Twitpic, I’m So Glad You’re Not Going Away

twitpic-logoIf you don’t already know it, Twitpic was going to shutdown on September 25th, but the news as of Thursday is that they have been acquired. This means if you were getting ready to rush over to Twitpic to copy all of your photos, you can relax.

Nevertheless, you may still want to take a backup up of them. Instructions on how to save your photos without doing it manually are here.

Dear Twitpic,

I’m sorry for the misunderstanding between you and Twitter but so glad someone else thinks you’re important enough to stick around. You are a clean and easy service to deal with. I hope you stay that way!

And here’s hoping your new owners can deal with Twitter.

Signed,
A Fan

P.S. Here’s hoping you were bought by someone who is not going to throw in with the likes of Facebook.

twitpic-picture

And all those lovely photos I had of Richard Armitage can now rest easy. :D

Tangent — Please Keep Twitter Wild. Let the Bird Fly Free

September 5, 2014

twitter personalizationIt is bound to end soon, because Twitter is bent on making big bucks. It was inevitable when they made their IPO. But the somewhat chaotic nature of timelines and hashtags is a good thing — read that: it draws a lot of people to Twitter who in turn shake and move things. Take it away, and those same people may go somewhere else for their serendipity fix. What am I talking about? Right now what we follow is what we see in our timelines, but if Twitter starts algorithmically curating our timelines with no ability to opt out, it’s not going to be nearly so much fun. When Twitter starts thinking for us based on how we’ve thought before, i.e., based on our Twitter surfing, then the wonderful serendipity and certainly the ability to be exposed to other ways of thinking besides our own will be lost.

I mentioned this kind of thing* a few years ago. To be clear, I understand the need from an advertising standpoint. These companies have to make money to continue to provide us all the great content, but hell, isn’t there a happy medium so I’m not always fed exactly what a site thinks I want to see? How boring.

* Do yourself a favor and watch the video in that post.

edit: I retweeted this earlier today, but I want ensure it’s seen by all of you, and that you know I feel the same:

another edit:

Throttling my feed and not showing me everything is exactly why I got so tired of Facebook & can barely make myself go there- even though that’s where most of my RL friends are. Don’t decide for me what I want to see and (especially) not see!! Twitter already has the “Promote” thing and it doesn’t bother me, I can ignore or not. Right now, I like the setup of Twitter much better. — SH on the possible algorithmic curating of Twitter timeline

Why Shit Doesn’t Just Happen

Reblogged from Write on the River

There’s an author and blogger I follow who got my attention this morning. I’ve now pre-ordered his book.

Why Shit Doesn’t Just Happen
September 2
By Bob Mayer

shitdoesntjusthappen1Why the book and title? I had to get your attention, just like engineers, soldiers, pilots, astronauts, passengers, policemen, firemen, etc. need to get someone’s attention just before a catastrophe occurs in order to either prevent the event or save lives. And engineers, systems analysts, workers, and managers have to get the attention of others in order to point out cascade events that, if unchecked, will lead to a catastrophe.

Consider the meaning of the phrase shit happens. Saying “shit happens” indicates events are random, have no meaning and there is no accountability or responsibility. It indicates such events could just as easily happen again and there’s nothing we can do about them.

Read the rest here

A segue for those who only come here to read about Richard Armitage. Today, our guy is “In Conversation” at the Old Vic, and it’s going to be interesting to see what he makes happen.

Hopefully we will hear something soon.

So yeah, an interesting mix of subjects.

edit: I wish I had turned off pinging. Oh well, Bob Mayer can think I’m a nut all he wants. I did buy the book. :D

A Few Pointers on Twitter

twitter-logo
For those who have just joined Twitter or have been on and still don’t know how to navigate it effectively, here are some basics to remember:

  • Tweets are what you and others post on Twitter.
  • Profile page (aka “Me”) is where you find your tweets and retweets. If you want to make a tweet sticky (keep it at the top of your tweets on your profile page), you can “pin” the tweet. This is under “more” on the individual tweet. This is not widely available on mobile. Bummer.
  • Your timeline is the tweets that scroll when you are on your Twitter home page. It’s also known as the home feed. It is populated with tweets and retweets from those you follow as well as the occasional (let’s hope it stays occasional) promoted tweet thrown in by Twitter. Conversely, people who follow you will have your tweets/retweets in their timelines.
  • Retweets are exactly what they seem — a do over of a tweet; however, you cannot retweet yourself (not easily anyway) although you can post the same tweet twice. It’s just technically not a retweet and frankly, many times it’s viewed as spam. The protocol is to retweet others. There are a few ways to retweet, but generally, if you use the Twitter retweet function, the person you retweeted will be notified. If you cut and paste a tweet or manually quote or alter a tweet, that’s not necessarily true. It depends on how the person being retweeted is being notified, which I’m not going to cover. Suffice to say that if you use the Twitter retweet function, they will be notified. And while I’m on the retweet function, just know that it is not the same on all devices. Play around with this, so that you know how it works for you. I would go into all of this, but we would be here all day.
  • 140 characters is the limit for tweets and retweets, and yes, that includes your Twitter name. Sorry, but thems the rules babycakes. The only exception to the rule is any links in your tweet.
  • Twitter will shorten links with their url shortening service. This is done dynamically by Twitter, i.e., you don’t do it; Twitter does it as you post your tweet. You will see something that begins with t.co for your link once your tweet is posted. But before you tweet with a link, you will see all the characters displayed. This is why a good rule of thumb is to type the tweet, see how many characters it will be, and then add the link at the end.
  • Hashtags are characters preceded by a number sign. Looks like this —> #hashtag. Hashtags can be actual words, phrases or acronyms. Doesn’t matter. Sometimes they are agreed on by groups who are going to participate in an event. In the past, the FanstRAvaganza event has used #Fanstra and other hashtags so that people could easily find the content. And that is the point — to find things. Hashtags are primarily an indexing tool. There are also throwaway hashtags which are used to convey something additional and it’s often humorous.
  • Trending is when a hashtag or person or event becomes very popular on Twitter. It takes a helluva lot for something to trend, and yes, Richard Armitage has trended on Twitter.
  • Photos are generally displayed if you load them directly to Twitter. Photos in a link are not necessarily displayed. It depends on how the linked site feeds its information to other sites (and that’s as technical as I’m going to get on the subject). It also depends on agreements Twitter has or doesn’t have with other sites. For instance, hang posting a link to Facebook media and having it displayed on Twitter. Same thing for Facebook with Twitter media.They are competitors after all. Can all of this be gotten around? Oh sure it can and especially if you have enough time or money or technical skills to mess around with it. But remember this is a post about the basics on Twitter.
  • Video from YouTube and Vine will display with a link in the timeline. And I understand Vine is expanding function. Who knows they may end up like YouTube. If that happens, count on Twitter taking YouTube videos out of the timeline unless YT antes up something major. There are other ways to display video, but you have to have some bucks.
  • Protected tweets are private tweets. This means the whole world can’t see them only the people who follow that profile. This also means that protected tweets cannot be retweeted by Twitter. They can be retweeted if someone does a cut and paste, but as a courteous, it’s good to ask permission from the owner of the original tweet before doing it.
  • DMs or direct messages are private messages. There is a 160 character limit instead of 140. You can only DM someone if they follow you (different rules apply for Verified accounts, and since I suspect no one reading this has a verified account, I’m not going to cover that aspect). Sometimes a Twitter user sends auto responses to anyone who DMs them, but it’s mostly businesses or the famous who do this — the famous who follow a lot of people, like say Stephen Fry who follows about a half million people. No actually I think he follows 50,000 or so. Good chance he auto replies to DMs. And no, I’m not going to DM Richard Armitage. Unless he DMs me first. ;-) Also, links are tricky in DM. Some can be sent and some can’t. Twitter is constantly changing this and apologizing for it. Just know that it’s not reliable.
  • Lists are great. Twitter lists are one of my favorite functions, and I use them constantly. Some are public and some are private. You can add someone to a list you’ve created whether you follow them or not. However you do it, lists are good for grouping tweets so they don’t get lost in your timeline. For instance, I have a list called musicilove, so I can easily and quickly keep up with any tweeting by the performers on the list. I also have some private lists that are probably more helpful to what I do on Twitter than anything I use. No, I’m not sharing those. MUHAHAHAHAHA Interestingly, almost none of those private lists are about Richard Armitage. It’s mostly technical profiles I follow and think I would look like a doofus to do it as a fan site.
  • Twitter bots are accounts which are run by software and not people. They are mostly comprised of spammers and hackers and some legitimate businesses. Almost all the time they have a link in a tweet, and they will tweet to individuals in hopes the links will be clicked. So how do you tell what’s a bot and what’s not? Sometimes it’s hard, but most of the time it’s easy. If they have no conversation with anyone or they have followed a bazillion people and almost no one has followed them, they are usually a bot. I could go on and on with ways to tell, but those are two biggies. Perhaps some others will throw in with how they determine it.
  • Chatting on Twitter is done all the time, but I would keep it at a minimum. Your followers who are not involved in a particular chat oftentimes do not want to see them. Why? They clutter up the timeline and you run the risk of being muted (I’ll talk about this function in another post).

That’s all for now. I left out a lot because I really am trying to keep this to basic pointers, but remember all of this is subject to change at Twitter’s discretion. Just have fun but don’t go too crazy ’cause Twitter jail is real.

In the meantime, I’ll be happy to answer questions, and I’m sure there are plenty of other fans who read this blog and are also on Twitter who will do the same.

Later I’ll talk about Twitter clients which make all of this above easier to manage including scheduling tweets.

RichardArmitageUS also has some Twitter pointers here.

Tangent — Have Hanx Writer, Will?

tom-hanks-hanx-writer-app

For the last couple of days I’ve been reading up on an iPad app that was prompted by Tom Hanks. He wanted it to mimic a typewriter, so he approached some app developers to build one. It does sound and act very much like a typewriter but a little too much for my taste. Perhaps the sensory attributes of this app will provoke someone’s creativity. I don’t know, but after trying it out, I’m hard pressed to think I would use it much to aid in my drafting.

The sound and feel of a typewriter never did help in spurring my thoughts. I never needed any help with that. My head has always been crammed with them and racing with them at that. The typewriter did nothing but create frustration for me. Perhaps not as frustrating as pencil and paper, but still a level of frustration that was a big, fat turn off. I turned to a cassette recorder to get out my thoughts, and many remained in that format until I discovered something life changing — word processing software.

When at the age of 20 I had the privilege to use what was then a newfangled machine called a word processor, I felt I had made an exodus out of the land of blank pages. The racing thoughts that had always been a curse became a blessing overnight. And I have no desire to move back to Egypt however majestic the ruins may look. They are only for visiting and not dwelling in, which is what I suspect will be the reaction of many to Hanx Writer. A fun thing to experience and observe, but I doubt anyone serious about writing will want to live there for long.

More thoughts on the Hanx writer from a recently discovered writer whom I’ve come to really enjoy and appreciate his cleverness:


Tom’s typewriter – thanks Hanks but no
by David Hewson

Tom Hanks loves typewriters. So much that he’s put his name to an app for the iPad that recreates his beloved machine. Hanx Writer is yours for free though there are in-app options including a ‘Writer’s Block’ bundle whatever that is.

I spent the first twenty five years of my life using a typewriter every working day… and quite a few when I wasn’t supposed to be working too. I wrote my first unpublished book on one of the things. Never again.

Each to their own. Some people still love typewriters and paper. Some enjoy writing out their work longhand (and then handing it over to someone to type into a computer I imagine).

Not me. Here are my reasons.

read them here

During all of my reading on this app, I also read Tom Hanks has or had a collection of near 2,000 typewriters.

And now I know where Nora Ephron came up with one of the quirks for Frank Navasky.

Dreams and the Passing of Time

I’m not quite as up on Google Alerts about Richard Armitage as I used to be, and really there’s no need since so many fan sites keep up. I appreciate that! Plus, it gives me time to do something I really love which is watching videos like this one below from my oldest kid.

She wrote this in a few minutes, taped it and sent it to me. And she’s got about 20 more, since she can’t seem to stop. This one is not perfect, but I love it. Not just because I think it’s a great song and has tons of potential but also for what it represents.

She is pursuing her dreams, which very definitely include a highly artistic facet — writing, photography and music, and who knows what else. It seems when someone is letting their artist flow, it just doesn’t stop. This interview with Viggo Mortensen speaks to the mentality and reminded me of how I really did think as a child — that there were no limits on what I could do or express.

But the kind of focus required for these endeavors has “real life” envious and continually trying to intrude. The ability to ignore real life then becomes paramount to the creative if they are ever to do anything significant. They must learn to hang onto the precious dreams of childhood.

SO and I did not have a great ability with this. We were forever trying to please our parents. Sadly, our parents and others preached such a conservative approach to life that it almost squelched the creative in us. It’s been a fight to keep it alive! Even my father who was fairly unorthodox and highly creative was very conservative when it came to my future. Don’t get a degree in music, don’t play in a band for a living, don’t go off to parts unknown to do photo essays, don’t, don’t, don’t, because (gasp!) you might experience some hard times. This was said incessantly. Guess what? I’ve experienced hard times anyway. Don’t we all?

With our children, SO and I have tried to take a better approach, tried to inspire yet prepare them for what they were getting into without demoralizing them. Don’t be stupid and still pursue your dreams is what we’ve said. Certainly, that’s hard, but anything worth doing…

This was also talked about, and thankfully, they seem to have taken it to heart. Two have ended up in New York to pursue their passions and one is on the west coast doing the same.

And who knows what’s going to happen. At worst, they will always know they tried.

© 2014

In the meantime, this child keeps writing as well as bartending in the city with her sister (they are middle and far right) and going to school (the “don’t be stupid” part):

rlatwork

What does all of this have to do with Richard Armitage? I’m getting to it. It’s been slow, and I’ve dithered around for a couple of years about my diary in the process, because it’s been hard to figure out what I should publish and what I shouldn’t. But I’m determined to finish. I’ve also talked to a lot of people (including all of the people mentioned in the diary), and almost all have said go for it. Even before I started, I had permission from those put in the most unflattering light, but I have still struggled with publishing. I’m very loyal to my family and never want to cause them harm. But I think I’ve come to understand that what I reveal is not harmful but a common reality and perhaps how it resolved in my life will help someone else.

Freedom

Reblogged from the Snapshots blog by YouMuttonMeCrazy.

May was wasted on me, where writing is concerned. Experiences and work, on the other hand weren’t in short supply.

I find myself sitting on the couch again, the boobtube threatening to suck me in. You work, do something social and when you get home you are tired. Writing seems a daunting task. Weekend comes and you are faced with more social obligations, some of them in spectacular places, some of them too good to forget but too packed to remember in any detail. Yeah, May was a write-off but June can still be saved. Setting myself some writing projects is the name of the game. Break free from May, into June.

The first time I experience freedom was when I asked if my mom would give me a lift to my friend’s house and she replied with a casual, “Take your bike.” I suddenly realised I could go places on my own. Of course there were limits, don’t go across the main roads and stuff like that. Naturally I still had to let them know where I was going, but I was free.

the rest here

I hope you read all of this piece.

And I hope the author doesn’t feel compelled to thank me for posting. I don’t need that. I just like the writing and hope he keeps at it. That’s thanks enough.