Top 10 Blog Tips

The top 10 blog tips by the Wife in the North

  1. Only blog when you have something to say.

  2. Feel the fear and blog anyway.

  3. Blog sober (as opposed to blog yourself sober).

  4. When you are ready to press publish, control the mouse – don’t let the mouse control you.

  5. Blog the moments of your life to get to the truth within it.

  6. Blogging – like Life – is all about connecting.

  7. Remember the people you’re writing about – are people who read.

  8. Blog often.

  9. If necessary – moderate.

  10. Remember that it’s your blog – nobody else’s.

Good stuff to remember and to aspire for.

Number one feature on Wordpress.com

How convenient: today’s suggestion for blogging from the The Daily Post is to ask yourself:

why not write a post about either: a) Your feature wishlist (what do you wish WordPress.com did?) or b) Your top complaints, especially as it regards being a frequent blogger

Now of course I have one feature that I really would love to see, and that is the implementation of Markdown, a lightweight markup language by John Gruber. In John’s words:

The overriding design goal for Markdown’s formatting syntax is to make it as readable as possible. The idea is that a Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions. While Markdown’s syntax has been influenced by several existing text-to-HTML filters, the single biggest source of inspiration for Markdown’s syntax is the format of plain text email.

This post is currently being written in Markdown and I write most of my notes in Markdown, precisely for the fact that I can easily type them and read them as plain text without the sometimes enormously long HTML tags getting in the way and at the same time being able to very easily convert them to a formatted version, such as HTML.

Now I know that plugins exist for WordPress to allow blogging directly in Markdown. And if you have a self hosted WordPress blog you can install these plugins, but for WordPress.com this is not possible. I brought up the question in the new ideas forum to find out if it would be possible after all and generated a number of replies by supporters. I even went so far as to say I would pay for this feature although I believe it would be a very nice addition to WordPress.com as such.

So what is my number one feature I want to see on WordPress.com: the ability to write notes, articles and blogs in a simple and easily learnable markup that is consumable by humans and not only by computers.

Euphemistically Speaking

Graffiti in Geneva

A nice compilation of British euphemisms by The Economist, including:

What the British say: “With the greatest respect”
What the British mean: “I think you are wrong (or a fool)”
What is understood: “He is listening to me”

Now of course just about any language and culture has its euphemisms and they are of course particular towards the specific group they are used in. What makes English or British euphemisms in a way special is the widespread use of English in many international environments such as business or science. This widespread use invites misunderstandings as with the example above. Having worked in a multinational scientific environment for more than 15 years the one thing this has taught me is that euphemisms, irony and sarcasm are best avoided in situations where non-native English speakers, including Americans (note the sarcasm), are involved. It’s just too frustrating and your counterpart will just not get it, in the best case that is. In the worst case they will get angry or think you are just plain arrogant.

I have learnt that euphemisms and irony are best reserved for situations where you are either amongst good friends or with people of the same background, especially the same language background. Or in situations where you want to let off steam and cannot i.e. with your non-English boss.

The Fine Art of Carrying a Tripod

The only way to actually use a tripod, is to take it with you wherever you go. This brings up the question on how to transport and carry your tripod. The Fine Art of Carrying a Tripod discusses multiple ways of transporting your three legged friend.

Amongst the multiple ways of carrying your tripod are sensible ones like The Hand Carry – simply carry the tripod in your hand and The Shoulder Carry – put it over your shoulder, like a soldier carrying his rifle.

But there are also ways which will get you noticed on the street, such as the Shoulder Perch and the Radio Antenna method, which make you place your tripod over your neck or shoulders in different ways or styles.

Probably the most popular ones though are the tripod bag and the tripod strap solution, where you carry your gear over your shoulder using a strap either attached directly to the tripod or the attached to a small dedicated tripod bag.

Similarly, attaching your tripod to your camerabag is probably a viable solution and many camerabags have specific extensions to support tripods. These supports are particularly useful when getting to your destination, but when hiking around, just like the dedicated tripod bag, requires you yo unpack your tripod for use – an extra step that most likely will prevent you from using your tripod in the first place.

The beauty of having your tripod in your hand or at least over your shoulder implies that you have to use it, since you already have given up one hand for transporting it. So what could be more natural as to take your camera and immediately mount it on your tripod already at hand.