23/7/2017

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23/7/2017

The New Star Trek: Discovery trailer

We’ve watched the trailer for the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series today. It looks awesome and I am really looking forward to 25 September…

Like the upcoming Dr Who series, it will be interesting to see a sci-fi show that showcases diversity. Star Trek has always done thing, but there are several strong female characters in the series, and the series incorporates the first openly gay characters.

I also like that non-American actors are retaining their native accents (such as Michelle Yeoh who proudly speaks with her native Malaysian English accent).

The story line looks intriguing with early interaction between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

Effects look good. Great actually.

So, strong characters, great effects and a promising story line.

All the elements for a good series.

18/7/2017

Nikon’s Future Mirrorless Line

Having been a Nikon SLR user from the film days through a couple of generations and into the dSLR era, I had a substantial investment in Nikon cameras and the awesome Nikkor f-mount” glass.1 So the shift into mirrorless for me was not a decision made lightly.

When I heard recently about Nikon pre-announcing a future mirrorless camera range I thought for a moment that maybe I should have kept some of those great lenses, especially when I heard that the Nikon President said that the company aims to put out a very Nikon-ish mirrorless camera which is superior to rivals in quality

My decision to shift to mirrorless was made not on simply losing the mirror, but instead was about losing bulk and weight for my camera kit. As an underwater, landscape and travel photographer who travels a bit with my gear, any chance to reduce bulk was welcome.23

In episode 193 of the Peta Pixel Photography Podcast, host Sharky James (once again) expressed the view that Nikon should put out a mirrorless camera that takes f-mount glass.

I get where Sharky is coming from, but I’m not sure that the absence of a mirror will solve many problems. The f-mount lenses are built with a particular ratio of distance from the rear of the lens to the sensor. Keeping the same awesome but bulky lenses won’t have a huge effect on reducing the size of the camera body. And of course, the (large) lens size remains as is.

Since moving to mirrorless (I use the micro four-thirds, or m43, system) I have been impressed with the power of the cameras and the quality range of lenses from Olympus and Panasonic, as well as a host of other makers. And the cameras and lenses are much smaller.

I do hope that Nikon does something, soon, to deliver a quality camera in the mirrorless space. But simply moving to an f-mount mirrorless body may not really be solving any problems for many photographers.

Real mirrorless innovation is more than just removing a mirror.


  1. I really loved a couple lenses in particular — the 12-24 wide angle zoom and the 60mm macro were amazing lenses from which I got a lot of pleasure.

  2. Particularly in an era when airlines are cracking down on cabin luggage carried.

  3. The name BalancedLight for this blog is in part based on my preference for light-weight camera gear.

15/7/2017

Testing Out Blogging on Blot.im

I set up a test blog on Blot, which is effectively a Markdown based blogging platform with which you save your posts to a Dropbox folder, and the system does the rest from there.

Its kind of cool for Micro.blog type usage, and the cool thing is it is a true IndieWeb environment as the files sit in your own Dropbox account.

I had previously played around with a similar service (Scriptogr.am), although when that went away1 I focused on just my Wordpress blog. I have however moved across all the files from the old Scriptogr.am blog, and that content is live on my site.

Today I set up a combination of a Workflow workflow and a Draft action to simultaneously post new micro-posts created in Drafts to both sites.

I will also take a look and see whether I will push all my Markdown files for longform posts to both sites. For this post, for example, I will publish to the Wordpress blog from Byword, then move the file to the Blot Dropbox folder.

Whats the advantage of doing this?

  1. Playing around with a new platform is kinda fun.
  2. Backing up my posts in a reusable format.
  3. Somewhere to redirect people if my Wordpress site goes down.

Interesting times.


  1. Looking at the Scriptogr.am website it appears that some new social media app/tool is coming soon to that domain, with a very similar logo.

Writing
15/7/2017

This is a test of a new automation from iOS taking a post from Drafts, exporting it to the Micro Thoughts category of my blog, & then copying it to my Blot.im blog.

12/7/2017

7 Benefits of Writing on your Own Blog (first) is better than Medium

Over on The Writing Cooperative, a blog hosted on Medium, Anna Sabino writes about 7 Benefits of Writing on Medium over Having Your Own Blog.

In this post, Ms Sabino articulates 7 reasons why posting to Medium have worked for her. I suggest that she is missing an important opportunity—to write first on her own blog, with the post syndicated to Medium, and then on to the group blogs such as The Writing Cooperative.

I’d like to take a look at Ms Sabino’s seven points, and add some thoughts to back up my perspective. My thoughts in italics follow Ms Sabino’s comments in bold.

  1. It’s faster to build a sticky traffic on Medium. The sticky traffic likely comes through the journals (group blogs) on which the original post is being shared, and would be the same with content created on a self-hosted site and syndicated to Medium.1
  2. It’s motivating when you see your posts are being read. Undoubtedly true. But having your posts syndicated from your own site out to Medium and potential other places is going to multiply that same effect by taking your content to more audiences, not just the audience that reads Medium.
  3. All the blogs are in one place. I don’t know the stats on how many blogs Medium hosts, and what percentage of the overall number of blogs that comprises. I’d hazzard a guess that it is much less than all’ the blogs, and likely in the single digits.
  4. Medium interface is very clean and pleasing to the eye. And pretty much identical to every other blog on Medium, and you are subject to the possibly changing tides of Medium’s design aesthetic. As John Gruber notes every Medium site displays an on-screen sharing’ bar that covers the actual content”..
  5. The exposure on Medium, which gets over 30 million visitors a month is huge. Basically the same as point 2.
  6. Medium shows up high in google searches. Yes, and if the syndicated post on Medium links back to your original post, the search engines will find the originalbl post even more quickly. Both copies of the post will be discoverable by readers, not just those that read Medium.
  7. You can start a blog on Medium instantaneously. As can be done with a Wordpress blog and in the near future a Micro.blog. Self-hosted Wordpress blogs can easily be setup on a range of hosts.

I quite like Medium, and regularly read posts on it. It is in fact how I came to find Ms Sabino’s post. I syndicate many of my posts there. It is a decent source of readership, and to be honest I should submit more articles to journals.

Medium, however, has the inherent problem of being someone else’s playground. They might pack up their toys and go away, taking our content with them. Or they might start putting our content behind a firewall, reducing potential readership. They may even monetise our content without sharing that with us.

Because it is, ulitimately, their platform.

The problem is the same with any other environment that you don’t own (yes, that would include Wordpress.com and others).

I personally prefer to maintain my own blog, which is a Wordpress blog hosted on independent servers. This blog then syndicates to a couple of places. This is the spirit of POSSE — Post to Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.

Most long-form posts are syndicated in full to Medium and Tumblr, with the titles of these long-form posts sydicated to Micro.blog and Twitter. Micro-posts just go to Micro.blog and Twitter.2

I might (re) add Facebook and/or LinkedIn syndication at some point. These would actually be the biggest multiplier of readership. But I prefer quality over quantity, and the quality of commentary from Micro.blog readers, in particular, is outstanding, while there is a lot of noise from Facebook and LinkedIn (in my experience).

I don’t discount the effectiveness and importance of Medium. I would just advocate owning your content and syndicating to various platforms as being a far more resilient approach.


  1. Ms Sabino herself acknowledges that contributing to The Mission and The Writing Collective are the source of the immediate exposure.

  2. I treat all my (original) Tweets (i.e. not replies to other Tweets) as micro.posts, which start in Micro.blog and are syndicated to Twitter. If Twitter goes away I still have my original content. At least from when I started doing this. I wish I had downloaded a copy of all my app.net posts…