Which Lightroom?

I bought a maintenance plan along with my laptop. I didn’t know that I had done this, but apparently, it was a perk of the purchase. I’m always wary of maintenance plans, but this one seems to have paid off. So far, anyway.
I spent 75 minutes on the phone to Ron in the Philippines yesterday, and we decided that before sending someone out to fix my continuing connectivity problems, a full factory reset was required.
I’ve never reset a computer before. Phones, sure. My router, often. But never a computer.
It’s worryingly easy to do. (Although, to be honest, you’re very unlikely to slip and fall on your keyboard and reset your PC, so don’t panic.)

Last night, I began the process of reinstalling stuff. And first on my list was Lightroom.

But which Lightroom?

I don’t recall there being two Lightrooms when I installed it just a few weeks ago. Suddenly there’s Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC (which is the new name for Lightroom CC).

I looked at several websites which attempted to explain the difference to me, but they didn’t do it very well. I was still completely lost.

Thankfully, there’s a new voice in town (for me, at least) when I need to find out about all thing photography. Step forward Peter McKinnon. Popping onto his youtube channel, I was delighted to see this offering:

Sadly, I was less impressed when he actually started speaking:

I want to talk about Lightroom versus Lightroom. The new version versus the… the new version versus the old version which is the new version. It’s confusing. It’s super confusing. I was confused when I was sitting in the audience at Adobe Max while they were trying to explain it to me.

Eish.

Fortunately, he does manage to elucidate on the differences between the two, and fortunately, it seems like I had (somewhat inadvertently) picked the right one to download and install (which is good, because these aren’t small programs and the internet in South Africa isn’t as fast as yours).

Basically it comes down to whether you want your photos on the cloud, and therefore being available to edit available wherever, whenever and on any device (in which case, Lightroom CC); or if you prefer “old skool” desktop and hard drive editing and storage (in which case Lightroom Classic CC). There are a few other small technical differences, but that cloud vs desktop is the main thing and should be the basis for your decision. I prefer the latter, but given the speed of the internet and price of data in SA, it’s kind of academic anyway.

I only lost a few recently added files when I reset my machine (always back up, folks!), but only one major thing. And I’m fairly sure that I can redo that anyway. On the plus side, the reset seems to have sorted the connection problem (touch wood) and there’s the excitement of having a brand new laptop again – even though it’s actually really just the old laptop rebranded as Laptop Classic CC.

Take Down Notice

Here’s an interesting one.

I was contacted by my hosting provider this morning about an ISPA Take-Down Notice (TDN) regarding a post from 2009 on 6000 miles…

Now, first off, let me say that I fully understand that my hosting provider has signed up to the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) of South Africa, and as part of that, they are obliged to follow the rules of that organisation. Those rules state that when a TDN is issued against a site that they host, they must ask that site to remove (take down) the content, and in the event of the site not doing so, “disable the whole site”.

I mean, it’s completely over the top, but that’s what they agreed to, and (presumably) that’s what I agreed to when I signed up with them.

What alarms me is the way in which the ISPA handles these requests: basically, you can force removal of any content on any South African hosted website simply by filling in a form. No evidence required.
Literally, all that the ISPA will do with that form is to check that you filled in all the fields, make sure that the ISP involved is in their association and decide whether the remedial action requested is feasible (e.g. “take down a post” vs. “set light to all the servers in Johannesburg”).

They will then pass it on to the ISP concerned, who are bound by the terms of their ISPA membership to act upon it, and that’s how anyone can fill in an online form and have the content of any SA-hosted  website without question.

The ISPA even boast about how successful their policy is:

In approximately 95% of all cases, lodging a valid take-down notice results in the removal of that content.

“Valid” in this case meaning that you fulfilled those three criteria above, not that the reasons for your request have any veracity or are in any way reasonable.

Of course, as the website owner, you can contest the notice, but notably only after you have taken down the content in question:

If you wish to contest this take-down, you will first need to comply with it and then take this up with the complainant, who’s [sic] information is supplied below, should they not be compliant in finding an amicable solution you then will need to make this a legal matter and address it in court.

Given that the post in question here is about a guy whose company tried to rip me (and it would seem, plenty of other people as well) off for (in some cases) several tens of thousands of Rands (and is apparently still at it), I can’t see this “amicable solution” happening.
And is the legal thing really worth it? Only if it’s sponsored by someone with a lot of time and money, I suppose. Does anyone have any experience of fighting these sort of cases – please get in touch (Email: 6…@6…o.za).

Looks like the only way immediate way around this is to host the “offending” content somewhere away from the unreasonably draconian paws of the South African ISPA then.

Like… I dunno… Google Drive for example.
MAYBE I WAS A BIT TOO SUBTLE HERE.
CLICK THE GOOGLE DRIVE LINK TO SEE THE DELETED POST!

Hits

I’m not one of those bloggers who desperately chases hits. Of course, it’s nice to have people read my stuff and I have a daily number that I like to get to (and which is a very modest number, so I usually do), but should I fall short, it’s really not the end of the world.
If I was one of those bloggers who chased hits, I would have given up years ago. It’s simply not working.

I am one of those bloggers who like stats though, and so when I stumbled upon a plugin which offered me my all-time stats, I was never going to say no. So I said yes.

I’m not really sure what “all-time” entails. I know for a fact that it can’t include the early years of ballacorkish.net and 6000 miles… because I wasn’t even using that software back then (also, the numbers really don’t match up). So there’s no indication of how long this is over, which would be helpful. But let’s not get antsy over what is, after all, a free bit of software.

What was most interesting for me was the map. How cool is it that people all over the world have read my blog? Well, I say “all over the world”, but I haven’t reached everyone yet. Because, despite there being absolutely loads of visits to the blog, I am apparently yet to have a documented hit from any of these ten nations, listed in order of population:

North Korea – 25.537m (well, ok)
Niger – 20.671m (infamously mentioned here)
Chad – 14.450m (disappointing from my African brothers)
Turkmenistan – 5.662m (flag with a carpet on; amazing.)
Guinea Bissau – 1.821m (see Chad)
Solomon Islands –0.599m (hey! 600,000 readers can’t be wrong, guys)
Western Sahara – 0.513m (excuse: political upheaval/no internet)
Greenland – 0.056m (2.166 million km² of potential readership)
Falkland Islands – 0.003m (I’m actually surprised at this)
Svalbard – 0.003m (despite constant mentions of Norway on here)

The first visitor from each of these countries/territories will add their homeland to this list of places who have visited 6000 miles… just once:

Iran
Sierra Leone
French Polynesia
Martinique
American Samoa
Tajikistan
Djibouti
Togo
Bhutan
San Marino
Tonga
Benin
St. Martin
Cape Verde

Some impressive French overseas territory representation there. Bonsoir, Rodney. Bonsoir! 

I’m not really sure why I’m sharing this, save to ask that if you are going to any of these places in the near future (North Korea – lol), a quick visit to 6000.co.za would be much appreciated. I’ll also be doing my bit to lever few mentions of outstanding counties into my posts over the next few weeks in a shameless attempt to dominate the globe.

Google Docs as Word Processor Alert

If you use Google Docs as your Word Processor, you need to be aware of this!” proclaimed the clickbait, and I do, so thought I’d better give in and click through. Here’s what it said:

Gosh.

It turns out that Google locked “a ton of users” (eish) out of their documents due to “inappropriate content”. The issue with this seems to be twofold. Firstly, that there was no “inappropriate content” within the documents in question. And yes, it turns out that this was an error on Google’s part: something they acknowledged and apologised for, stating:

This morning, we made a code push that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked. A fix is in place and all users should have access to their docs.

And then secondly:

…the incident raises important questions about the control Google Docs users have over their own content. The potential to lose access to an important document because it hasn’t yet been polished to remove certain references or sensitive material has concrete implications for the way Google Docs is used.

Well yes, I suppose so. In the same way that using MS Windows apparently opens me up to all sorts of hacking and viruses, and in the same way that using online banking apparently puts me at risk of phishing and the like.

So yes, it might happen, but in all reality, it really probably won’t. And, when you think about it, it really actually hasn’t. This was an error which was corrected and which shouldn’t happen again.

“Google’s abuse policy prohibits the posting of serious threats, needlessly graphic or violent content, hate speech, harassment, confidential information, pornography, and anything illegal including child exploitation and copyrighted content.”

So if you’re writing that sort of thing, maybe you need to look elsewhere for your word processing requirements, and maybe also for your kicks.

I don’t pay for Google Docs, but of course some people do. I’d guess that we all agreed to these policies when we signed up though. (You did read all the Ts&Cs, didn’t you?) And so, as usual, it comes back to that simple adage: if you don’t like it, don’t use it.

But for me, much like using Windows and online banking, the convenience and economic benefits far outweigh any potential “censorship”.

Rollback

I solved my problem yesterday by using the System Restore tool to travel back in time to a point when I didn’t have the catchily-named

Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool for Windows 8, 8.1, 10 and Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, 2016 x64 Edition – November 2017 (KB890830)

on my laptop.

My laptop didn’t seem to like something about that particular update, but all seems to be running smoothly now. And yes, I realise that I will have to reinstall that update at some point, but at least if things go awry again, I’ll know why it is and I can deal with it a bit more quickly than I did this time around.

All of that meant that I could finally get some photos uploaded from the weekend, and that means that you will be able to see them shortly.

Watch this space.