite or something.

Film. Go figure....

Fuji Velvia?

How many megapixels is that?

I always assumed that shot was taken in the Palouse, a part of southeastern Washington state that I've never been to but I've "seen" on Michael Reichmann's Luminous Landscape site. That green rolling hill in the Windows XP wallpaper looks just like the hills in Michael's photos. As Charles O'Rear said in his video, many people thought it was shot near Microsoft's HQ. Count me as one. I think it's safe to call the Palouse near, being in the same state (even if in the opposite corner).

This is what the location looked like 10 years later...

Bliss is at 38.248966, -122.410269 in Sonoma County, CA if you want to visit.

And it doesn't look like that any more, as they show in the video. It's now a vineyard.


I had a small hand in sending XP off into the world even though I worked as a lead software developer in testing for Windows CE Tools at the time.

In the penultimate release candidate of XP it was discovered that if PlatMan was used XP would delete the contents of your document folder (FFS!). Platform Manager was used to manage the communication between the desktop and Window CE devices.

That was, even for Microsoft, an release candidate showstopper bug. I coordinated the QA side of the verification of the fix in CE Tools in the final release candidate of XP (as the bug was in XP ... not PlatMan!) then communicated with the XP QA folks for final verification. That was the last fix taken in the first release of XP.

I can't help but notice that the main image in the title sequence for Six Feet Under and the Bliss desktop picture in XP are very similar. That's at least one influence on the zeitgeist.

I'd read about the origin of "Bliss" before but it was interesting to watch the video if only for the aural surprise of hearing the "ar zed 67" described as the "ar zee 67"! :-)

Great behind-the-scenes tale. Thanks for sharing, Mike. Yes, that road looks extremely dangerous... Everyone's on the wrong side of the road!! Bruce, Australia.

I have a desktop slideshow, but I have a few Ctein's in there. 8^)

My homage to Bliss from another wine country: http://simongriffee.com/notebook/tuscan-landscape

Everybody's got a different idea of what bliss looks like…


He saw the photo... then stopped his car, got out and took the picture. How many times have I seen the photo while driving and not stopped? Too many! From now on I'm stopping (after carefully checking my rearview mirror).

You know your getting to be a classic when you see a camera you have enjoyed for years make a splash into a time capsule.

I use other people's photos for wallpaper a lot more than my own; Ctein's Halley's Comet image, a nice photo of a PDP-8/L front panel I found (having neglected to take any nice ones myself when I was using them), a Mars rover panorama, other things I don't remember so much.

I love how at 6.32s the light on O'Rear changes and he instinctively looks up to see why.

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