Cleaning out my (digital) closet

What with one thing and another (but mainly one thing), I’ve spent less time on social media over the past few months.

That’s no bad thing: social media was becoming an increasingly unpleasant place to spend time (and continues to do so), and so I don’t feel that I’m missing out on anything particularly worthwhile. What has also changed, however, is that I haven’t been tidying up my social media accounts as often as usual.

Some digital housekeeping is called for.

There’s an awful lot out there, but I’m happy to limit myself to just a few different apps, and each of those requires me to take a different approach with regard to keeping things in order.

Instagram: Find me at instagram.com/6000coza

It does seem that I’m rubbish at following people on The ‘Gram. I like many of the photos that I see from people I have already followed, but I never seem to get round to following new people. This must change, and following new followers is probably one of the best ways to start to do it. I’ll be playing catch up over the next week or so in this regard, and if your name is in there, I’ll be seeing you(r photos) real soon.

Twitter: Hi, I’m @6000

For me, the most useful and entertaining of all of the social media platforms. And also one of the most toxic. Again, I do follow new people on here, but I have rules. I need some connection, some relevance. Perhaps they live in SA, like Sheffield, enjoy playing with their drone (careful now), or suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in also owning a beagle. I can like to sympathise.
Good, interesting, decent, sane people are quite hard to find on Twitter, but I think I’ve done ok in my choices so far. I don’t find it difficult to drop people if they get on my tits, though. My rule is “Three Strikes And You’re Out – Or Just One If I’m Feeling Particularly Irritable”. Actually, I just made that up, but I might give it a go.

Facebook: The blog is here: https://www.facebook.com/6000coza/

Things I use Facebook for:
1. Sharing new blog posts.
2. Marvelling at the number of people who will have their Brand New Excess Stock Audi Q7 in “white, please”.
3. Looking at pics of snakes and birds, photos of Sheffield and drone videos.

Things I don’t use Facebook for:
1. Everything else.

My Facebook won’t need much updating because I haven’t done anything with it in years anyway. It just sits there and I wander in occasionally and then usually wish I hadn’t.
Still, every new blog post on here is shared on there, so hit me up and don’t miss out.

Flickr: I put my photos here.

Is Flickr “social media”? I think that they’d quite like it to be. I use it to share my photographs and look at other people’s photographs. I don’t communicate with anyone on there. There are other, better apps for that sort of thing (see above). Still, if you show me yours, I’ll show you mine. Stop sniggering at the back!
(Note to self: a blog about the new changes to Flickr is required.)

Youtube: It’s for videos.

Is Youtube “social media”? I think that they’d quite like it to be. I use it to look at other people’s videos. I mean, I do have some videos uploaded on there, but I don’t actually expect people to look at them. I do follow some trashy accounts on Youtube though, and so a spring clean is required.

That’s it for me. No Snapchat or Linkedin. No Tumblr or Tinder. No Periscope, Plurk or Twitch.
And certainly no MySpace or FriendsReunited. Those were the days…

So as I said, I’m going to make an effort to tidy things up a bit. In the meantime, please feel free to follow me on any of the links above and I’ll endeavour to be equally and reciprocally social. 🙂

Presets

Before we begin, let me say that I’m a big fan of Peter McKinnon. He’s jut over to the right in the blogroll. I like his photography, I like his vlogs, I like his attitude, I like his down to earth personality.

(there’s a but coming up, isn’t there?)

BUT…
(told you so.)

His latest pack of presets for Adobe Lightroom is priced a little steeply, I feel.

$30 is R436 today. And that’s a lot of money. But it’s not just a lot of money because Cyril broke the economy again. It’s a lot of money because $30 is a lot of money to begin with.

With all those lovely qualities I mentioned above, it’s no surprise that PMcK has quickly reached 2.5million subscribers on YouTube (and 1.2 million on Instagram). But is that really enough to be charging thirty bucks for a 38.7kB file? And that FALL 2018 tag opens it up nicely for four packs a year.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate his undoubted talent. I understand that he’s probably put a lot of work into fine-tuning them to make them exactly as he wants them to look. But is there really any justification for that exorbitant price? I just feel that some settings for your photo editing software are massively personal and unlikely to be for everyone.

Full disclosure: I bought his last lot of presets, but only because they were on offer – down from $10 to $5. I likely wouldn’t have considered $10, let alone $30. I’ve probably only used a couple of them.

So, this feels a bit like like someone cashing in on his fame. And while I appreciate that there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a bit sad the first time someone you thought wouldn’t be into that sort of thing, does that sort of thing.

I know the answer – don’t buy them – and I won’t buy them.

It just seems like commercialism hit hard and he’s testing the waters to see what he can get away with. Maybe I’m way out of touch, but it feels like he might have pushed too far.

The UEFA Nations League

I tried to understand what a UEFA Nations League is and how it worked.

Firstly, I went to the UEFA website: horse’s mouth and all that. And then, when my brain exploded thanks to lines like this:

Due to excessive travel restrictions, any group could not contain a maximum of one of these pairs: Andorra & Kazakhstan, Faroe Islands & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Azerbaijan

I asked online for assistance, which came in the form of a link from The Guru. Thanks, The Guru.

Because yes, Football365 seem to have done a good job in attempting to simplify a rather complex format. And am I alone in thinking that UEFA might actually be onto something here? It actually looks quite good.

And there’s more great news for me too: Supersport – who failed to secure the rights for the English League Cup or the Championship – have managed to scrape some cash together to buy some UEFA Nations League goodness.

Tonight kicks off (quite literally) with the following fixtures:

Kazakhstan v Georgia
SS3 HD (4pm)

Armenia v Liechtenstein
SS3 HD (6pm)

Wales v Rep. Ireland
SS6 HD (8.45pm)

Germany v France
SS3 HD (8.45pm)

Slovenia v Bulgaria
SS11 HD (8.45pm)

Czech Republic v Ukraine
SS7 HD (8.45pm)

I know what I’ll be doing at 1800.

Stress

I think I mentioned our friends who are travelling the world this year… [checks]…

Yes. Yes, I did.

I’ve been following their progress though South America, a bit of North America, Australasia and then on to Malaysia, Thailand and towards Vietnam. Their images and videos have been amazing, and their blogs have – entirely reasonably – been… hmm… can we say “infrequent”? 😉 but always interesting.

I particularly enjoyed St.John’s latest observations as he reflected on stress and the difference that traveling for 6 months has made to his view of it. (Spoiler: (or maybe not) it might not be quite what you expect):

I have come to the conclusion that what I have come to call “positive-stress” that drives the get-up and go urge, is innate. The brain will look for things to worry about and create must-do’s regardless of how inane or trivial. It needs to prioritise and feel important. It will try and fit a certain amount of stress into your life regardless of what one is doing.

Not many people have the opportunity of being able to conduct this sort of experimentation, so I was intrigued by his hypothesis. Now, I’m driven to  try to find a “beautiful remote resort, only accessible by boat, two tropical reefs 100m offshore, turtles nesting, friendly staff and cold beers” in order and reproduce his experimental conditions.

Facetiousness briefly aside though, it’s an intriguing idea that in a stress-free environment, we are compelled to create our own… discomfort(?) in order to actually get things done. Surely this is an entirely personal thing? There must be people out there with the ability to exist wholly stress-free in a stress-free environment?

But what of the rest of us? What of St.John? If his innate “positive stress” fails to kick in – what then? Can that even happen? And if it does, does the lack of “positive stress” and its benefits lead to a build up of “real”, negative stress?

The short-term stress of travel is real. I know that. But once you are there, once you are six months into a year-long round trip, surely that diminishes?

So many questions. And I don’t have the answers yet, I’m afraid. Too few beaches, too few turtles, (but a reasonable number of cold beers if I’m honest).

Hit the blogroll – sidebar right – for more on their year-long sabbatical.

Accelerated evolution

This was always going to be a hectic week, but a major cock-up by a Dutch airline(I won’t mention any names) (Keeping Luggage in aMsterdam) (cough) means that I have a less stressful morning today, but has instead moved that stress to the next couple of days.

It does give me chance to share this article which I saw through Brian Micklethwait’s blog, though.

Author Matt Ridley details several (or more) examples of apparent accelerated evolution in fauna living in urban environments. Ridley uses this as the basis of a potential argument for the removal of restrictions on building in the green belts surrounding our cities.

Suburbs are already richer in wildlife than most arable fields in the so-called green belt, making environmental objections to housing development perverse.

I’m not about to join his side in that discussion, especially given the lack of any citations in his article (although to be fair, it was a column for The Times originally, not a scientific paper). Simply because there are new subspecies emerging in our towns and cities surely doesn’t mean that we should willfully eradicate their country cousins.

Or unwillfully for that matter, I suppose.

The city is a harsh environment, with many evolutionary pressures, and they are what are driving this accelerated natural selection.

Blackbirds first showed up in London in the 1920s, later than in continental cities. Studies in France and the Netherlands found that urban blackbirds were rapidly diverging from rural ones. They tend to have shorter beaks and wings, longer intestines and legs, as well as higher-pitched songs. They may soon count as a separate species, just as town pigeons are very different from their rock-dove cousins.

Some of them are related to streetlights and traffic noise, but a worryingly large number appear to be associated with the toxins found in our habitats. And while it’s remarkable, impressive, incredible that bird and fish are adapting so quickly and readily to these potential problems, we should note that the wider picture is wholly unpretty.

We’re not evolving anywhere nearly as quickly as our urban wildlife.

Still, these provisos and warnings aside, it’s both fascinating and amazing to me how we’re shaping the lives of the wildlife around us, and the plan is definitely to do a bit of further reading on this.

For the science.