Sunday, 24 March 2019

Meandering in March

March seems to have come and gone with very little chance to get the camera out, this is the first time this month I've managed to get out and snap a few pictures during my lunch break. Either the weather has been rubbish or something has happened that's stopped me going out.

Lot's of tweeting and chirping going down the little reserve but they all seem to want to hide, I even saw something small sneaking into the bushes, couldn't make out what it was.

Mute Swan

Male Blackbird


Female Mallard

I've also decided to try and do things the easy way, normally pictures are taken in RAW and then converted to JPG with an application called Darktable. This time I just set the camera to JPG and let it do all the hard work, the last picture was taken at ISO 4000 and the first two at ISO 5000, can't complain at the quality.

Not much of March left, I'll try and do some more.

All pictures from the album are here.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Social Media Overload

There's so many social media platforms out there, Farcebook, Instagram, Twitter, Diaspora, Mastodon, Hubzilla, Google+ MeWe and many others, being connected to them all is a nightmare. Especially when it comes to posting stuff as you have to duplicate the publishing of articles to each and everyone if you want to contact people.

Then there's the security issue, I had the Facebook and Messenger apps installed on previous phones for some time, downloading the data that Facebook has on me shows some scary stuff. List of every phone call I made on all the phones I had Messenger installed on, including the times and phone numbers and a lot of these calls were to people that weren't on Facebook.

I'd also uploaded a picture from a folder to Facebook but all the pictures from that folder were present in my Facebook data, not just the one picture I uploaded.

I didn't install Facebook on my new phone, I used Instagram on my phone and Facebook on my desktop. Yet they still managed to work out I was the same person even with different logins. I also used WhatsApp, another Facebook company, I'd limited access to the phone other than microphone  and went to change my status during a weeks holiday. WhatsApp refused to change status unless I allowed it access to everything including, location, contacts, camera, files on the phone and so it had to go.

Onto Instagram now, I logged into Instagram with a different login than Facebook, but noticed things that I searched on my desktop which doesn't have Instagram were appearing as adverts in my Instagram feed which doesn't have the Facebook app installed. And adverts were appearing more often in the Instagram feed than actual posts, a lot of ads for things that I had no interest in and in some cases were actually very offensive, reporting these ads made no difference.

And then came the last straw with these apps, as of late I've been feeling a bit under the weather, speaking to a friend in work who's had some health problems relating to the absorption of vitamin B12. Taking my wife into work one morning, I mentioned this to her and she mentioned about it causing issues with depression, later that day during a look at Facebook on her phone she found adverts relating to the same issues, more proof that  Facebook is listening all the time.

I've deactivated my Instagram and Facebook accounts at the moment, it's almost and addiction looking at them every few minutes and I'm going to try and not use them again. Instagram will almost definitely be going, Facebook may remain on my computer but using a separate browser, there's too many friends and family on Facebook and it seems that it's the only way to keep in touch with them all.

As for alternatives, I've tried Mastodon, it's a sort of decentralised Twitter, you can even run up your own server and post stuff locally which can be seen on other servers or pods. I have to say it could be OK but it's very quiet and unless some people such as RSPB, WWT, BBC and so on start using it, then it will be for a niche market.

I've started up a Hubzilla instance and have yet to find any use for it, it seems incapable of connecting to anything outside of itself unless forced but I'll keep trying it.

There's Disapora, another sort of cross between Facebook and Twitter but not a lot happening on it. 

Finally there's MeWe, this is promising, it's a sort of Facebook without the data worries or ads, it is limited and because it's ad free you don't get unlimited space and certain things such as messaging will cost you.

Telegram has replaced WhatsApp as a secure messaging service, I used to use Google Hangouts but that seems to be showing it's age and will probably soon go.

And finally, we are approaching the end of my favourite social network, Google +. I really like this platform, ads are not intrusive, there's not too much fake news but April will see it being shut down, I do hope they replace it with something. is an Instagram replacement, no mobile app but you can create a shortcut on your phone to use it but again, there's not a lot going on with it.

The problem is really that we love free stuff, but the big boys such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all use our data to pass onto advertisers who target us with ads, on Facebook no matter how much you tighten things up you can't avoid your data being shared, I blocked some groups but if you're tagged into a post in that group they get access to some of your information. If we want a truly ad free, data risk free social media platform we will have to end up paying some sort of subscription charge.

So for now, I'll be using the following:

Telegram for instant messaging, there's even a desktop client for this which works very well.

I'm on Twitter if you have an account, I'm also on MeWe at the moment, Hubzilla on my own server at the moment, not open for registration just yet. And of course there's the old bloggy stuff such as this one, family ramblings and travels are here, humorous stuff is here and finally, things to with music are here and also on Last.FM.

Please feel free to follow me on the above if you want to read about the rants and ramblings who is approaching Victor Meldrew status with a great speed. 

Dumping some of the Social Media stuff means that I seem to have more time to do constructive stuff as opposed to liking posts and deleting adverts.

Keep the faith and live long and prosper.