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Hello world!

Caitriona Redmond - Fri, 05/17/2024 - 13:21

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

I just want to…

Treasa Lynch - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 08:28

Instagram announced new updates to their algorithm again. I have a couple of accounts on Instagram, so I suppose I have some skin in the game.

It’s just mostly I consume. I don’t use Instagram professionally; and I don’t want to. I use it to a) share some photos and art with my friends and b) see what they share with me.

This type of user doesn’t matter. I mean, what I would like is to see the accounts I follow in reverse chronological order. But Meta have not wanted to give me this for years. Lately they have been giving me insane quantities of sponsored posts both in Stories and in the main feed.

There was a time I loved the idea of recommender systems. The idea is that the recommend accounts, posts, whatever, that I would really be interested in. But this isn’t really happening. When every second sponsored post is from Temu….is this really that personalised? I don’t think so.

From what I can see, recommender systems have moved from being what is most interesting for me to what is most interesting to the social media provider, mostly Meta in this case.

I’d like to say that somewhere, the tech giants have lost their way; but I think they haven’t. I think that everything they do is specifically so they can fleece money out of somewhere, be it me or an advertiser. Just for a short while, their interests and mine as a media consumer aligned.

Now though, most of the time I spend scrolling Instagram is time spent frustrated. My main objective is to look at excellent photography and drawing/painting which I find interesting. I’ve a special interest in water colour and travel photography and these form the bulk of what I post myself. Some time ago, I wound up seeing more short videos rather than single shots. I’m really not interested in moving photographs – if I was, I’d go to actual travel documentaries on Youtube (which I do) – and what the artists did to deal with this was start making reels which are close ups of fineliners moving around a centimetre, dabs of paint so detailed I get a headache trying to process them visually. All of this sucks to high hell as a consumer; and I can’t imagine it suits the average illustrator either.

I understand the problem is that the likes of Meta can’t make a huge amount of money out of delivering what I want. I’m not someone they can get to pay them for business services. I’m not going to pay 35E a month for services getting my posts in front of more eyes. I’m not buying stuff from their advertisers. But their ability to offer their professional users access to attention depends on a critical mass of people like me.

I recognise companies need to make money to survive. But the social media companies do not have a guaranteed right to my attention and lately, Instagram are heavily wasting it. I feel sorry for those who use it as a business platform. I’m not interested in the latest lot of algorithmic changes because again, it focuses not on me deciding what accounts I want to see = it focuses on them deciding what accounts they will promote to my timeline. And if god forbid on mobile I want to switch to the accounts I follow, well then I still can’t set that as a default.

Hot Spiced Beef Sandwich

Evin O’Keeffe - Wed, 05/08/2024 - 14:09

We love a nice hot sandwich on a rainy day. You know the kind that is a bit gooey with a little crunch on the outside? This is that sandwich. We kept it simple to let the flavours of the...

The post Hot Spiced Beef Sandwich first appeared on EvinOK.

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How to Propagate Hydrangea Plants

Evin O’Keeffe - Tue, 05/07/2024 - 17:16

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers. I carried them on my wedding day and when I see them it reminds of me of that joyful event. The plant is beloved for the stunning blooms and vibrant colors, making them...

The post How to Propagate Hydrangea Plants first appeared on EvinOK.

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Fresh Bell Pepper Salad with Grilled Sausage

Evin O’Keeffe - Wed, 05/01/2024 - 14:03

Today, on our walk around town we popped in to the English Market to buy some fresh O’Flynn’s Sausages to grill at home for an easy lunch. Two pork-free sausages were available today, the Lamb & Rosemary and the Boerewors, so we bought three of...

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Over 40 Yarn Hand-Dyers Based in Ireland and Northern Ireland

Evin O’Keeffe - Fri, 04/26/2024 - 18:07

There are so many talented and original yarn sources and hand-dyers in the world at the moment, but I’ve got to say we’re spoiled here in Ireland. We are lucky to have the number of hand-dyers here we do and that...

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inspired by Walter Mitty

Treasa Lynch - Sun, 04/21/2024 - 18:10

I saw a thread on Reddit today where the Secret Life of Walter Mitty was recommended. I have some troubles with the idea of the film – I loved the novelette by James Thurber as a child and of course, they messed with the plot significantly. But I discovered it was streaming on Disney so I had a look at it. I haven’t watched all of it because I did my watching from the end trick.

I was a child with a big imagination. One of the stories I wrote as 12 year old I still feel like expanding into a kids’ book. I grew up in a small town in rural Ireland in the 1980s. Very often, my imagination was about the most exciting thing happening in my life. I identified a lot with Walter Mitty. I’m not a fan of Ben Stiller but he turned that character into something interesting – someone who did get to live life. I think about that sometimes.

I’ve written a personal diary for about 30 years now. I haven’t stopped yet and since I have a shops worth stock of notebooks, I need to do a whole pile more writing. Circling around my head lately has been the idea of travel memoirs. My mother says it’s a tragedy I wasn’t sketchbooking at the time that I was doing what seemed like more exciting travel. I get what she is saying. I documented them with photographs and around the time, with photos. I think I’d prefer sketchbooks too. I have a troubled relationship with all that at the moment. I’m working on fixing it.

Some time during the pandemic lockdowns, I realised that I was very deeply stressed, and doing very little for myself and I was not even finding the time to write my own journal. So I had picked up some A6 notebooks (pretty ones) at some stage and I pulled one out to be a five minute diary. The idea was that I would write into this little notebook for at least 5 minutes; in theory in the morning although that doesn’t always happen. I don’t often forget. I think it’s a habit I’ve had in place for around 3 and a half years now and I’m pretty sure I started this after I moved to Brussels. I also occasionally did a ten minute one at night time; I think I completed about 5 of them and there is one still by my bed that I am not writing in regularly at the moment, mostly because I actually have more time to write in what I call my big journal; the series that has been more or less unbroken since 1992.

I think a lot about writing and reading at the moment. Mostly because the person I am now is not necessarily the person that a 12 year old Treasa envisaged me becoming. I never did write the kids books I wanted to, never wrote the opinion pieces I wanted, nor the adult romantic fiction or indeed the fantasy. More oddly, I’m not reading much fiction (apart from escapist romantic stuff when I can’t sleep). There are a couple of reasons linked to that: a) I read a monumental amount of non-fiction in fits and starts and b) Terry Pratchett died.

I can’t emphasise how much the loss of Pratchett impacted my fiction reading. I don’t think I’ve read Snuff through yet and like a lot of Pratchett fans who have one or two left to go, it’s hard to do it, knowing that that will be it.

For a lot of the period 2003 to now, I blogged in one form or another. I had a long running photoblog as well, and there were variants linked to this domain name as well. In the grand scheme of things, I have been writing all my life, and a good chunk of it I self published. And then I wound up on Twitter for a long time. In a way I miss Twitter as it was and then I think that the loss of it is probably a good thing for me. One of the things that happened to me between having to snatch time to find out what was happening in the world, getting it from Twitter and not watching much television, my attention span shortened. I think this, again, was linked to stress related issues but I do think short form media did not help.

I own a monumental number of notebooks and sketchbooks at the moment. I bought a lot of them during the lockdowns, not so many since but even so, I have lots of them. Not all of them are lined so they will eventually be sketchbooks. I’m back sketching for myself [which means my Instragram followers don’t get to know much about what I am doing] and I am hoping they will get used up. I don’t need to save them for special occasions; I have so many now that it doesn’t seem like they are so special. One or two maybe.

On one of the shelves where I keep “live” notebooks is a sketchbook that was started during the pandemic of places I would like to go. I think the part that makes me most sad (aside from the fact that the sketchbook isn’t finished) is that my expectations of a post covid world were somewhat different to what the post covid world would turn out to be. I think about that sometimes too. How we figured out that if we got the world vaccinated maybe this immense economic and mental health stress would be replaced by something better. It wasn’t really.

I talk about that part with friends, sometimes. It may be a measure of getting old or something else but I’m not alone in thinking that the mental health of the lockdowns at a social level remains to be quantified.

And so, I think of Walter Mitty a lot lately, even the original Thurber persona. We used to talk about how much of the world was a known entity now, and how little exploring there was to be done. My mother would have given anything to see glaciers; I go to Zermatt in Switzerland twice a year and I’ve seen the glaciers in Iceland as well. They are accessible in a way that they weren’t to a woman born in 1930s Ireland. I don’t know what constitutes “adventure” any more.

One of the prices 50 year old women pay for perimenopause is highly frustrating insomnia. I’ve found I can deal with it more effectively if I can wander off in a daydream. I don’t always find them. It’s somewhat not reassuring when I look at the notebooks I tidied today and thought about feeling with imaginary adventures. What adventures?

One of my friends gave me a most excellent notebook for my birthday and it was hidden in my stash to be used for something special. I came across some piece of life advice (instragram is so full of this, it’s not even funny) about making a list of 100 things you want to have done by the time you die and of course, based on when you were making the list, it could include things you have already done; that were on your list. Anything else should be something that you have a realistic shot of making happen.

So I decided to set that book aside for it and will also journal the ones I have done.

The thing about that is that realistically, there are things you don’t know about and then don’t know you want to do…until a moment. It’s like walking into a book shop. I never knew this book existed but now I have to have it.

I’ve had some fantastic opportunities in my life. A lot of adventure is sanitised. Much of what isn’t is not an adventure I’d like to risk. If you asked me whether I would be photographing kitesurfers in Brazil or Western Sahara or at world championships, I would have laughed at you. Things like that don’t happen kids from rural Ireland, not much.

But beside that, I will think about the impossible dreams too, and write them as narratives and see where that brings me.


Treasa Lynch - Sun, 04/14/2024 - 13:52

Yes, I know the sidebar links need to be fixed. WP moved them since I configured them. It’s not obvious yet how to fix. I may need to nuke from space.

The new world of work

Treasa Lynch - Sun, 04/14/2024 - 13:40

I’m tired of the office debate. From what I can see, where the question arises (ie, the work can be done from anywhere), there is an argument for facilitating people within reason. You want to work from home all the time? Hotdesks in the office should you have to come in. You want to work from the office at least 60% of your time? Here’s an office.

How hard can this be? I’ve no objection to people working from home a maximum of time but the person who invented flexible desks (ie, you don’t get a desk assigned to yourself because Flexibility) is a sociopath for those who actually come to the office.

I’m in favour of working from home, fully, partially, never, whatever you’re having yourself. If you want people back at the office, give them desks. If you want them not back at the office, then don’t give them desks or access badges.

Oh well.

Who was this person

Treasa Lynch - Sun, 04/14/2024 - 13:32

I have entries on this site going back to 2012 and to be honest, this site, when it was built, replaced sites that had gone back to 2003 I think. So I have been blogging here or elsewhere the guts of 20 years.

That’s a frightening thought and then I went and read some of the older entries. I’m not sure I recognised myself. What was interesting though were a few entries about decisions I had made.

I’m back in Belgium, and have been for 4 years. I’m disillusioned with most of the social media around me – the recommendations on YouTube are heading for trash, their shorts package I really would like to have the option to not have served to me at all – I’m a Premium subscriber so it would be nice if they allowed me to tune content more effectively. Mostly I see viral content which can only be described as WTF.

But then I’m old. Maybe if I were back in my 30s, I might be more tolerant and I might even be on TikTok. * shrugs *. Anyhow, I have been blogging about my piano journey over on concertoincminor.org and I was thinking about what would replace the Twitter shaped hole on my life. I don’t spend much time in Threads or BlueSky – what’s the point really? If I do social, it tends to be image based. So the thought of coming back to the world of blogging was on my radar. It’s a question of time; I don’t have loads of it and I’m generally quiet tired. I’m also not sure I want to get into 386s on Reddit where the viral content has been getting a bit dire as well. At least, I have learned one thing and it’s that I don’t want cats.

Back in 2012, I still worked in IT operational support in a private sector company. I still lived in Dublin. I was doing an Open University maths degree which a year later I abandoned in favour of a MSc in Computer Science in UCD. I was still taking occasional photographs with a DLSR and spent a chunk of time on beaches. I drove a lot of places.

Since then, I’ve spent 4 years in Luxembourg and almost the same in Belgium. I still don’t own property. I still have very strong opinions, and I still take a dim view of other people’s unkindness but I’m a bit more resilient about it. My Ecridor, and assorted fountain pen collections are out of control and I have a family of toy elks and marmottes which started when I was living alone during Covid. There are Covid entries on this site from the early days.

But I have less certainty about who I am than I had 20 years ago. I’m still shy but also, I questioned whether I could in fact start blogging again. Almost afraid of the risk of doing so. There are so many unkind people in the world now. I don’t even get the worst online bullying.

So, looking back, there’s this person who used to inhabit this body that I am who had photos published in papers in two or three countries, who could stick a camera in people’s faces and they wanted me to do so, who moderated two major forums in Ireland, got nominated for blog awards back in the day, got profiled on TV for photograph (and recognised in a knitting shop for that)…who decided to start part time evening university courses, who was willing to learn anything, who decided to learn how to draw because really, practice was what mattered.

and now it’s not really me. Odd, really.

Time for Factory Reset

Bernie Goldbach - Sat, 03/09/2024 - 07:52

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel

MY ANDROID PHONE needs a factory reset. It's more than five years old, has a cracked screen and a worn charging port, and its battery is well-worn.

I watch it go from being fully charged to less than 10 per cent power in three hours. It feels very warm to touch. I think I have rogue app that's causing a problem so I'm looking at either a factory reset followed by restoring the phone's services from its saved settings in the cloud. I wouldn't mind losing all the images and videos stored in the phone's memory.

Any ideas?

In addition to recommending I keep the phone connected to mains power during my reset procedure, Redditers suggest I screencap my essential screens so I know how I had things set up. I have a "Start" folder containing my essentials.

My Start Folder
  • Gmail
  • Chrome
  • Enpass (paid)
  • LinkedIn (paid)
  • Contacts
  • OneDrive (paid)
  • Instagram (time suck)
  • Calendar
  • Outlook
  • Yahoo Mail
  • TippLive (time suck)
  • Feedly (deleting paid)
  • Flickr (paid)
  • Zoho Campaigns (paid)
  • Bluesky (must map a domain there)
  • Threads
My Front Page
  • Theta because I use the Theta V camera in classes
  • Zoho CRM because I want to connect with actions
  • Messenger because I have its notifications turned off
  • Slack because I have its notifications turned off
  • Teams because I have its notifications turned off
  • Messages
  • Readwise for daily reviews
  • Phone because sometimes I can't see incoming calls on screen
  • Camera to review gallery
  • Obsidian because I sync content
  • Amplenote--must curate and remove
  • Airtable (paid)
  • Bing gets better every week
  • WhatsApp because I have its notifications turned off
  • Notion used in some of my teaching
  • Swarm because I want to remain mayor
  • Perplexity better than Google search
  • Microblog (paid)
  • Kindle (paid content)
  • Instapaper (paid)
  • iA Writer (paid)
  • Stoop Inbox (paid)
My Second Page
  • 3C Android Tools Battery Manager (paid)
  • AZ Screen Recorder (paid)
  • Otter (paid)
  • Samsung Health (because  I want the watch0
  • Marco Polo (paid)
  • Spreaker (paid)
  • Spreaker Studio
  • Device Care

[Bernie Goldbach has owned a Note since they stopped catching fire.]


Positive Mindset & Reframing Tips

Evin O’Keeffe - Tue, 01/30/2024 - 17:42

I’ve gone through a bit of loss and grief the last few years, as have many of us, and it has given me a lot of opportunity for personal growth and reflection. It has also taught me how fortunate I...

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