• How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet. A rather damning article on Flickr’s demise. I never was a big Flickr user, but I must admit I did not renew my pro membership when it was up for renewal in January. In theory the groups are great, but the navigation was awkward and were difficult to follow.

 

Good article on music piracy from The RegisterHey, Music Industry. You’re suing the wrong people.

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.

The Aperture Trash demystified

Joseph Linaschke, the Aperture Expert, has an excellent, very detailed explanation on what exactly happens when you empty the trash in Apple Aperture. The trash mechanism in Aperture can be complicated depending on what you are trying to trash: albums or projects, versions or master images, referenced or internally managed pictures. Joseph goes through all these possibilities and explains what happens when you actually empty the trash. Good reading and certainly helps avoiding mistakes which could lead to data loss.

In fact if the explanation is too detailed for you, check out the video included at the bottom of the blog post which explains the same thing.

The Lowepro Fastpack 200 review


The Lowepro FastPack 200

The Lowepro Fastpack 200

The Lowepro Fastpack 200 an excellent photo bag for daylong excursions. It is a classic bag pack with two main compartments. An upper one useful for personal items and has compartments for small accessories such as glasses, mobile phone, lens pen, batteries and similar. The upper compartment is large enough to add personal items or a snack. The upper compartment just about fits my Samsung NC10 netbook, so it probably will fit an iPad too. In addition two external meshed side pockets will allow you to carry bottled water or similar.

The lower part of the bag is where you will store your gear. Is it large enough to fit

  • a camera body
  • a standard 24-105 mm zoom
  • a 50 mm fix focus
  • a 70-200 mm telephoto
  • a 1.4x teleconverter

That’s a lot of gear and it is sufficient for most needs, switching if necessary to adapt for the day, such as exchanging a lens for a flash or similar.It should be largely sufficient for most purposes. Once packed you access your gear from the side in a slingbag type of fashion by removing one strap from your shoulder and swinging the bag to the front, turning it into a horizontal position. From there you have fast and easy access to your camera body.

I rather enjoy this bag, the only gripes I have with this bag is that it has no way to attach a tripod, there is no rain cover, although I am confident, that the bag is sufficiently water repelling to withstand a typical rain shower. I probably would not rely on it on a several hour-long hike during bad weather. (Not that I would be doing things like that).  It also lacks a waist strap, which might be useful for longer distance walking, considering that you can easily put some 10 kg of gear into this bag.

All in all this makes the Fastpack 200 one of my favourite camera bags. I can highly recommend it.

So I have not managed to update my blog once a week… I think I have to try harder. So far I wrote a draft which I still have to edit. Hope to get to that tomorrow…

I’m Posting every week in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now. I will be posting on this blog once a week for all of 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.

Andrew