One Thing Well vs Swiss Army

Stardust Motel

Stardust Motel

I wrote about the idea of doing one thing well, several years ago. As an adjunct to the idea, I suppose I could include the baggage with it. Still, it boils down to finding that love, that passion and sticking to to it.

Not much of a secret, I’m an Apple/Mac guy. Have been for almost all of my career, and while that’s nice, it does tend to split people, much along religious lines. This isn’t about “my computer is better than yours,” as I’m sure your machine is faster, cooler, sleeker or more steam powered.

When I have an image that’s clearly an iPhone capture, I try to make note about hardware/software.

Because I am a mac guy, I read a dissolute review of a software application I bought and use, the application – I use the phone version – is called “CameraBag.app.”

The preamble should make it obvious that I like one (thing) to do one (action). My mantra has become, “Do one thing well.” So, in that review I read on a well-known mac site, dissing my favorite application (this week), I figured I’d better say something. Time to opine.

It’s a photographic Swiss Army Knife: takes a digital image and adds a filter, crops, and shows a preview of the finished manipulation. Cost $2.99?

Not cheaper than a month-long subscription
But almost.
Certainly the same range.

Any outdoorsman has, at one time or another, carried a Swiss Army Knife, or my personal preference, the Boy Scout Pocketknife. The archetypical “Swiss Army Knife” is next to useless for more than a few simple tasks. It’s not my first choice for a desert island. I have a couple of Leatherman Tools, and the older ones are far more sturdy, in my mind and in my hand, when it comes to household chores. A telling note: more EMTs carried Leatherman Tools, at one time. Not sure, anymore, I don’t hang out with the EMTs, now.

The Swiss Army Knife, or the Leatherman that I still reach for when I have a simple screw to tighten, a nail to trim, or a burr that needs to be rounded, handy tool for a myriad of tiny projects that don’t require real tools? Still have two. Three. No Swiss Army Knives, and no Boy Scout Knife, either. I tend to favor a carbon blade instead of the more common and prettier “stainless” as the higher carbon blades, properly treated, hold an edge longer. Stained and sharp, or pretty and dull? Wait, this isn’t about dates.

It’s about the right tool for the right job. Speaks against the “Swiss Army Knife” approach to handling problems, having that array of tools, all folded up and handy.

So the CameraBag.app, as a Swiss Army Knife for portable, digital photographic needs, that “swiss army” approach usually doesn’t work well. Obviously, I’m no fan of that style.

There’s a quickness, a quickening, a fast (easy, dirty) sense that goes with this material, that application, and the nature of the digital images being manipulated. It’s not about haste, but then, it’s not about lingering with a single image for hours, adjusting the details, or doing a pixel-by-pixel edit. Possible, but again, in my mind, too much trouble.

There are, maybe, 12 options. Not exactly that Swiss Army Knife or multi-tool, but close. Out of those filters and options, only about three or four are useful for me, but they are useful enough that I’ve featured the results in and on a variety of venues.

I could argue that the software app, CameraBag.app., I could easily argue that it falls in the “do one thing well” category as a (phone) photo manipulation tool. Since the results vary, and it has a dozen options? I’m thinking that this is the only Swiss Army Knife I can include.

My horoscopes are not a Swiss Army Knife. Much as I would like to think otherwise, my horoscopes aren’t even a Leatherman or Boy Scout pocketknife.

“Gonzales Flag”

Oct. 2&3, 1835: Gonzales, Texas – possibly the first flag of the Republic of Texas.

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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