Nov 22

Tweet ya later, bird site

I’ve made the move away from Twitter. Odd saying that, having spent 14 years with the microsite. It had great value to share information. Then that value diminished somewhat, but it was, nevertheless, still a great way to receive information. The incongruity had been weighing on me for a while, but the new owner and the great deal of baggage he’s brought along became the last straw. No sleep was lost on this choice. I downloaded my archive and moved on. Some new thing will present itself, I figured, and it did.

Mastodon has been around for a long while, but I only joined it on Halloween. I spent a week or so just watching it, another week wondering at its comparative weaknesses and reading longterm users brag on and on (and on and on) about its strengths. Some things in each of those categories are about human engineering, rather than the platform, but they are all part of the experience.

Follow me on Mastodon. Or click the button at the top of each blog page, or the homepage.

(I’m at Post, too, but haven’t done anything with it yet.)

Not everyone I follow on the bird site will make such a move, and that’s fine. Think of it as a group of people with a difference of opinion about where to eat dinner. At some point, perhaps a critical mass gathers, or key people voice their opinion, and that helps you make your own decision. It is gratifying that some of the people I want to follow are now showing up on Mastodon. As more people come over I’m sure it’ll feel more familiar and comfortable. Though I think some of the things that make it proudly different are unnecessarily limiting at this point. (That is an initial impression and very much subject to change.)

But that’s the interpersonal perception. From a corporate or institutional perspective, the biggest words for making this transition will be search and transfer. If you are an entity that has misguidedly put too many of your marketing eggs in any one social media basket, you might be in trouble in this moment of truth.

I don’t want to evangelize it today, but one nice thing about Mastodon is that you can follow hashtags. This absolutely inundates you with the subject matter of choice. The negative is that it absolutely inundates you with the subject matter of choice. There’s a great deal of selection bias to guard against there.

Take the popular Mosstodon hashtag, for example. Following that hashtag puts every use of it, all of them, in your feed. My feed quickly filled up with moss and lichen.

This isn’t bad, but it is dominating my feed So I need more friends to show up, and more hashtags to follow. That, of course, creates more volume, which means more time invested, and one needs to be mindful of that. It’s a great big work in progress.

I’m putting a few successful things on the site so far. Here’s my first Mosstodon post.

Also, I do enjoy a good batch of lichen from time to time.

Another of the real strengths is that you can take any person or hashtag and add them to an RSS reader. That makes so much sense it is amazing no other platform hasn’t tried harder to leverage it.

You still use an RSS reader, right? They’re going to make a comeback! (Try Feedly.)

Dropped the in-laws off at the airport this morning. They have returned safely to New England. The house is the right amount of quiet once again. Amazing how a variable or two changes the dynamic of the domicile. It was lovely to see them. We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving break with them, and we are grateful for the opportunity. I am grateful for the leftovers.

We took a walk this evening, and I marveled at the light, late evening views.

And I marveled at how this week has flown by.

May 22

To make up for previous long posts, this one is just 200 words

I’ve been trying for three days to get the next bike ride in. So, needing the content and having been cheated out of bike photographs, I stood on the porch, and in the rain and in the driveway, and did …

… that.

Not as good as a bike ride. But the grass is nice and green!

I also updated the images on the front page. You’ll want to check those out; there are a dozen amazing new shots to enjoy. (See all 12! Then let them recycle and count each one, to make sure you’ve seen all 12!)

Otherwise, I’m just explaining things to the cats.

I should have shared the weather radio one, too. But that would have just read like crazy talk.

More tomorrow. Until then, did you know that Phoebe and Poseidon have an Instagram account? Phoebe and Poe have an Instagram account. And don’t forget my Instagram. Leep up with me on Twitter, too.

Apr 22

A stroll down memory lane, and some basic site stuff

I changed a visual element of my website today. This is the first time it has been changed in 15 years, which is an unreasonable amount of time. It’s a front-end thing, and you’ll never notice it. No one will even be aware that this particular thing has changed. But, if you look at the top of the page, or the tab you’re reading here, you might figure it out.

Tomorrow I have to start looking at viewership data at the office, so this evening I examined some of my own YouTube metrics. There’s a wealth of information in the analytics dashboard these days. You could go blind and silly trying to put all of it into some sort of coherent explanation. None of it makes sense.

All of it makes sense. How it is reflective of user habits makes very little sense. Let us, for example, consider a few videos and a key metric, the average percent viewed. The scope covers the month of April.

(And, before we dive in, I must say: If you press play on any of these videos, watch them to the end, or you might throw off the whole analysis, or at least the space-time continuum.

This video is from 2017. It is Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of the mainland of Great Britain. (The most northern Scottish isle is still some 170 miles farther on.)

Scapa Flow – a prime naval base region for the British and the final resting place of much of Germany’s WW1 high seas fleet – is out there in the distance. Today petroleum, tourism and diving are big. Here, you are asked to imagine standing watch, like the British boys of the 1930s and 1940s did.

The people that have watched that this month have watched an average of 92.1 percent of the video.

This is a video last fall from The Yankee recovering from her first popliteal artery entrapment surgery.

It’s a seemingly rare problem, involving compression of one of the arteries in the leg because of muscle development. A week before that video she limped back into the house after the procedure at the Cleveland Clinic. Every day was a bit more walking. She started rehab on that leg a week later. (Last month she had surgery on the other leg. Today she went out for her second post-op run. We had our first bike ride last weekend.)

The people that have watched that this month have watched an average of 94.9 percent of the video.

This video is from May of 2018. I’d gone on a walk and saw these geese flying toward me from some ways off. I had just enough time to fumble for my phone.

This one has an average percentage viewed rate of 96.8.

Ahh, our old friend, the Short Film of No Consequence series makes an appearance. This is from a candy store in Savannah. I shot, and edited this, in the store, in January 2016, and I hope all of those delicious treats found happy homes.

Viewers here have watched an average of 97.5 percent of the video this month.

In the summer of 2017 we visited Scotland. Ceannabeinne Beach, in Durness, is known as the beach of the burn of bereavement and death. The story goes that an elderly women fell and drowned in the burn here and her body was later washed down to the shore. There are ruins of a small fire here, but like all of the other locals, the tenants were forced out in 1842 for sheep farming. Just off the coast there’s a small island, Eilean Hoan, or the burial island. It once was prime grazing land and home to four families, until the Clearances. Now the island is a national nature reserve.

That beautiful scenery has earned a 99.1 percent video view.

Let’s goo to another beautiful part of Scotland. These are a few extra bits from an afternoon walking around Torridon.

I can brag about this one having a 99.7 percent viewed rate this month.

(You can see why on these. All of Scotland is stunning.)

This one feels like a cheat. It’s an eight-second clip. But it got a perfect 100 percent on the ol’ view-o-meter.

We’d just returned from a red-eye flight across two-thirds of the country. And I thought that would mean a nap. For most people it would mean a nap. For me, it meant going on a really hard bike ride. It was great.

Which brings us to this video, which I shot late last summer in Alabama.

It is presently enjoying 179.1 percent, meaning people are watching it almost twice.

Which means you have to watch it almost twice, to keep the numbers consistent.

The most viewed video this month? This 2017 flooding footage.

One other analytical note which, also doesn’t matter, but my site, for reasons that escape me, this month hit 4.6 million views.

Thanks for clicking the refresh button so often, everyone!

Apr 22

So close to spring you can hallucinate it on the shrubs and trees

Green things! I saw this on our Saturday walk. All of this started budding three weeks ago, but it’s been gray and damp and chilly for most of that time, and so the growth, and the various blooming of the trees, has gone largely unnoticed. Which is a shame, because the springtime explosion here is usually worth seeing. But so is this, up to and beyond the point where it feels rote. And, after this year, that seems a long way off, meaning we can marvel for some time. Green things!

It got cold again on Sunday. Who knows when spring will finally show up for good. Probably by next fall, at this rate.

Of course, my hypothesis is that spring always shows up here just in time for the Little 500 bike races, which are next weekend. So there’s hope, I guess.

Because it was cold on Sunday I spent most of the afternoon being sat upon by one cat or the other. And they are over the chilly temperatures, too.

And so let’s check on the kitties, who are the most popular feature on this site. Also, we haven’t shared them here in about three weeks. So we’re overdue.

Here’s Phoebe, cuddling for warmth.

And, a few days ago, she was trying to soak up some sunshine.

Poseidon, god of water, sub-deity of fuzzy blankets.

He’s angling for a promotion.

Oh, one more thing I did this weekend. I started building a photo gallery of photos from our most recent dive trip. I’m hoping to tweak the style a bit, going forward, but in case you somehow missed a few, you can see all 130 photos I’ve published, right here.

Click on any of the thumbnails there to see the larger photo. Click it again to see all the thumbnails.

And, for no greater reason than that I like it, here’s the bottom of the dive boat.

Gotta get back to that view soon.

Apr 22

Hours of video, 10 more photos from the bottom of the ocean

And how was your weekend? Cold and gray Saturday here, sat on the porch and enjoyed the warm of a brilliant Sunday. Took a nice walk. A low-key stretch by all accounts.

More improv comedy from a live production on Saturday night. This should go right to where it starts, but if it doesn’t, scrub your way over to 12:48 to see all the funny stuff begin.

And if you’re not in the mood for young comedy — and how could that even be a possibility? — let’s have some sports talk with another fun episode of the B-Town Breakdown.

And here’s a package on a historic moment in this year’s Little 500.

I hope they did a version in Thai, too.

Let’s look at some more stuff under the sea! This is some sort of pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), I think.

Here’s another juvenile stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride) hanging out with some beautiful branch coral.

This is a good place to mention that I updated the front page of the site this weekend. There are now a lot more cool images rotating through. Some of them you might find familiar from recent days here. I have a lot of really nice ones there, so we’ll be able to keep that fresh for some time. Check back often, as they say. (But keep scrolling for now.)

There’s a barracuda just hanging out under this rock. I got to within probably three or four feet of him. He was unfazed by the attention.

I’m not sure what’s prettier here, the color of the ocean, the coral or the the queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris). This species, it is believed, communicates through temporary changes in color. Also, the juvenile fish are a different color. You thought you had difficulty reaching teenagers!

Always look in the vase coral. You never know what you’ll find inside. Like this lobster!

This is a moody picture, isn’t it? There must have been some passing clouds in front of the sun as I passed by this setting.

The light changes everything. You might think this is a lonely or spooky feeling, but you’d be mistaken.

There’s all sorts of interesting things to see and critters to meet, after all.

And if the fish and all of their natural wonders aren’t enough, you also have your dive buddy.

Best fish in the sea!

That is, by the by, the 100th photo I’ve published from the Cozumel dive series. And, if you’re wondering, I can probably get two more days out of this. So stick around!