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Online Jigsaw Puzzles

My portfolio of Flickr photos has been licensed under Creative Commons Attirbution Only since 2007. This means that anybody can use my pics as long as they give me a credit link in return. Many companies have done this over the years, including such well-known companies as FastCompany, Smashing Magazine, South African Tourism & Cape Town Tourism. There may be many bigger companies I dont even know about as for many years the only notifications I got were from Google Alerts. About a year ago I subscribed to a free service – – and they’ve proved to be “Google Alerts on steroids”.

Since then I regularly get alerts of people using my photos and the other day I got a notification that the massively popular (and recommended) blog LifeHacker used one of my pics. This got me to thinking…  Photography equipment is super expensive and I really dont want to start changing my photo licensing. With the takeoff of Kickstarter, Indiegogo etc I thought to myself – let me start a  “micro-sponsorship” program, which I duly did.

As luck would have it, within a week I got a mention notification that had used some of my pics. So I went to their site and dropped them a comment asking them to consider a small donation…

…HEY PRESTO: Paypal confirmed their donation today 🙂  Thanks Guys! Gonna put it toward a 72mm Variable ND Filter for my Canon.







UPDATE: Wow, was this post prescient or what! I posted this on 11 March. 2 days later Google officially announces the closure of Google Reader. And, just as I predicted below, there’s a virulent backlash amongst current Google Reader users. Hey Google, you wanna hire me for strategy brainstorming?


The “RSS is dead” meme doesn’t die. Yes, RSS never went mainstream, but here are my reasons why I still use and value RSS every day:

My Google Raeder Usage

My RSS Reader stats for the last 30 days 

Composing a tweet or Facebook comment takes very little effort (and thought…). Composing a blogpost on the other hand requires considerably  more effort. The result is that what-to-blog-about is more selectively chosen and invariably more worthy of the effort (for both writer and reader). You can see this perfectly in practice by following some of your fav blogs twitter accounts. Yes, they will tweet every time they post a new blog article, but they often tweet a lot of extraneous stuff in between.

OK, so Twitter will beat almost any other medium when it comes to Breaking News. But we don’t always need to be the very first people to know everything thats going on. In fact the news at the cutting edge is invariably full of rumours, noise and kneejerks. Often a more considered and balanced opinion occurs a few hours, or even days later.

There is a time and place for serendipity. But there are also times when I need to be sure that I haven’t missed something. By following a good blog like Techcrunch, for example, I can rest assured that if there is any piece of important Tech news that I have missed, it will be there in my unread posts from Techcrunch. I can catch up any time. Nothing will escape me. Go away for a week and try backtrack everything important you may have missed on Twitter or Google+ and… well… good luck with that.

It is evident that Google has moved its engineering resources away from Google Reader. And speculation that they will close it down completely (as part of Larry Page’s Big Cull), are strengthening. Here’s why Google would be making a big mistake:

In the race for “numbers of users”, many of the big platforms have overlooked a more important metric – quality of users. There is no doubt that the regular users of Google Reader are definitely skewed on the tech-savy, media-influential side. To piss this user-base off would just be plain crazy. And hopefully if Google ever made the mistake somebody would be waiting in the wings with a new RSS service to snap up this prime piece of the pie. Which brings me to my next point…

…Actually, wait, there were some really good RSS readers out there once upon a time (Newsgator, for one jumps to mind). How come they’re all in the dead (or nearly dead) pool?  Simple – because Google muscled into the RSS reader arena with its enormous resources and free offerings, pretty much rendering it unviable for anyone else. Its one thing closing down a new service that didnt take off (like Buzz), but entirely another to leave a watseland behind, where there was once a burgeoning fertile valley. Google will surely generate a lot of badwill from such a move.

My personal guess is that rather than winding Google Reader down, they will somehow assimilate it into G+. I just hope that in doing they don’t ruin the clean, tightly-focused and functional experience that many of us daily RSS consumers are accustomed too.







Instapaper + Kindle = Total Winner

19 February 2012

I migrated everything to a new PC this week, and have used the migration to switch a lot of the services I’ve been using. One service which I couldn’t live without was  ReaditLater . Basically its a browser extension that does exactly what it says – 1 click and the current page is saved to your […]

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Evernote – first impressions

2 December 2010

Actually first impressions is not accurate, I opened an Evernote account when Google Notebook closed. I was impressed at the the time, but with all these services you have to put an effort in to consciously change the way you work and USE the service for at least 2 weeks. Which I didn’t do, so […]

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Toldya I was a heavy-duty RSS consumer…

3 September 2010
Read the full article → – seamless lifestreaming

14 July 2010

I’ve just added a “What-I’m-currently-listening-to…” page onto this blog. Nothing fancy at all – just a very simple little widget with a feed from my account.  Quick n Easy. I opened my account years ago, used it for a few weeks, and then gave it a total break. Recently, I got back on […]

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Wanted: Wiki/Mindmap hybrid/mashup

30 April 2010

As a photographer I am a very visual person, and am fascinated by the fast-growing area of data visualisation. Recently I was looking at various wiki options for a private project. Essentially, all that the internet is, is one big wiki. OK, so you can’t edit every site out there, but the principle foundation of […]

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Remember the milk – Review

22 April 2010

WEBAPP:  To Do list and task manager HOW LONG I’VE USED IT: 3 years HOW MUCH I USE IT: All day, every working day (power user) PROS: Slick, clean interface Online & offline (G Gears) enabled (and apps for every device you can think of including Google Calendar integration) Superb task tagging Excellent keyboard shortcuts […]

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