RSS Awareness

Subscribe to Your Own Blog

RSS Awareness

If you have a blog or other website that has a RSS feed or other means of subscribing you should be subscribing to your own blog or site. I know, there are some who are thinking, “why would I subscribe to content I create?” It’s a matter of awareness. I recently began receiving what was obviously spam from a friends blog. Post after post after post within a few hours. Not only was the content not in line with his blog but the time frame for the posts didn’t match his routine. Even when your posting is erratic your readers become accustomed to it and notice something is amiss when things change. In this case, his blog had been compromised and was now the tool of spammers

Without subscribing to your own blog how long would it take you to notice? Are you going to count on your readers to post a comment? If you are, you are really hoping for a lot. Not that your readers don’t care, but because when they believe your blog has been compromised the last thing they are going to do is interact with your site. Hence the importance of subscribing to your own blog/website. It wasn’t until this incident that I realized the importance of subscribing to my own content. I have always subscribed to ensure the layout of the content is acceptable and that the feed is working. I hadn’t considered subscribing to my own content as a means of security awareness until now. So go subscribe to every site you create content on that allows you to. This includes sites such as Flickr, 500px, and others. You may not have noticed before, but it is possible to subscribe to your own content on these sites, often different feeds for different types of content or information. It’s worth your time if for no other reason than a peace of mind that should something happen you become aware fairly quickly rather than the next time you publish content and find you can no longer log in or your content has all changed.

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Two Guns Castle Over Diablo Creek

Revisiting Two Guns

Two Guns Castle Over Diablo Creek

Two Guns Castle Over Diablo Creek

It’s funny how one day an image looks good and another day one questions what they were thinking when they processed it. This image in particular is what triggered this thought process. Not that I haven’t thought it before but this one really has me questioning what I was thinking when I posted it. Looking back on it now I see so much wrong with it. So here is one that I hope is at least a little better.

Fire in the Sky Over Jeep

Hot Temperatures and My Digital Camera Sensor

Fire in the Sky Over Jeep

Fire in the Sky

Late this afternoon the family decided the temperature had dropped enough to head out for a dusk Jeeping adventure. As the sun drifted below the horizon I just had to capture this moment. Sadly the camera bag had been in the back of the Jeep for the past two hours of very slow going, sandy, tight trails. I can only image what kind of temperatures it had been exposed to since the ambient temperature was hovering around 109°F and the bag was sitting almost directly above the catalytic converter (only the hottest part of the entire exhaust system – most catalytic converters have an average operating temperature around 1,200°F). As you can see, the sensor was just a little hot. Oh well. Time to find a different way of carrying the camera in the Jeep. Short of kicking a family member out I’m not sure what I’ll come up with. Maybe I’ll just stop carrying the camera with me on our Jeeping adventures since I rarely stop to make a photo anyway. I hate not having the camera though. Hot pixels and all I wouldn’t want to have missed this moment. I’m sure I’ll come up with something after thinking about it for a while (child for sale…cheap!).

Cross Processed

Hot Pixels!

For those that are curious, the below image is a 100% crop from the original raw file of the above image with no post processing done to it.

100% crop sample

100% crop - Hot Pixels!

Circle RB Guest Lodge

Old Time Neon Signs

Sun Land Motel

One of our favorite family movies is Cars. Not just because it’s a great movie but because our favorite family activity is a road trip. It doesn’t matter how near or far we are travelling, sometimes we just like to get in the car and see where the road leads us. We recently took one of these trips down Main St. enjoying the few remaining classic neon signs. We even reminisced about the diving lady who no longer dives. Then I recently came across this article indicating the restoration of one of the most famous neon signs on Main St. is progressing nicely but is in need of additional financial support.

It’s nice to see that in our modern, technology is everything world we haven’t completely forgotten about the past and where we came from. Sometimes it is worth hanging onto pieces of history, keeping them around for future generations to experience. Understanding previous generations and other cultures always comes easier when some part of it can be experienced rather than just read about.

Circle RB Guest Lodge

Here’s to hoping current and future generations don’t forget where they have come from or where those who paved the way before them came from. Here’s to hoping generations of the future don’t completely eradicate evidence of the industrial revolution, the introduction and mass consumption of the automobile, old neon, over the air AM and FM radio stations, and full service gas stations (you know, the kind that had repair shops inside – my kids were baffled by the garage doors on an abandoned gas station we stopped at). Yeah, I’m thinking a little bit into the future (like The Jetson’s future) but all these things are major pieces of our culture from the not-so-distant past as well as today. Things that shaped family activities, formed relationships, launched careers, sank empires, and moved an entire nation. Here’s to history, may it be written as powerfully as it has been to live.

Lightning Motorcycles Land Speed Record 2011

Lightning Motorcycles Sets Land Speed Record

They gone and done it! That’s right, Lightning Motorcycles set a new land speed record for the electric motorcycle at a whopping 215.960 mph. Hats off to the team for an outstanding accomplishment. Spend a little time enjoying the video below, it’s worth the ride. This is quite possibly the smoothest run across the Bonneville Salt Flats I’ve ever seen from a motorcycle. Serendipity for the Lightning team! Accomplishing 200 mph on the salt flats is one of those bucket list items that I may have to accept won’t ever come to fruition. But then again, I have a lot of good years left in me!

YouTube video: Lightning Motorcycle World’s Fastest Electric SuperBike- Bonneville 2011

Flickr Flounder

Letting Flickr Flounder

My Pro subscription to Flickr expired and I opted not to renew it. Oh, I had plenty of warning so it’s not like it slipped my mind or something. It was a conscious choice I made. I had considered it for some time. I was posting fewer photos to Flickr and at the same time realizing that for me, there was no value in the pro account. Flickr is where I started sharing my photos online and I met some great people through Flickr, however, I no longer perceive any value in it. At least not any value I can attach hard-earned dollars to.

When I first bought the pro subscription I was excited by the stats I hadn’t previously seen. It was fascinating to see where my photos were being used and what incoming traffic was generating visits. Then, over time, I began really paying attention to the stats provided by Flickr and realized they were mostly useless, unless I wanted to know what Flickr group was directing traffic to my photos. So over the past several weeks I began compiling stats on my Flickr stats. It was astonishing to see that over 60% of the traffic visiting my photos on Flickr comes from an “unknown” source. I hadn’t previously paid enough attention to realize the consistently high number of visits from “unknown” sources.

Pineapple anyone?

What really drove this home was when, out of curiosity, I used Google’s reverse image search on some of my most visited photos and discovered where they were being used. And no, this isn’t about copyright, the majority of my images on Flickr are Creative Commons licensed. This is about knowledge. This is about knowing who is using my photos and where visitors to my photo stream were coming from. Something Flickr couldn’t provide me. It was quite surprising to find my photos being used on sites as popular as Gizmodo, and yet not a single mention of traffic from Gizmodo in my Flickr stats. Surely some traffic was being directed to my Flickr stream from Gizmodo, the particular photo in question was my highest viewed photo. Disappointing. Very disappointing.

Then came Google+. I’m not really sure what that means yet as I’ve only posted a couple of cell phone pics to it so far (and one so bad I’m embarrassed to admit it’s mine) but it is different. If you’ve read any of my stuff in the past you know I’m not a social butterfly online. However, Google+ gave me something Flickr did not. Quality information I can easily sort and the ability to easily interact (with photos!). No “Yea, you’re a winner!” banners cluttering up the comments stream, no invitations to join a dozen groups I have little interest in, no one wondering why my images hadn’t made it to “Explore” (something I knew would never happen {nor did I care} since I lack the online social interaction to meet Flickr’s “interestingness” formula). Whether I’ll stick with Google+ or not is hard to say. But for now it is my chosen method of online social interaction. As for my photos I will continue to post here as well as to my Google+ galleries (that is, if I ever stop driving the Jeep and actually pick up the camera for anything other than a snapshot – photos from the camera phone will have to do for now).

My Flickr photo stream is no longer a part of the same RSS feed as the blog, so if you want to continue following anything I post on Flickr you can subscribe to that RSS here or follow me on Google+.