Notes

The 2021 iPhone Photography Awards

Some lovely photos here, and quite a few taken with older models.

La vue des filles, by Valerie Helbich-Poschacher

There’s that saying: ‘the best camera is the one that you have with you’ – and it’s true. I can tell the difference between a shot taken with my iPhone and one taken with my Sony NEX, but the iPhone (or any other phone) is good enough, and it’s always with me.

Link: https://www.ippawards.com/2021-winning-photographers/

Tens of thousands

Somewhere in the bowels of government, someone (or some people) determined that a certain number of deaths is the pill that has to be swallowed to allow the economy to open up again. They’ve been pretty cagey about what that number is. Prof Andrew Hayward, the head of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London, says that it is in the ‘low tens of thousands’ – if we are cautious.

In the last 24 hours, more people tested positive for COVID in the UK than in any other country.

The Tent Peg

Zac, at The Tent Peg blog, is writing beautiful essays about his various walks around nice bits of the UK. There are some cracking photos too.

I’ve bookmarked some of these for later in the year. It feels like such a long time since I’ve walked up a big hill.

Link: The Tent Peg

Cancelling the NYT Sucks

You can’t cancel a subscription to The New York Times unless you phone them or talk to an online ‘Customer Care Advocate’. I hate that. They’re banking on people being put off and letting a subscription run, or being able to negotiate continuation.

Companies should not underestimate my desire not to speak to them. I will go to extreme lengths to avoid it. I eventually cancelled the NTY by changing my payment details to a virtual MasterCard, which I then cancelled.

The Terror

The Terror is now streaming on BBC iPlayer, three whole years after the US release. I watched the first two episodes tonight and it’s every bit as good as I hoped it would be.

It’s based on the novel of the same name by Dan Simmons which tells a fictionalised account of Sir John Franklin’s expedition to find the North-West Passage. It’s terrifying, but one of my favourite books.

HMS Erebus in the Ice - Francois Musin. 1846.
HMS Erebus in the Ice – Francois Musin. 1846.

The real story of the expedition is a good tale on its own. Michael Palin has done as good of a job as anyone in putting it down on paper in ‘Erebus’, which is well worth a read too.

The Joy of Insults

When Alan Duncan writes of a ‘selfish, ill-disciplined, shambolic, shameless clot’, I am confident that nine out of ten Brits could guess correctly who he is talking about. When he describes ‘a nothing person, a complete and utter nightmare, the Wicked Witch of Witham’ – it will be of no surprise that he is talking about (particularly fond of that one because acerbic and includes alliteration).

There is pleasure to be taken from hearing a carefully formulated phrase that has no purpose other than to denigrate someone that deserves it. Times are hard, you’ve got to take pleasure where you can find it.

Blooming Lovely

Cherry Blossom at Pately Bridge, Harrogate

Wix Vs WordPress

Matt Mullenweg is not happy about the new Wix ads.

I’m a fan of WordPress. It’s nice to work with, open source, and I can host it on my web server. It’s easy to get my content out if I want to try something else, and easy to get it back in again when I invariably come back. Most importantly, to me, they’ve almost single-handedly kept RSS alive across vast swathes of the net by switching feeds on by default (side note: I’m still furious that Mozilla stripped away all of its RSS functionality).

Wix, from my limited experience with it, appears to be the antithesis of everything that WordPress stands for, so their adverts, professing the superiority of Wix, are a little galling.

Wix is a for-profit company with a valuation that peaked at around 20 billion dollars, and whose business model is getting customers to pay more and more every year and making it difficult to leave or get a refund. (Don’t take my word for it, look at their investor presentations.) They are so insecure that they are also the only website creator I’m aware of that doesn’t allow you to export your content, so they’re like a roach motel where you can check in but never check out.

I doubt that Matt is losing much sleep over this. He’s doing okay.

Dystopian Quote of the Day

“The truth is machines have not taken over, but they are here to stay. We need to make our peace with them.”

Nick Clegg. Head of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook
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