Making a Good Idea Even Better

One of the coolest things about starting up a website has been getting a peek behind the curtain at how some of the normally hidden stuff on the web happens.

One of my strongest impressions has been that Google will someday own the world. They are an amazing machine.

They make available - for free - a set of statistics on the daily site traffic that just continues to boggle my mind.

I can see which are the most popular pages, and develop those to basically give people more of what they want.

I know that people are logging on daily from more than 50 countries. (Estonia? Who knew?)

I know where people are likely to spend the longest amount of time. (On the essays.)

And if you have a webcam on your computer, I can actually see you while you surf. To the guy in Spain who likes to read "On Assignment" at 3:00am wearing nothing other than a pair of hot pink boxer shorts:

Please. Stop.

Alright, so maybe I am kidding about the webcam part. But the stats really are amazing.

The most telling is the list of referring sites - where people come to Strobist from.

And site number nine on yesterday's list was a place called Never heard of it. But, apparently, some of you guys have.

So, out of curiosity, I moseyed on over and took a look through Fred's site last night.

Now, Fred is just your typical guy, with a typical story:

Born in Brazil, studies Architecture Design and Computer Science, wins the national bodybuilding championship, moves to the US, becomes a model (LA, New York and Milan) and later goes on to study computer graphics at UCLA. And now he runs, a pretty kick-butt photo site.

You know, pretty much the typical web publisher profile. My story, as you can imagine, is much the same. Yawn.

(Oh, and ladies: He's taken. Married 12 years with two daughters. Sorry. My wife was bummed, too.)

So, in addition to a site that is worth checking out in general, there are also some cool articles on how-to and the like. Which brings me to the purpose of this increasingly long-winded post.

On this page is a tutorial on how to build a little softbox for your flash. It's a cool little idea, that could be made even better with a little evolutionary thinking.

First, you could GET THE FRIGGIN' THING OFF OF THE CAMERA! (Sorry, little kneejerk reaction to on-cam flash there. Please excuse.)

But anybody could do that. What kept me awake last night was trying to figure out a way to design this softbox to where it would be collapsible. That way, I could carry two of them (face-to-face, for protection) in a little notebook in my trunk. They'd be ready to use - and undamaged - at any time.

I had a dawn assignment today, so I fell asleep before it came to me. But I thought I'd also flip it to you guys, since many of you are also cheapskates DIY afficianados.

Take a look at the tutorial (and the rest of the site, for that matter) and see if you can come up with anything. If you get a good collapsible design, start a Flickr thread and lets see if it can be improved.

Get in touch with your Inner MacGuyver. And if you build it, use the thing off-camera for Pete's sake.


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