Tag - facebook

Photo Challenge #2:
“Pendennis from St. Mawes”

For Day 2 of Ken Gray‘s Facebook 7-Day Photo Challenge, we’re reaching once more into the photo-wayback-machine. This is one of the very first manifestations of my fascination (preoccupation? obsession?) with medieval castles and abbeys

I made my first trip to the United Kingdom with my then-future-ex-wife Georja Skinner for five memorable weeks in the spring of 1976. The tour covered almost the entire UK.

We started with a couple of days on the Isle of Sark in the – a tiny refuged in the in the English Channel most notable for the nearly complete absence of motorized vehicles. Once in England proper we went as far west as Cornwall, north through the Cotswolds, Wales and the Lake District, and made it as far north as Edinburgh in Scotland. Unfortunately our car was broken into outside of Edinburgh, and – in a demonstration of what international travel newbies we were – our passports were stolen. We had to beat a hasty retreat back to the U.S. Embassy in London to secure temporary passports so that we could eventually fly home.

But I digress: the photo here was taken across the bay from the town of Falmouth on the south coast of Cornwall.

One either side of the mouth of Falmouth Bay are two fortresses built during the reign of Henry VIII to defend the English coast from invasion by the Spanish Armada. On the west side of the bay is Pendennis Castle; we spent a bit of time on the east side of the channel, at a nearly identical installation called St. Mawes Castle. While we were at St. Mawes, a spring storm rolled over the coast, and I captured the layers of clouds as they rolled past Pendennis with my Nikon F2, a 300mm lens and (I think) Ektachrome 400 film.

I have a print of this shot on the wall in my “library” (it’s just a small room with bookshelves, but I like the pretense of calling it “the Library”). The print was made and framed back in 1976 – it’s the oldest photo of mine presently on display in the house. I had it and several other photos from the era (like yesterday’s “Ground Strike“) scanned a few years back. They’re all digital, now….

The image that appears at the top of this post has been “landscape” aspected to fit the way “featured images” are displayed in these posts. Here’s the full “portrait” aspected image, which shows many more layers in the clouds and sky:


Fountains Abbey At Twilight

I recently joined a Facebook group called “England from the Roadside” and submitted this as one of my first posts to the page:

Fountains Abbey – Yorkshire, England@Welcome2Yorks @GreatBritain @instagood

more at http://ift.tt/1koYz4J
#medieval #UK #medievalworld #UnitedKingdom #GreatBritain #travel #ig_europe #photooftheday #thebest_capture #ig_masterpiece #nuriss_tag #architectur #travel #awe_inspiringshots #pro_ig #global_highlights #igworldclub #ig_select #editoftheday #capture_today #waycoolshots #featuremeinstagood @instagood #igcapturesclub #ig_masterpiece #ig_great_pics
©2015 [email protected] aka @driver49

Tales from Digital Rehab (4) As I Was Saying…

What's wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

A friend sent me this video yesterday – along with the ironic observation that a rap decrying our obsession with screens was delivered – how else? – by screen. And that a screed lambasting Facebook would show up – where else? – on Facebook.


I have managed to more or less maintain my “social media” embargo for the better part of three weeks now. I have ranted a few times via Twitter @Comcastcares (they don’t, really, it was a full week before anybody tweet-replied to the most recent distress signal. Hence the ensuing hash tag #Comcastjustpretendstocare).

And I have made one or two ‘guerilla strikes’ each day into Facebook to see if there are any actual pressing matters that have been left for me there. So far, no so much.

So I am learning that an Internet addict CAN manage their consumption of digits, just as an overeater can learn how to manage their consumption of calories.

More parallel ironies come to mind. I have said on several occasions that over the past few months my engagement with the ‘social media’ firmament has been recalling my relationship with Johnny Walker and Stolichnaya in the months before I finally started going to AA meetings in the fall of 1987. Some arithmetic is in order:

I started getting stoned, etc. in the spring of 1969, and closed the book on that chapter of my life in the fall of 1987. That’s roughly 18-1/2 years.

I got on the Internet in earnest in 1995 (though I’ve been online since 300 baud in 1979) and put myself on this “Digital Rehab” program in 2014. That’s, umm… roughly 19 years. Close enough for the sake of ironic symmetry.

Obvious, I am still on the Internet even though I haven’t had a sip, a snif, or a puff in… it’ll be 27 years this coming Thanksgiving Day.

As I’ve said, that’s the difference between being an alcoholic and a digi-holic. Being a digi-holic is more like being an overeater. A recovering alcoholic can get along fine for the rest of his life without a drop of liquor ever passing over his lips. An overeater is going to have to find away to eat.

And I will have to find a way to integrate all this nonsense back into my existence.

Starting with creating and maintaining effective filters on what constitutes “nonsense.”

Which starts by withdrawing completely from the ‘random trivia generator’ that a Facebook ‘news feed’ has become.

Oh, I still have access to several random trivia generators.

I use the Pulse RSS reader (now ‘LinkedIn Pulse’ since LinkedIn acquired the company, though it is still the only real use I’ve found for anything having to do with LinkedIn), several times a day. But the information I’m accessing through that app is a tad better filtered than what I typically get on Facebook: I decide what the feeds are, have them categorized in pages, and can pretty much decide what I information I care to avail myself to at any time. That’s where I keep Andrew Sullivan, Salon, Cult of Mac, This Modern World (the Tom Tomorrow comic) and a couple dozen photography sources. It comes in very handy when I’m standing on a line somewhere – like when it takes 30 minutes to return a appliance to Comcast.

So still no Facebook on my mobile devices, and still no default email account. That way there is nothing tugging at my attention on my phone. On a conscious level I know there is nothing new – no new emails, no notifications from Facebook – so there is no reason to “check” my device(s).

Which leaves me to observe and ignore the subconscious impulse to “check” every couple of minutes.

And my “phone”? It’s mostly an audio book player these days… I’m learning a lot about the first decades of English colonization in the New World…

Tales from Digital Rehab (3): This Is Where Our Lives Go

Thursday, September 25, 10:21 AM

blog-digital-distractionsJeez, is it already almost 10:30? I was so sure I’d be at the keyboard by 10. A few minutes before 10, I was almost done clearing my inbox of the detritus that I’d let accumulate by mostly ignoring it the day before. And then one thing and another… and now it’s 10:21. Another half hour I’ll never get back…

See, that’s the quandary.

Time slips by in tiny increments… one small distraction after another, and before you know it a quarter, a half, a whole hour has slipped by and there’s nothing to show for it except time spent with the RTG – The Random Trivia Generator.

The Random Trivia Generator is not just Facebook. It’s the whole Universe of digital distractions. Here we see the downside in the interconnectedness of all things. Maybe it starts with an indispensable tool like e-mail, which by now is mostly littered with e-newsletters of varying degrees of actual interest, each with their own links to something brighter and shinier beyond. Once you’re in the browser, there are more links, most of them of the “link bait” variety that promise even deeper satisfaction if you just give into your curiosity and… click here.

I’d snuck into Facebook for a minute. Just to clear an item I’d left in my inbox from yesterday, a link I needed to post to The 1861 Project’s Facebook page, which these days serves as the Project’s website. Since the actual website attracts so little traffic – and conversely the Facebook page gathers whatever interest there actually is in the project – we just redirected the domain to the Facebook page and we “engage” our “audience” there.

Tales of distraction: I’m suddenly tempted to drop the developing stream of consciousness that was forming here in order to follow up a phone call I made a few minutes ago with an text msg. But when I open the phone I discover that an e-mail I thought I’d sent from my phone hadn’t actually been sent. It was stuck in a digital limbo called “Outbox.” So I had to (?) drill down into my mailboxes to find the unsent message and attempt to “Send” again.

And now I’m tempted to check the device again to see if the message has sent. And that’s when I realize:

This is where our lives go. Read More

Tales from Digital Rehab: Kayaking is Not Multi-tasking

“We live in a media culture where we are buried in information,
but we know nothing.

Ken Burns

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve just returned from five days on a marshy island called Cedar Key in the “big bend” corner of the Gulf of Mexico – where the Florida panhandle meets the peninsula.

Before I left I started disconnecting.

First I Googled the phrase “off the grid” and found images to use for my cover and profile photos on Facebook. I have not looked at Facebook since.

Then I posted an auto response to my email that said I was gonna be “off the grid” for a few days – “off the grid” being defined these days as “no signal” on my mobile devices. There was still plenty of electricity at our destination – and WiFi in a lot of locations – but I made a conscious and deliberate decision to be “unplugged” for a few days.

As we were driving down to the island – about 11-1/2 hours with stops along the way – I went a step further in my digital rehab: I removed the Facebook apps from my iPhone and iPad.

Wednesday night, once Ann and I had settled into our accommodations (provided by AirBnB, naturally…), I opened my e-mail one more time, cleared the inbox as well as I could and closed the application. I haven’t checked e-mail since. I think this is the longest I’ve gone without looking at email in about 10 years. Probably longer.

Nor have I been on Facebook. Or Twitter (which I don’t use nearly as much as Facebook anyway). Or LinkedIn or Pinterest. And I can’t really say now that I miss any of it.

I don’t miss the deluge of digital narcissism – including my own – or the constant comparison of my virtual existence to that of my friends and colleagues.

In the absence of these distractions, what I have discovered is a measure of continuity in my own thought processes that is both strange and exhilarating. I am now in the midst of a giant leap in the recovery of my own space and time.

And I might owe it all to kayaking…

* * *

Read More

Is Net Neutrality Dead?

LIstening to this excellent discussion of the issues around “Net Neutrality. It’s amusing to hear the guy from VerizonCast going through verbal gymnastics to make the case that more corporate control of the web is in the end-user’s interest. His organization is called “Free State Foundation.” A loving nod to Orwell…

TechHive: Google is creepy, but you shouldn’t automatically fear it invading your Nest

This is a pretty even handed treatment of the Google/Nest acquisition, despite the seemingly inflammatory opening: “Let’s get it out of the way right at the top: Google is a creepy company that’s only getting creepier with its hideous camera glasses and driverless ghost cars… it’s a creepy exercise anytime you sit and think about all the data you just hand over to this face-cam-wearing company on a daily basis…. But once all the jokes on Twitter die down, this is a super smart move on Google’s part…”