I have been using Flickr for five years and I like it. I have a Pro account which means I have unlimited uploads and storage, and no advertisements. For this I pay $24.95 and consider it money well spent.
Today Yahoo, the owner of Flickr, announced a new arrangement which kicks Pro account holders in the balls by eliminating their accounts once their current subscription has expired. Instead, they are offering a free account (good) with advertisements (bad) and a storage limit of 1TB (bad, although probably irrelevant to most).
If you really want to do without the advertisements you can give Flickr $49.95 a year (no thank you), and if you have been loading hours of video, can you can double your storage to 2TB for a mere $499.95 a year (yikes!).
I would rather carry on paying what I did for what I received, but I suppose I will just have to get used to paying nothing and being bombarded with adverts. What pisses me off is not being given a choice after being a paying customer for five years.
The other dubious “enhancement” is a brand new look to the site. Maybe OK for those with fast internet (like all the managers at Yahoo); but bit of a paint-drying experience on my screen and I would prefer the old, more textual look. Still, I suppose I will get used to it.
But for anyone considering whereabouts to stick their photos, Flickr is a good service with a vibrant (although currently angry) community. My photostream is here.
Facebook is an excellent medium for discovering the lunch menu of people you worked with twenty years ago. It’s also quite good for cat photos. But there are many frustrations to avoid or overcome. Here are some of them:
The trite quotation.
I can’t begin to describe how much this motivates me. Here’s another life-changing thought:
Fucking genius. I am reminded of the wise sayings of the Sphinx in Mystery Men which offer similar levels of insight.
It is astonishing how many people share this sort of crap on their Facebook page; has it made a difference to their lives? If it has I feel almost sorry for them.
The “intelligence” test.
ArseholE. Two seconds; I am brilliant, allegedly.
Becky is of course quoting a WHO funded study which proved scientifically that 80% of the 300,000 people who wasted their time looking at this jumble of letters chose the same word. This proves absolutely nothing. Still, you don’t want to be part of the 80%, so insert a randomly made-up word of your choice; I usually offer “spunkbandit”.
Enter a number or a word and something amazing will happen. And the amazing thing is that millions of people succumb to this nonsense. And what does happen? No idea, I refuse to be involved.
Inevitably, these are contrived bollocks, often dressed up as “true stories”. The moral of the story is either that god is great, or that you should shake off any soil that lands on your head, or that anyone who shares stories like this is mentally deficient.
Hard to believe that more than one million people believed someone would send them $5,000 dollars. Still, if they will believe that, they might believe this:
The guilt trip
You must share these or else you are a bad person; just like the wanker who published the image in the first place in a desperate attempt at attention (look at me, I got 455,000 “likes”).
The pity plea
This is the sickest of all. Merely in the search for hits for some pathetic page, photos of sick children are stuck on Facebook with moronic claims such as “every like will generate a prayer”, or nonsense like this:
Pity the poor parents if they chance upon the photo; shame on the idiots who perpetuate this sad vanity by sharing it.
All of this crap appears to be thrown onto Facebook merely to gain attention and increase “likes” for the originator. It’s sad that people feel the need to publish this nonsense, even sadder that so many people seem to absorb it and regurgitate it; saddest of all that there is not an option alongside “like” where you can choose “detest” or “I despair for the future of the human race”.
During one of my regular trawls around YouTube, I was presented with the the option of viewing a video from “Learn Thai With Mod”, which apparently would teach me some “new cool Thai word and slang.”
My knowledge of Thai remains hopeless, so here was a chance to impress she who must be obeyed with a new phrase, one which I could proudly use out of context for a couple of days before forgetting it completely, just like all the other phrases I have forgotten.
Khun Mod turned out to be a pleasant on-line companion and I came away with the expression “khon kaen stand up”; easy to remember because Khon Kaen is a place and stand up is English. The phrase means the hair on your arms stand up; and I stored it away for future use.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the Dambusters raid and I watched a BBC documentary which featured extensive footage of a Lancaster, with a couple of Spitfires thrown in for good measure. Evocative stuff, enough to get the old arm hairs at attention on occasion.
When she who must be obeyed came home I told her about it.
It was quite emotional, in fact it made me khon kaen stand up (notice how I just slipped that into the conversation?).
Khon kaen stand up!
What are you talking about?
You know, khon kaen stand up, when your arm hairs stand up.
What has khon kaen got to do with it?
It means arm hair.
No it doesn’t, khon kaen is a place in Thailand.
What’s air hair then?
That’s what I said.
No, you said khon kaen, the place.
How do you say khon kaen meaning arm hair?
And how do you say khon kaen the place?
Buggered if I could hear a difference; I am never going to master a tonal language when I am tone deaf.
She who must be obeyed was highly amused and was straight onto Facebook to recount the story, with witty references to Chiang Mai sit down. Yeah, yeah, mock if you must.
After she had amused herself at my expense, the conversation returned to hairs standing up on arms.
What do you call that in your country?
Because your arm is all bumpy like the skin of a goose after it has been plucked.
Do you have a lot of geese in your country?
You should call it chicken’s arse, more understandable and easier to spot.
So chicken’s arse it now is, causes less confusion (just) than my attempts at khon kaen stand up.
Had you glanced at the contents of my shopping basket a couple of months ago, it would have been an uninspiring sight. At least one bar of chocolate, some biscuits, assorted snacks and just maybe a couple of apples; the latter destined to be ignored and later discarded. The only purpose of the contents was to amuse my mouth in between meals of processed food of dubious nutritional value.
In comparison, this is what I brought home from the shops this morning:
Not shown, a slice of pumpkin and a honeydew melon which
I forgot to include in the photo refused to sign the necessary confidentiality agreement.
In place of chocolate bars as an indulgence, there are kiwi fruits and avocados. Everything else is destined to be juiced and thrown down my throat over the next 2-3 days. Oh,not the bananas, but they are great blended with juice to make a smoothie.
It’s been a month since I invested in a juicer, and since that time every day has featured at least one meal of juiced vegetables, with a touch of fruit. And with breakfast each morning there has been fresh fruit juice accompanying my home made yoghurt and home constructed muesli. That just leaves one meal a day which is taken outside, and I try to make that something reasonably healthy.
Our bathroom scales are rubbish, but I have definitely lost weight. More importantly, I feel so much better than I did; which is hardly surprising given the litre of pure nutrition I am ingesting every day. Most surprising is that I have lost all desire for coffee. It used to be a necessary start to the day; but after a few days of juicing I lost the desire for caffeine and have just had the occasional social cup since; which I did not enjoy.
Once you start investigating the world of nutrition, you soon realise how easy it is to eat well and thus massively reduce your risk of cancer, heart attack, dementia and many other things that can come along and spoil your fun. I just wish I had realised this earlier; but I am sure it is never too late to start treating your body with a modicum of respect.
Right, I’m off to eat my own weight in celery.
On of the features of the E-M5 I had not played with is called Live Time.
Live Time is designed for long exposure shots when you are not entirely sure how long an exposure you need. But set the shutter onto Live Time and press the button to start exposing the shot and the rear screen will update and show you how the shot is looking as the exposure progresses. Once you have the look you want, press the shutter again to finish the exposure.
Here’s an Olympus example of Live Time in action:
For my first attempt I found some waves splashing on some rocks at sunset, set the F stop to F16 to maximise the exposure, and then started Live Time. This one was 3.3 seconds:
An obvious candidate for Live Time would be fireworks, where you could keep the shutter open until you had captured the display to your satisfaction. Alternatively, get a very dark ND filter and take some cool daytime shots of sea and river scenes without having to guess an appropriate exposure. Cool feature Olympus.
Received an email on Sunday from The Son titled “What did you do on Saturday?” with the accompanying text:
“I spent 8 hours taking pictures of models.
As I had spent Saturday with a mop and vacuum cleaner, I had to concede defeat.
He attached some tasty photos, which he has kindly allowed me to share.
The event was arranged by the photography club of his employer (my employer never had a photography club), and members rolled up weighed down by assorted DSLRs; apart from The Son and his friend who had their Micro Four Thirds gear. All the below were taken with a Panasonic GX1 with either the Panasonic 20mm lens or Olympus 45mm lens, proof once again that you don’t need a DSLR to take great photos. More important is an artistic flair (inherited from his mother) for the creative use of light.
A long time ago (four years), in a land far away (my smallest bedroom), there came a table of magnitude (3 metres) which was designed as being a piece of elegant furniture but was delivered looking like something from a farmyard.
It was intended as a computer table and so it was loaded up with computers and served its purpose for some months. Then we decided to turn the bigger spare bedroom into a joy-filled emporium of hobby delights, to include photography lights and all the computers. And so it was, with much sweating and swearing, that the 3 metre table was moved to the bigger room where it was again loaded with computer gear. The smaller spare room changed status to spare bedroom and domestic balance was restored for a while.
But the wooden floor in the bigger room was well past its best, courtesy of two floods caused by burst pipes many years ago; and it had gradually degraded to the point where it needed ripping up. In addition, my designed to be magnificent computer table had cracked where it should not have cracked and become even more unsightly thanks to cat attacks, spilled drinks and general wear and tear. In summary, it looked like shit.
So the table had to go, and the floor had to be replaced; and preparation for that has taken up much of my time over the past week.
First, the computers. Before I could deal with the table, the computers had to be moved. Their temporary home would be back in the small bedroom, pending their triumphal return to the bigger room once it had a new floor. So a trip to Ikea was made and we spent at least an hour deciding whether to have a green glass worktop or a black glass worktop. On the way home, she who must be obeyed asked me which we had chosen and I could not remember.
Turned out to be black and the computers were duly moved; although I could see no point in sorting out the cabling in the temporary location. But before I could install these new glass tabletops, I had to dismantle and move a bed. I don’t know if you have ever tried moving a double mattress on your own, but I assure you it is not an easy task.
Next job was to deal with the wooden table. I remembered that it had taken at least five fit men to negotiate it up the stairwell when it was installed; I couldn’t see the point of employing similar to take it down again. And so I embarked upon one of the least pleasant afternoons of my life. Armed with a rather feeble Black and Decker fretsaw, a hammer and a screwdriver, I attacked the three metre monster. After four hours I had reduced it to kit form; although it was not the sort of kit you could ever rebuild.
It was then a further two hours to clean up the mess I had made, plus all the filth that had been hiding behind the desk for years. It was very hot and I worked only in my underpants (not a pretty sight). As a result I was probably unaware as to just how much I had sweated and dehydrated. After slumping on the sofa in the evening for an hour or so, I stood up and suddenly found myself on the floor, on the verge of blacking out. Took a further day of extensive fluid intake before the wobbly feeling disappeared.
Then we needed some tiles to replace the wooden floor, so it was off to the tile emporium for an afternoon of delights. We finally agreed on a tile which they actually had in stock, only to find there was a waiting list of at least a month for their tiling service.
So after a week of fun, I have a pile of wood that needs to be taken away, and a floor that needs to be removed and replaced with tiles which will probably be out of stock by the time I can find a tiler.
I hope your week was better.
In support of my improved eating regime, I decided I needed a suitable container for juice consumption on the go. So it was off to the local mall to check out the collection of Sigg waterbottles. There was not a wide choice, but I settled for something with a treatment that could be described as “well-used green”. Good enough for me.
She who must be obeyed took a sudden interest.
Can I have one?
Well, you are not really into juicing, so what is the point?
I could be, and then we could go out together with our juices.
I had no idea why she would want a juice bottle, but as usual she managed to put a romantic spin on the idea, so of course I agreed.
OK, off you go and find a design you like.
And from behind her back she produced this:
Kitty conned, again.