Thoughts on Tumblr’s Escape from Verizon to WordPress

Wow. Automattic bought Tumblr from Verizon for less than $3 million. Considering Yahoo bought it for $1.1 billion back in the day…

Yahoo really squandered it. And Verizon, I think, just wanted to get rid of it.

At least it’s going to an actual social media company not to another conglomerate. And one that’s more responsible than the big two! I was half expecting Verizon to try to monetize it into the ground and close it once everyone but the die-hard users had given up on it. But they found a blogging company for Tumblr, just like they found a photography company for Flickr. That’s encouraging. And Matt Mullenweg (who turns out to be a long-term Tumblr user as well!) understands that Tumblr and WordPress are different types of experiences, so they’re unlikely to try to merge them into a single service.

Though apparently they’d like to move the back-end to WordPress, while keeping the front-end experience of the Tumblr site and apps. I can sort of see the appeal: they’ve got over a decade of experience making WordPress scale, and they have to migrate Tumblr off of Verizon’s servers anyway. If they can run Tumblr on top of the WordPress infrastructure, it’s just a matter of adding capacity.

But it kind of runs the risk of creating a frankenblog. I guess it depends on how seamless the conversion is. If Tumblr looks and works the same from the user-facing perspective, it shouldn’t drive anyone away. If they try to turn it into a subset of WordPress.com…I’d expect another exodus.

Speaking of which, I doubt they’ll get anyone returning who left directly due to the adult content ban. Especially since they don’t plan on reversing it. But they might get back at least some people who left because they saw the ban as a sign of a dying platform. And they might be able to bring in new users, who knows? Having corporate overlords who actually understand and appreciate the space could be a big help.

Though frankly, even if all they do is keep it running in maintenance mode for those who are still there, that’s still better it would have been staying at Verizon!

As for me, I haven’t been active on Tumblr for a while. I took a final archive after cleaning up a bunch of old stuff, imported some posts here, and I’ve checked in to read maybe…once a month? I’m still in wait-and-see mode. We’ll see how the data migration goes, what they end up doing with the terms of service, whether they change the way ads and promoted posts appear.

But I am more confident that Tumblr will still exist next year than I was a few months ago!

Hawk or Dove?

Usually, iNaturalist’s AI is pretty good at narrowing down a plant or animal to a genus, but sometimes it can get confused. Like this pigeon sitting on a silk floss tree branch. It was “pretty sure” it was a hawk.

Um, nope!

I can sort of see that with the first image, but the second one makes it blindingly obvious!

Here’s the kicker, though: Pigeons and doves are the same as far as biological classification. Some names might lean toward one or the other, like the mourning dove, but others, like the rock pigeon or rock dove seen here, can be called either.

Which means the AI was literally confusing hawks and doves!

Bisected Halo

A circular halo around the sun, which is behind a tree. A contrail crosses the halo, leaving its shadow on the thin cloud layer below.

A clear 22-degree halo around the sun, bright enough that I didn’t have to adjust the image afterward. This is straight from my phone.

Even cooler: you can actually see the contrail’s shadow on the layer of cloud that’s producing the halo! The sun is behind the tree, and while the contrail pops out so it looks closer than the almost uniform layer, it’s clear from the shadow that the contrail is higher.

Moonshots

Crescent Moon.

Saturday night’s crescent moon. One shot for the daylit crescent, the other for the night side lit by earthshine (with some clouds as a bonus). J. helped with focusing the telephoto lens.

The second shot is a lot noisier than I’d like since I was adjusting levels on the JPEG, but I have the raw file, so maybe I’ll be able to do something better with it. It’ll be a good exercise in learning how to use Darktable.

Overexposed crescent moon, with the  night side faintly visible and a glowing cloud below it.