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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Question for 1Password users… When I generate a new password I always get two entries in 1P. One generically named www.whatever.com and one named the service after I log in. Am I the only one? Am I doing something wrong?

Make RSS more visible

Marcus Herrmann:

Personal website owners – what do you think about collecting all of the feeds you are producing in one way or the other on a /feeds page? You can put your blog feed there, but also RSS generated from your Twitter account (via RSS Box), Mastodon updates, or even the starred items of the feeds you consume (if you happen to use Feedbin).

I have my subscribe page. Which sort of lends to the purpose Marcus describes. However, it didn’t specifically promote RSS itself, and it wasn’t found at the /feeds URL. Now it does and is.

I won’t be adding any additional network activity to it.

/via Jeremy Keith.

The last few mornings I’ve been toying with making a web UI for my photo script (and extending it into a full photo library management tool). I’ve hit a roadblock working with files using a web app. Not sure I want to write a Mac app this summer. I’m disappointed.

Perhaps I’ll pick the best ideas I had and extend the CLI. And maybe, just maybe I’d pick this project up in the winter and write a Mac app.

This Obsidian app is really very good. It may replace Simplenote for me.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is very fast.

After six weeks, my PHP script for moving my photos into their proper locations (local, backup hard drive, and One Drive) is working well. I’m considering building a simple web interface for it. See also.

Chris Coleman has a blog

Chris Coleman:

Eventually I ran out of steam, life changed a bit, and the vacuum that this site filled in my day was filled by other things. I was 23 when I started this site. I’m 41 now. A lot has happened in 18 years, but somehow it doesn’t feel like a long time has passed.

Also, hot on the heels of my previously published post about blogging’s heyday, comes this quote from Chris:

Running a blog was different in those days. Everyone benefited from the fact that the internet was a much smaller place. Real social media was still a few years away, and dominance by the big players was even further out. People I had never heard of would add my site to the sidebar of their sites. I would usually not reciprocate, but it was nice to be recognized, and it made it possible to build an audience of regulars.

He understands the old days are gone. And the future starts now.

These are the bad times, but good things are happening.

Welcome back Chris.

I too miss the old days of blogging but they are never coming back

TTTThis:

When you search for blogs now on you see things like ‘Top 100 Blogs.’ ‘How to Make a Successful Blog.’ ‘Most Powerful 50 Blogs.’ But what you really want is 10,000 unsuccessful blogs.

Much of the linked piece is likely to be taken as hyperbole but it is mostly true-ish. It is true that it is harder to find smaller blogs via Google these days. And even truer that you no longer stumble across blogs. Unless, of course, you browse something like Micro.blog and follow link after link after link to find stuff. But even then, it is a lot of work.

It reminds me of Brent Simmons wishing there was a blog search engine. There really should be because Micro.blog doesn’t even seem to be trying to fill that role.

I’ve written about blogging’s past, present, and future so many times I’ve lost count. So I don’t have too much to add that I haven’t already written; save this.

Back when blogging started the internet was smaller. So the blogosphere felt bigger. While today, the internet is much much larger. So the active blogosphere – while likely relatively the same size as it was in 2003-2007 – simply feels a lot smaller. I suppose it depends on how you keep count. Social networks now feel so much bigger in both scale and impact. That doesn’t mean there aren’t great blogs being created every single day.

It sort of reminds me of music genres. Classical, Punk, Hip-hop. Each have had their time. It doesn’t mean that they no longer exist. It also doesn’t mean that there isn’t new material being made every day in each genre. But, they’ve had their time and their impact. And each gets replaced by something different. Something new.

I’m no longer waiting for the good old days of blogging to come back. I think that was a feeling that simply can no longer be replicated.

/via Colin Walker.

Follow-up on using Spotify for podcasts: They have a very long way to go before they are on par with even the most basic podcast apps. This leads me to believe they will have a standalone, free, podcasting app by year end.

New 16-inch MacBook Pro is en route. Suddenly current 13-inch MacBook Pro feels more sluggish than a few days ago. Does it know?

Unmark version 2020.1 has officially rolled into master today. This is a huge milestone with tons of new features and improvements. It has been running on Unmark.it for months and purrs like a kitten. Unmark is still my favorite app I use every single day.

After less than a day on Spotify for podcasts, I can say the desktop experience is not very good but the mobile one is OK. They have a lot of work to do to catch up to the status quo in the podcast player space.

I’d like to shoot a photo for an album cover.

I see people handing out book recommendations. Fun! Here are mine. I’m going to spend some time looking through all of yours.

I’ve long been a fan of Spotify. I don’t think it is arguable that it is better than all other streaming music services at recommending and surfacing music based on your habits. With Joe Rogan moving to Spotify, I’m going to test it podcast listening for a few weeks. Normally I use Pocket Casts on all platforms.

Now that my new day job has settled into a groove, and I’ve been able to complete a few paid gigs, I’ve updated my hire page to reflect that I have some availability.

Jeremy asks what our favorite photo is. Very hard question. But I’d have to choose Disfarmer #41383.

Nick Carver is giving away 2 seats to his online light metering for film photography course for those that may not be able to afford it.

Starting to feel stir-crazy. I need a new photography project to keep my mind off of being stuck at home.

Another “modern web” annoyance; visit a site, start reading the text, and it bounces around while you’re reading for about 60 seconds while all of the ads and autoplay videos load. I’m going back to books.

Exposed root – April 2020

If you walk through the same forest for months and months – you begin to notice the details you’d normally miss. Also on Flickr, Instagram.

I hope my comprehensive crash reports that I’m sending to Twitter a few times per day are helpful for their team. See example.

I really hate most web sites these days. You click a link and are bombarded by pop-ups, “lazy” loading images, scroll-jacking. There is zero attention to the content just your own attention.

Micro.blog for Teams

Manton Reece:

Today we’re launching a new feature on Micro.blog: support for multi-user blogs, so your whole team can write posts on a shared blog. We think it’s going to be great for small companies, families, and schools, with everything from shared photo blogs to podcasts.

This is a big update.

You may remember that I try to hold an interview with Manton Reece re: Micro.blog each year. Here is 2018, 2019. This year we couldn’t make it work. We tried for months. But he’s simply too busy – and now we can see why.

You may remember one of my questions of Manton in 2019’s interview mentioned “From an outsider’s perspective, I don’t know how you’re able to do as much as you do!” . Somehow Manton maintains Micro.blog’s code base, the server-side infrastructure, the iOS and Mac app, an additional photo-sharing app, customer support, billing, more than one podcast, his own personal blog, etc. And these are just the things I know about. I think we can all forgive him for not having time for an interview.

I wasn’t exaggerating with that question, I honestly have no idea how he does it.

My first contact print

Contact print

Above is my first ever contact print. A contact print is when you lay a negative (film, paper, tin, glass) onto photo-sensitive paper and shine light onto it to expose the paper. You then develop that paper into a positive print (or what you’d think of as a normal photo).

This is a milestone in my film journey. I’ve been trying to build enlargers with household materials over the last few quarantined weeks without any real success. In fact, I might just give up on it altogether until I get my hands on a real enlarger (which I think I have one in my sights).

Here is how the story of the above photo began.

We are in quarantine. Are you? I bet you are. Well, we’ve been in quarantine now for over 2 months or so. And that has led me to do all sorts of at-home photography projects such as my bedroom camera obscura.

Last night I got the idea to finally try my hand at making a contact print from a paper negative. I didn’t want to use the negatives I had created with the camera obscura so I thought of creating many smaller sized negatives using some old cameras I have laying around.

So step 1 was to create some cardboard templates for the focal areas for the cameras I was going to use. In my case, I chose three cameras. A Baby Kodak Brownie, a Kodak Brownie Holiday Flash Edition, and a Canon 650 35mm film camera. I chose the Brownies because they’d give me a relatively large negative (about 48mm x 23mm) and I don’t have any film that can fit into them. I chose the Canon 650 because it is a fully manual film camera that wasn’t currently loaded with any film and I can control the shutter speed.

The Baby Brownie, Canon 650 and the cardboard templates.

Now for the hard part. Rather than wait until dark (I don’t have a darkroom yet unless I create one), I decided to cut the photo paper in my changing bag. This means that I had to cut the paper blind by feeling the templates. Doing anything blind is harder than it seems it would be.

My cuts weren’t very straight, but by putting the cameras into the dark bag I was able to load the cameras with their single-shot paper negatives.

I then ventured outside our apartment to quickly take advantage of the fading light.

First, I took a photo with the Baby Brownie which ended up coming out under exposed. The photo paper is rated at about ISO 12 from what I’ve read so I thought the relatively slower shutter speeds of the Brownies would be to my advantage – but I guess I needed them to be just a bit slower. My guess is that they come in at around 1/50 or 1/60 and I really need 1/15 for this. Here is the negative and photo I took with the Baby Brownie.

Under exposed Baby Brownie paper negative
Digital positive created from paper negative
The Baby Brownie and the paper negative

Black and white photography continues to amaze me at how much information is stored in even under or over exposed negatives. This tree was in full sunlight when I took the photo and yet it came out with a very moody feel.

Next, I shot the Kodak Brownie Holiday Flash Edition – a fun looking camera that I got from a friend.

Better exposed Brownie negative
Digital positive Brownie from paper negative
Brownie Holiday Flash Edition with paper negative

This one of the apartment building came out far better exposed – but still under exposed. Again, though, you can see a lot of information is retained in these negatives despite how hacked together they are. And also despite the fact that this is photo paper and not film.

Last is the paper negative, digital positive, and contact print I created using a photo I shot with the Canon 650. I was able to meter the subject using an iPhone app, control the shutter speed (unlike the Brownies) and so the result is far better. That is why I chose this negative to create a contact print from – even though the size of the negative is smaller at just 35mm.

Canon 650 paper negative
Digital positive from paper negative.
Contact print made from paper negative
Canon 650 with paper negative and positive contact print

For the photo nerds out there, this shot was taken at f/5.6, 1/15s, and the paper is ISO 12. I developed all of the paper using Kodak D76 in my bathtub all for roughly 2 minutes or so.

I made the contact print by laying the negative on top of a fresh piece of photo paper and using my iPhone’s flashlight for about 10seconds to expose the positive. I then developed the positive in the same solution for about 2 minutes. I think I can do much better next time by making a contact print at a much larger size – say, 5×7″.

I’m definitely going to be doing more of this. Perhaps directly from negatives. But almost certainly using larger paper negatives rather than these small ones.

Seeing photos become “real” right in front of your eyes is a real treat.

Flowers – May 2020

The above image is a digital positive created from a paper negative. It was handcut from Ilford photo paper, shot, developed by me last night. I also used it as the subject for my first contact print.

You can read the behind-the-scenes story here on my blog. Also More also on Instagram.

I also backed up my site locally – including media and database – something I do not do often enough.

Finally did something I’d been putting off for far too long. My site now has appropriate titles, as in the HTML title, for every URL – archives, search, dates, statuses, photos, audio clips, dates, tags. Long overdue.

I can now say I’ve interviewed a Pulitzer Prize winning artist. I interviewed Barry Blitt on The Watercolor Gallery in 2015. Congrats to Blitt.

Me, laying down, waiting in line for tickets to Star Wars in May 1999.

Image Credit: Times Tribune Archives