Possibly Out-There Federation Idea

Now that Pixelfed federation and Pterotype are taking shape, I can hook up my photos and blogging directly into Mastodon and the Fediverse, but you know what would be even cooler?

Connecting them to each other.

A lot of my blog ideas grow out of photos or statuses that I’ve posted previously, as I find more to say or a better way to say it. And while it’s always possible to just post a comment or reply with a link, imagine posting them into the same federated thread.

Here’s a scenario we can do today:

  1. Photo of something interesting on Pixelfed, boosted to Mastodon. I believe we’re one update away from Mastodon replies and Pixelfed comments appearing together.
  2. Blog post on Plume or WordPress with Pterotype going into more detail about the photo. Comments and Mastodon/Pleroma replies can interleave right now. (Try it, if you want!)
  3. Another photo on Pixelfed as a follow-up. Again, comments and replies can interleave.

This is already pretty cool, but it still creates three separate discussions. The best I can do is add a “Hey, I wrote more on my blog over here: <link>” to the first discussion.

What if there were a way to publish the blog entry as a reply to the PixelFed photo? Or to publish the second photo as a reply to the blog?

And that opens up other possibilities where people can reply to other people’s photos and blog entries with their own. (Webmentions sort of do this, but they’re not going to create a single federated discussion.)

I’m not sure what form this interleaved discussion would take, or what the pitfalls might be. (Visibility might suffer, for instance.) Blogging and photo posting tend to be platforms for an original post that can have comments, rather than platforms where a top-level post can be an OP or a reply, and this would change that model.

The Old Camera

The 7YO was looking through the closet the other day and found my old camera bag. Inside it: the old film SLR camera that my grandfather gave me when I was around 12. It’s older than I am, a Sears camera that appears to be a rebranded Ricoh Singlex TLS from 1967. It’s completely manual except for the light meter.

And I expect it will work perfectly once I put some film in it.

As a teen I used it take photos of family, landscapes, spaceship models, stars, photo essays, monuments, even a space shuttle landing. He showed me how to develop film and slides, and make prints in his home darkroom.

It was my main camera for several years, until I got tired of carrying it around and went back to using a point-and-shoot camera. But I still miss having such effortless control over the focus, exposure and aperture. I keep telling myself I’ll eventually get a DSLR and recapture that.

Exam

Anyway, I showed him how to handle it, how to focus and set the F-stop and shutter speed, how to open it, load (imaginary) film, remove the lens, and see the iris as he opened and closed the aperture. We set it for a long exposure so he could watch the shutter open and close. He also found the tripod I’d given up looking for a while back, and once he was done inspecting this one, he hooked it up to a newer camera.

The problem is, he really wanted to try out the camera, but we don’t have any film. I don’t think I’ve bought film in almost 15 years, since I bought my first digital camera. You could buy film in any grocery store when I was younger, but it’s been relegated to specialty shops and online stores over the past decade. I figured I could find it online easily enough. But whose film is worth getting these days? And where to get it developed?

Tracking Down Supplies

Some of the more serious photographers on Photog.Social (a Mastodon instance focused on photography) shoot film, so I asked for suggestions there. I’m going to have to explore Film Photography Project,, which looks fascinating!

Film was easy to find, but then there was the battery for the light meter. You can’t get the same kind of battery anymore. It turns out that old cameras like this one used mercury batteries because they produce a very consistent voltage instead of starting high and trending downward over their lifetime. But, you know, mercury. Not something you want seeping into groundwater from trash. They haven’t sold them in the US since 1996.

I could use the camera without a light meter. I’d just have to figure out the exposure on my own!

As it turns out, Zinc-air batteries have a similar discharge curve (but a much shorter life), and there’s a size that’s designed as a replacement for this one. OK, there’s that problem solved.

So, film and battery have been ordered, and are in the mail!

This should be interesting…

Busier Midterm Voting than Expected

The polling place was full this morning. I had to drive all the way around the block to find parking (notice the line of cars), which I can’t recall ever having to do at this location. (The 2016 election used a different polling place for this area.) I wondered if I should have walked there and back instead of stopping by on my way to work.

But they had just enough voting booths to handle everyone. There was literally one person ahead of me in line to sign in. While we waited for other voters to finish with their booths, someone came in to drop off his family’s mail-in ballots and then cast his own in person.

Then a booth opened up, I marked my ballot (on paper, fill-in-the-bubble style), and went over to feed it into the box.

I was in and out in about 10 minutes.

Who am I blogging for?

For today’s daily blog, I was thinking about posting something about getting out there and voting in the midterm election tomorrow. Aside from the fact that I already posted about elections a few days ago, I realized another problem: who’s going to read it? I mean, K-Squared Ramblings doesn’t seem to have many regular readers as near as I can tell. And Key Smash! is for testing – I’m not really expecting to pick up many regular readers there. So a call to action isn’t going to reach many people on either of these blogs. Of course, that brings up the question of why am I blogging these days? Who is my target audience?
  • How-to and troubleshooting posts are intended for other people with similar problems. They don’t have to be blog entries, it’s just easier to write and edit that way.
  • Recurring themes (like funny signs, or solar halos) are intended for anyone who lands on a related article or photo. It’s easier to tie things together on one site than across several.
  • Some of it is soapbox material that I just feel like I need to get it out there. The kind of stuff you shout into the void on Twitter or Mastodon, but maybe it was too long for that, or maybe I did post it on one of those sites and decided that it was worth hanging onto. (Aside from lack of control and limited search functionality, sometimes social networks shut down.)
  • Some of it is stuff that I find interesting and want to share. I usually end up sharing links over social media, and then if I have more that I want to say I’ll do it on a blog, because it’s much better-suited for that. I don’t have anyone specific in mind, just whoever might find the same stuff interesting.
  • And some of it is for me. I don’t think many people read my convention reports (these days people just go for the photos), but I’ll go back myself and check, “Which year was that, again? Was that WonderCon or SDCC?”
 

Catching up on photos

Somehow this year has just gotten away from me as far as posting general photos. Oh, I made sure to post albums from events like comic conventions and hiking trips. But the random one-offs and two-fers? I’ve been tossing them up on Instagram, Pixelfed, and/or Mastodon, but I haven’t been maintaining my Flickr gallery.

Part of that is just that this has been a weird year. Part of it, I think, has to do with unexpectedly replacing my phone back in February when my previous phone died without warning. (Almost everything was backed up, at least.)

Whatever the reason, I’ve got eight or nine months of random photos, some just barely interesting enough to share, some really good (IMHO), that I haven’t been curating for Flickr. And the longer I go without posting them, the less it becomes a cool thing to do and the more it becomes a Task To Be Done.

So I sat down tonight after putting the kid to bed, hooked up my camera and my phone to my computer, and started moving and categorizing photos. I eventually got tired of it, but I freed up a lot of space. Even though I’m not quite done with that stage, I went through all the photos I’ve got so far and picked out the ones I want to highlight.

There are enough that I’m breaking them into categories to upload in small batches over the next week or two. If you upload more than three at a time, Flickr will only show the most recent three to your followers. Hopefully they’ll be interesting enough to convince them to click through to the rest of the batch, but I’ve noticed that the top three in a batch always get viewed more than the rest, and always get more feedback. A lot of the more serious photographers I follow won’t even post batches bigger than two or three at a time.

The first batch went up tonight: It’s Los Angeles cityscapes. Continue reading