Insta-ntly Persuaded

Well, add more account I have to maintain. For now anyways.

This year has been the year where people keep asking me “When are you going to get Instagram?” Haunted, I might as well do it and give it a shot. Then if anyone starts copying my content, I might just delete it and let it be.

I’ve held off getting an account because I have an invested interested in my talents. I like my work but I don’t want to work in an contractual confines that would stop me from developing. In this case I would have create photos on a smaller scale, closer to cell phone screen size when I have over 3000 pixels to work with. On a screen like an iPhone, details aren’t distinct and broad shapes and colours are the only thing that captivates. Until 500px which I’ve done well for myself, I liked to create confines to challenge. An example is choosing 7 photos a week for the 500px website. It doesn’t feel like it’s a popularity contest where the best looking or the best trend wins the day. Thus why I feel Snapchat and Instagram feel more like social media platforms than a pedestal to put my work out there. Everything is temporary unless it’s exhilarating to the mass body. For me, it’s no different than Twitter besides being a visually centred social media platform.

Also it’s an entirely mobile platform! As a camera user, I can’t do anything about that besides taking photos of photos. Of course, there’s a round about way in Chrome to use it on PC. However I can’t upload from my PC but I can view. Really discourages anyone but a cellphone to use a platform like that.

Artistically when you want to make money, you have to sell something about you to really open it up to the world. This isn’t something I approve but I am trying to build my amateur skill to a professional level.

Even if putting @nawkcire on Instagram and saying it’s moving forward.

 

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Radio Is Dead

I’m starting to see why people dislike radio nowadays. I don’t think the internet is the problem.

Locally according to my new MP3 player, a SanDisk Clip Sport, I have about 20 stations playing music. Not just pop music but a bit of a cultural mix aside from the occasional talk shows. However most of the stations do play top 40’s from the present or yesteryear. Which is the realization, I remember back in the day there were hardly any new top 40’s. Now it seems like there’s a hit every few months or so.

Back in the day for you to discover new music, you had to listen to the radio or from background music at a store. Then you would just have to buy the CD or a cassette (if you’re as old as me). Different to now, where you can discover music through an endless stream. Then you just buy the single or the album – digitally. In a way, radio is playing catch up and playing more of sports recap of all the best music that has graced people’s ear. Then depending on your country, they have to abide with  censorship laws. So songs with profanity are edited for radio or it won’t be played. It’s unfortunate because some songs are great with the profanity. There is an upside to this.

Most of the tunes chosen by the DJ are usually great to listen most of the time. Though in the recent trends, the new urban hip-hop and R&B is kind of producing lacklustre songs. Catchy yes, but you can get sick of it so quick.

With all it’s flaws, I don’t think radio would go away. In it’s limited way, it’s an amazing free way to listen to some good music. Even as diluted as it is, you can always have  chance to discover a new song. Here, we have an indie station and usually it’s  hit or miss because it’s all music I’ve never heard of but that’s a classic trait about radio.

I’ll still listen to the airwaves but I’ll be station surfing.

Google Map Reviews

It’s been awhile that I signed up as a Google Guide, a service that allows you to participate in editing and reviewing locations on Google Maps. Recently (though I don’t want to brag) I reached by 100th review and I’ve seen some good and bad reviews.

Full disclosure of how I rate and review, Google uses a 5 star system. With it, I base all ratings on the following:

  1. Does the place physically exist? Kind of mandatory for most of the places I’ve been.
  2. How’s the customer service? How was my personal experience?
  3. How was the services and products offered? Were they everything I expected?
  4. How does the physical location look? Optionally, how’s the washrooms?

I don’t usually offer a 5 star rating which means from me, 4 stars is the most. However 5 stars just indicates I’ve had an exemplary time and experience. Meaning 2 through 4 were exceptionally greater than the places I’ve been. This is fairly hard since a lot of restaurants and shops provide the same amount of service and usually meets a pseudo-standard which seems professional but accommodating.

In terms of a written review, it follows a personal standard. First beginning with a preamble about the general location, nothing bias here. Then I move on to atmosphere of the place, products and services, then customer service. Along with it, I put down anything I’ve observed to be interesting to me and the last paragraph is for if I want to recommend this place or if I would visit again.

It’s likely not the best way to be labelled as a useful review however I’ve seen some really ridiculous reviews on there with a bunch of users saying they found it useful. On Steam it’s the same thing but that’s another story. Usually these reviews have no content besides from a star rating and the phrase “not bad”, “great”, or “would visit again”. If I was a stranger, I would like to know why people enjoy this place and something to really be convinced on going. The idea of a review is not to just let people know what’s going on here but to provide people a reason to go there or should not even bother. I know some people can be extremely critical (some of my reviews sound like that as well) but the idea is to be honest to provide feedback to a place while giving something a potential customer needs to go there.

Regardless I found a lot of places over Google Maps because reviewers have provided some good feedback. Then there are places with those 2 word reviews that turn me away because I don’t feel like going there. With a lot of users, I think Google should extend this Guide program to products. Perhaps a joint product review with Amazon but the Guide program does offer a somewhat credible system for folks.

Four out of five, will review again.

A selfie is not a self portrait…

Sure this topic isn’t hip any more but when the term “selfie” came around to pop culture, there were a lot of opinion writers.

At the gallery there is a fantastic painting of an artist painting themselves as they’re painting themselves. It’s kind of interesting to step closer and seeing the detail into the scene within the painting. Even with their back turned, it’s a very interesting self-portrait. Fast forward to the digital age of the late 2000’s and 2010’s, the “selfie” is a self portraiture; usually associated with a cell phone and a mirror. I have to admit looking at the comparison between this piece in the gallery and everyone’s Instagram (I don’t have one but I like to peak at others), we’ve come so far that I feel the concept of a self-portrait has degenerated. It’s one thing to make the “I was here” statement when you want to selfie  in the moment but when people stage selfies, I do feel it’s a bit self-absorbed.

In a recent walk to witness the Sakura blooms, I saw a lot of selfie sticks. A lot. Enough to really conclude people are really selfish to really equate to those people who take chunks of the tree for themselves or those who disobey signs to get the right selfie. I really don’t think a jpeg from a cellphone could really out compete with a RAW file from a DSLR or even a png/tiff image from a point and shoot. I regardless, a $100 point and shoot will have a timer function. Meanwhile I’ve seen people reaching out to a stranger for a photo. I, for a few times, was the stranger. I usually do my best to take the photo. I quite understand to entrust someone of your phone when you’re so shy to ask. That’s obvious but there are some very outgoing people that apparent don’t have time to get a photographer as a friend.

I do find in modernity, the self-portrait has become more abuse of an artistic craft to a social media eye sore. And for those who rarely take them; rare being once in many month, then I think you are more observant of the world than looking for a narcissistic reward.

Mental Health

This is one thing I have to be mindful of when I live my life. I take pills, apply therapy techniques and do my best to live my life. With the recent going-on’s in Toronto, I feel like underlying issue is left ignored.

During times like this when an incident on this scale happens, people get immediately angry and resentful. Myself included when I first heard the news, I was shocked and wanted nothing more for the suspect to serve his life behind bars. It is unfortunate knowing I walk the same streets and at any time, someone like this person would get behind the wheel and commit murder on this scale. Knowing one of those pedestrians can be anyone regardless of age, race and gender, it disturbs me to think I could be one of those unnamed and soon forgotten by the public.

Life – a fragile thing. Not only in preservation, but in keeping all the smaller things in perspective. Things like emotion, stability and clarity. To feel without overstepping while taking a stride with meaning without being led by emotions. Which is kind of why I’m brought to write this week’s post (though it feels I do this more bi-weekly).

The real question when crimes like this occur, I ask myself “What’s really going on here?” A lot of people focus solely on a person then blame a niche outside the norm. It’s equivocal if a hipster committed genocide because carnivores are destroying the Earth and veganism is the way to go. The way I see it, crime is a social issue. The question from “What this person has done?” to “Where did we go wrong?” Channelling the proverb “it takes a village” does reflect what happened and what has changed. From the restraint for the officer ending the situation non-violently to the tolerance to not accuse the suspect for terrorism right off the bat. We’re changing but there is niche groups that are still victimized because of radicalized individuals. It is sad people died because we live in a society still dictated by a toxic masculine point of view which objectifies men as much as it does for women. In a sense the recent pro-female movement has weaponized feminism into hating men than raising an equal society. This mirrors much of the recent movements started with good intentions and lead by those radicalized by them. Dissidence is important for a democratic society but the values we pass on must be of those of tolerance and critical thinking. To be objective and to ask questions beyond what we know to get a bigger picture.

If we can at least achieve this, perhaps things like this wouldn’t necessarily happen.

NIMBY

First time I ever heard of this acronym was in Cities: Skylines. In the game, this is a policy you can enact to prevent loud noise at night. In reality this is much more as a phrase for anyone who opposes a service within their neighbourhood.

Living in the big city, whether people say it or not, has become a bit of an oxymoron. Here homelessness and public transit are the top two people like to address but don’t necessarily want to physically change.

The transit system here is fairly archaic, most of the system was developed in the 60’s. With a sprawling city without an upgraded transit system, it has been crowded. So now with old stations being updated, a lot of people are really against the stations from expanding to accommodate more routes or making it more accessible. With a lot of people throwing opinions and hate for every plan, I doubt any meaningful progress so far.

The homeless issue is a bunch of sociological problems; drugs, shelter, food, safety. A lot of local NGO’s  try to keep these people alive while the city tries to find ways to bring these people back into society. The biggest problem especially in winter is shelter. Recently, my local city wants to open a new shelter near my neighbourhood. However Once that hit the news, everyone went ape about not wanting it near them. That goes the same with safe injection sites. I understand both sides of the stories and I honestly don’t know who’s in the right because both arguments are valid.

“No In My BackYard” has become something I want to avoid personally. It’s a phrase that doesn’t progress an issue and usually throws an issue to someone else.

Camera Phone “Lenses”

I spend a lot in camera stores than I should. Even in electronic stores, I’ve seen these blister packed or boxed lens kits for camera phones.

Looking at them, I do feel a bit aggravated in the obvious attempt to pander to consumers. Most of the time, the lenses are designed for one particular phone. Phones do become obsolete after a year or two while actual cameras last for a while. Before I bought my camera, it’s been out for quite a while. I’ve see a bunch of absurd accessories on this side of the decade, it’s not the most dumbest accessory (Cough cough, the circle “handle” thing for selfies).

I’m still on the fence about these attachments to a phone. People buy phones more than camera, people sometimes change preference on the operating system or brands. I know for sure, I would change phones if there’s one that would benefit me for cheap (and if I have to renew my contract). So these “lenses” seem to be built around a gimmick to make everything look as good with a camera phone without a camera. I would prefer a camera or the camera phone any day for imaging. However the camera phone make sharing an instant photo quicker. In a way much to be the digital equal to the instant film camera.

Don’t make them, don’t buy them. Save up to 50 bucks and use the money to get something else…or a camera itself.