Phone tracking

I read this very interesting NYT article and thought that I should share it with my readership.

Obviously, I have many apps on my phone that use my location to offer me better, more accurate services. Indeed, some apps rely solely on tracking my location and sharing it with others. And for me, that’s really not a problem: the benefits far outweigh any potential negatives.

If I was in a job where that sort of information could compromise my security, then yes, I would be concerned.

But if anyone can weaponise my weekly visit to Pick n Pay by hacking into the logs of my location pings, then good luck to them.

Best photos 2019

It’s mid-December and I’m beginning to write a few posts for the upcoming weeks in order that I don’t have to write a few posts during the upcoming weeks. Bloggers need a break too, you know.

I watched this video today: a comparison of golf and photography, which (eventually, excruciatingly) gets around to the point that much as you don’t have to break a course record each time to play a round of golf to enjoy your day, neither do you have to manage to get amazing photos each time you take your camera out.

Be realistic. Manage your expectations. Concentrate on getting the basics right. Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control. Have fun smashing the ball around the course, never mind if you don’t hit the green every time. Enjoy getting out and about taking photos, and worry less about the results. Learn from your mistakes.

It’s all good advice.

I’ve taken over 12,000 photographs this year. I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations, and I make that over 1,000 each month. And this month hasn’t even finished yet. The vast majority of those were for a work project, and I’m pretty happy with the way that things worked out there. But maybe only around 120 of those were real top-notch “keepers”.
I’ve been doing some rudi… ag… look, it’s about 1%.

The joy of digital photography is that you can go and shoot almost limitless numbers of images in the hunt for that 1% or that 120. Had I not been a) traveling and b) often under time pressure, I’d like to think that I might have managed the same number of good shots (or even more) from a much smaller overall total. There are different ways of getting a reasonable amount of decent photos and this high volume approach suited my needs for this project. Incidentally, if I did the same project again, I’d also probably manage a better ratio: it was a steep learning curve.

As for Flickr, I uploaded “just” 143 images this year, against my overall average of 630. 35 of that 143 were from our Karoo road trip and 17 of them were from the above mentioned work project, meaning that just 91 (64%) of them were from “non-specific” occasions.

And of them all, I can count just 10 that I think are really good. Not worldbeaters, not course records, but just decent images that I am properly happy with. 10 out of 143 out of 12,175.

Sadly, very few of that 10 can be used as easy blog fodder over the festive period, because I have already shared them because I liked them so much. Which leaves me the choice of about 133 mediocre images to put on here until whenever I start “properly”blogging again.

Lucky you.

When was the last time you touched a monkey?

Not a euphemism. Or maybe it is? It came from this facebook advert.

I’m sorry? Again?

I met this woman one time. And I said, “When was the last time you touched a monkey?” And she said, “Oh, can you smell it on me?”
That’s the kind of moment you can create when you learn how to be really interested in other people and how to observe the world around you.

No, that’s the kind of moment you can create when you meet a woman who smells of monkey. But that’s a rather brave question to ask unless there’s more evidence than just a mild simian whiff about her. Perhaps she’s working in the monkey section of the local zoo or wildlife park and is wearing the uniform thereof. Safer, sure, but then it’s still completely pointless, given that the answer will likely be “about 10 minutes ago” or something similar.

Neither of these scenarios are moments I would want to create.
That is not a suitable opening line to use when approaching anyone of any gender. It’s not even a suitable opening line to use when approaching a monkey.

And how are you some sort of expert on what monkeys smell like anyway, David? Do you perhaps work in the monkey section of the local zoo or wildlife park? But then, if you do, perhaps the odour in question emanates from you, rather than the woman you just met. Have you considered this?

I think David needs a MasterClass in something. Something psychiatric.
And I think Facebook needs to stop showing me stuff like this.


School’s Out For Summer. So sang the less-attractive-than-you-might-think female vocalist, Alice Cooper.

It’s been a long, long year, with highs and lows throughout, but (and staan terug because this is one of those proud dad posts) I’m a very proud dad today. Again.

Earlier in the week at the primary school prize-giving, our daughter got awards for her academic performance and overall effort. Add this to a Grade 2 singing exam triumph and a ‘best in the category’ Eisteddfod performance earlier in the year and she’s done really well.

And then today, the boy, fresh from representing the school at the Regional and International Science Fairs, came out with certificates for effort in Maths, improvement in History, Art and Design & Technology and excellence in ICT. He’s done brilliantly, especially after a little dip in term 2.

And just in the last few minutes, I’ve received a faultless end of year report for the girl and right now, I’m feeling pretty good about what we’ve raised here.

I’m looking forward to more academic (and other) successes next year, but first – finally – I think they’re both due a well-deserved holiday.


There’s a new album out from the gravelly voiced legend that is… that was… Leonard Cohen, Thanks for the Dance. I was never a huge fan, but I’ve given this one a listen because I was so intrigued by this song, Happens to the Heart. The video – like the song – portrays a movement through life and beyond, and you can sense that this is a genuine story being told.

The extreme postbox video (ruined by the WordPress media player, but particularly good on Theater [sic] Mode on Youtube gives this a real arty feel and weirdly concentrates the mind on what you’re seeing and hearing.

Cohen’s posthumous album came out last month. With these things, as I was saying to a real fan (of Cohen, not of me) earlier today, I always wonder if it was what the the artist would have wanted to have done next (the album, not dying). Also, is there another album’s worth (or more) of unreleased music out there? And if so, would you? Would they? Would Leonard have done?

Perhaps musicians need to have a wholly separate will for their musical wishes. Perhaps Leonard Cohen did.