Blog

Third beta release of Cypress is out the door. A few main things left and it should be ready for the first public release build. I added a version history section to the page. When the theme is released there will also be a quick video showing how to set it up.

Olli Thomson’s dos and don’ts of photography

Olli Thomson:

As a photographer, what do I do now that I did not do when I was starting out? Or, to put it the other way round, what do I no longer do that I once did? Here are seven things off the top of my head accompanied by some random photographs that have no direct relation to the words but which happen to appeal to me today.

I especially appreciated this one:

I print. Even the biggest, brightest, most hi-tech display on the planet can’t equal the pleasure of a print. This is partly because I have yet to see a display that matches the complexity and subtlety – that word again – of a good print, but mostly because the best display in the world can’t match the tactile joy of a print in your hands.

Display technology is really amazing these days. But making prints in the darkroom has changed everything about the way I photograph for the better. And it is fun!

Humankind have yet to invent a way to “catch up” when you stumble upon a great blog with deep archives.

I think Super Follow and Communities both make total sense for Twitter. They need to make money on things other than ads.

The new hotness over the last year has been to move out of cities and into more rural areas. I’ve lived here all my life and really enjoy the lifestyle it affords. So, welcome city folk. Make yourself at home. And relax.

My very first roll of film shot through my new camera had some issues. Thankfully, Ilford is sending replacements for all of my rolls. They make excellent products and have excellent service.

Total Cookie Protection

Mozilla:

Total Cookie Protection makes a limited exception for cross-site cookies when they are needed for non-tracking purposes, such as those used by popular third-party login providers. Only when Total Cookie Protection detects that you intend to use a provider, will it give that provider permission to use a cross-site cookie specifically for the site you’re currently visiting. Such momentary exceptions allow for strong privacy protection without affecting your browsing experience.

The latest version of Firefox will now silo most cookies to only be usable by the domain that created them.

If you aren’t using Firefox or Safari (perhaps Brave? I don’t know enough about it to recommend it) you should really reconsider. If you’re still using Chrome in 2021 you might just be out of your mind. No offense, of course.

I’m close to needing a beta tester or two for my next project release. Can you help? You’ll need; a WordPress install. It is a theme made for people with visual portfolios (photographers, painters, designers, etc.). If that is you? Please reach out.

Watching Spotify’s media event. I think I only understand about 25% of the words they are using.

Craig Mod on using social networks for their strengths

Craig Mod, in a footnote of the post announcing his newsletter Huh:

So my general philosophy of these social networks is to lean into what they do well — a bit of distribution, a bit of playfulness — and don’t kill yourself trying to make them do things for which they aren’t designed.

I am angry at Instagram. I wish they never sold to Facebook. I wish they were about sharing photos and not about ripping off Tiktok w/ Reels. But those ships have long since sailed and I need to get over it. I need to use Instagram for what it is good at – distribution (this word sounds icky, but really it is about being able to communicate with the broader photography community even if I don’t have many relationships within it) – and use my web site for everything else.

A camera system that I hope to use for the next 40 years arrived yesterday. The Mamiya 645.

Left: Pro TL, Right: 1000s

As the snow melts and freezes and melts and freezes the deer have a tough time digging for food. So each February that I am able, I like to put out some corn for them. We now have four regular visitors at about 3am.

No more boring apps

Andy Allen:

The world of apps—once an exciting canvas for creative exploration—has become repetitive, predictable, and… boring.

If this isn’t a rallying cry, I don’t know what is. I downloaded his apps, they are fantastic. I’m on it Andy.

I forgot to mention, I’ve learned how to use the color head on my enlarger and I can now change the contrast of my prints using multi-grade paper just by turning up/down the magenta and/or yellow. Game changer. Dramatically reduces my need to dodge and burn.

James Michie’s tips for blogging

James Michie, 10 years ago, wrote a post about what he had learned after a year of blogging. Then, this year, he wrote a very short post to revisit and update that list. He wrote:

Ten years on and most of the points in the above post still hold up. Except for number nine, that is. If I were writing the post today, I would say forget about SEO and analytics. Instead double down on point number one. All that matters is what you write.

His original list is good. But I completely agree with his update. I hate SEO. In fact, I think SEO is terrible and one of the biggest wastes of money to hit web development during my career. There are so many SEO specialists that make a lot of money to update a website’s SEO. I think the pressure should be on the search engine to find all sites rather than the website author feeling so much pressure to understand search engines.

And, of course, personal blogs are far better off without analytics than with them.

See also my blogging tips.

Link priority

I have linked to what must be millions of things. I share a lot of links from here on my blog. I have linked to hundreds of artists from The Watercolor Gallery. And on social media I have linked to and retweeted countless times. I take linking very seriously.

I have a sort of link prioritization process I go through when I am trying to determine where a link should go.

Linking toFirstSecondThird
A personTheir personal URLTwitterOther social network
An appThe app’s URLThe developer’s URL for the appApp Store URL
A news storyThe original breaker of the newsA position piece related to the news
A productThe manufacture/creator’s URLThe suggested retail URLAmazon
A piece of artThe artist’s personal URLThe artist’s main social network post for the pieceA third-party showcasing the work
A podcast/episodeThe podcast’s domain URL for the show/episodeThe podcast host web URL (E.g. Podbean)A podcatcher URL (E.g. Pocket Casts)

You get the idea.

In addition to the prioritization of where a link should go I also make great effort to include real full names and all credit possible to the appropriate parties. It is sometimes very hard or impossible. There have been times that I have chosen not to link to a piece of art because I simply could not find the original artist.

I don’t know why I wrote this down.

I huge side benefit of my usage of Unmark is that I store an enormous amount of links in it and let them stew for a few days or even weeks sometimes – by the time I get to many of them they aren’t important anymore so I didn’t waste any time on them.

github1s

github1s:

Just add 1s after github and press Enter in the browser address bar for any repository you want to read.

This is super cool. Take any repository on GitHub and add 1s to the domain name and you’ll see the source code for the repository loaded in a browser-based version of VS Code (since it is built on top of Electron).

Want an example? Load Unmark in VS Code.

Creatively bored

Filmosaur*:

Sure, I took a few photos here and there, but there’s no real creativity, no real meaning. Perhaps an occasional photo managed to capture something more than an utterly prosaic image, but it feels accidental rather than deliberate. So rather than bore others – again, a Very Bad Thing in my weltanshauung – I just didn’t put anything out there. I worked sporadically on some past photos, reediting and rethinking, perhaps assigning new values to old pictures – a very personal thing to be sure, and not one to be imposed on other viewers – but the idea of producing new creative work has been the very opposite of my experience in the last year or so.

If you’re experiencing a huge valley in your creativity as the result of this past year’s, as the filmosaur put it, unpleasantness then I urge you to read the entire post. You are not alone.

I haven’t taken nearly as many photos as I have in past years. And very many of them I didn’t care much for.

* It appears the author of this blog prefers to keep their name rather well hidden. So I shall respect that.

Skittish

Andy Baio:

Today, I’m announcing Skittish, a playful virtual space for online events. Skittish brings people together into a game-like interactive 3D environment that’s designed from the ground up for socially-driven events, big and small.

It’s currently in private beta, but you can sign up now for updates and announcements, or follow @SkittishHQ on Twitter and Instagram.

With Skittish, I’m trying to make a space that supports the kind of events that I love to organize and attend: creative, experimental, and deeply social.

I’m watching this closely.

Ethan Marcotte’s typical day

Ethan Marcotte, the always brilliant responsive web design guy:

My day starts in earnest around 9AM, or as close to it as I can get. I’ll open up both email and Slack briefly to see if anything important’s come in, and reply to anything pressing. After that, I’ll close both2, look over my calendar, and plot out my morning. There might be a few meetings dotting the schedule, but mornings are the time I’m most awake and active. I try to reserve the pre-lunch hours for designing, writing, or detailed planning. In other words, the morning’s for the tasks that require my best brain.

If I remember to close my email client I’m always happy that I’ve done so. I need to do the same for Trello which sends me pings regularly as well.

See others from this series.

Blogging for me

I’ve covered this topic many times from many different perspectives. I publish on my blog mostly for myself and for the added benefit that someone else will find the information useful.

Recently Jeremy Keith wrote similarly. But this other bit about how one cannot predict what will resonate with others keeps coming up too. He wrote:

I’ve noticed—and other bloggers have corroborated this—there’s no correlation whatsover between the amount of time you put into something and how much it’s going to resonate with people. You might spend days putting together a thoroughly-researched article only to have it met with tumbleweeds when you finally publish it. Or you might bash something out late at night after a few beers only to find it on the front page of various aggregators the next morning.

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time you know I’ve also experienced the same. In fact, I would wager it is more likely that something I spent less time on gets more attention than the things I spend more time on.

In 2015 I wrote:

I’ve had a few blog posts that went pretty crazy. My most popular post has had millions of unique page views. Before publishing it I would have never, ever guessed it’d be the most popular post.

I publish each post with the expectation that a very small number of people will ever read it. I also expect it to be just a blip in their day and will be very inconsequential.

Hidde de Vries’ typical day

Hidde de Vries:

Sometimes there’s a book I can’t stop reading or a guest in one of the late night talk shows that I don’t want to miss. I go to bed with a book.

Love his book page. Also his last name hits a chord. My grandfather changed our last name from Bijl de Vroe to simply Devroe when becoming a US citizen. So de Vries, somehow, feels close.