Tag Archives: Instagram

How I Need the Internet to Go “Off the Grid”

In keeping with tradition, last month I booked some time off for some rest and relaxation from the office and to take in the festivities of the Eurovision Song Contest, from the comfort of my couch here in Canada. For what seems like ten years now, Eurovision has been the focal point of my version of “spring break”.

The first few days of my time off consisted of jotting down some blog ideas floating around in my grey matter and puttering around the house, getting chores done. With those out of the way, when Eurovision came on, I could truly let myself get swallowed up by my sofa, pillow, blanket and cat, and to completely disconnect from the world.

That is… until I woke up Tuesday morning to find I was already disconnected from the world.

No Internet service!

After a series of attempts over two days to restore my Internet service over the phone, with the assistance of cheerful client service representatives, it finally took a site visit from a technician on Thursday to get everything fixed up.

Once I was on the couch, with pillow, blanket and cat, watching the Eurovision semi-final #2, my cares completely melted away with each passing costume change, wind machine, and key change.
The next day, I watched semi-final #1, and on the Saturday, I watched the finals live with the other 204 million viewers around the world. Everything seemed right with the universe again.
But those few days I was without Internet, I surprised myself at my dependence on it. How do people actually go off-the-grid anymore? Continue reading

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How Nature Photography Might Get Me to Appreciate Winter

I admit it… I like the great indoors and my creature comforts. When the weather outside is frightful, especially in winter, I can’t think of anything better than staying inside, cozying up with a pillow and a blanket on the couch, listening to great music, reading a good book, watching a fun movie or even getting a few crazy story ideas committed to paper. To me that’s heaven on a cold, blustery winter day… or pretty much any winter day, actually.

However, it seems that through my renewed love of photography and my commitment to keeping the Instagram account freshly updated, something changed. After the first snowfall of the season here in Ottawa, I suddenly found myself meandering outdoors, chasing after the ever elusive nature shots. How did that happen?

Let’s be perfectly clear. I might not be inclined to spend more time outdoors than I have to on a blustery, stormy day. That would be pure silliness. That is when I will invoke the aforementioned “creature comforts” clause.

But after the storm has passed and the pathways have been cleared, it might be a different story. I am definitely warming up to the idea of getting out on a crisp, sunny day, and wandering out in the winter wonderland to take shots of the birds that didn’t fly south or the squirrels still running around gathering food.
Squirrel

I admit, a fresh, clean blanket of snow can lend itself to a certain beauty and majesty not found in other seasons. When snow crystals glitter in the sunlight, it can have a magical effect. To capture it in a photo might be my “thrill of the hunt” challenge this coming winter. Continue reading

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Instagram: For Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

InstagramMy social media journey had been an incubator of trial and error experiences, striving to see what catches on, what doesn’t, and hopefully figuring out the common denominator. For me, Instagram was the toughest to figure out.

You could say my first exposure to social media was email, which I have been doing since the time that my hair was almost as high as the C.N. Tower. I then launched my own web site in 1999, “The Spin on Life at 33 1/3”, a blog before blogs became popular, which lasted a couple of years. My next steps were Facebook and Twitter, which I figured out pretty quickly. Then of course came my blog, “It’s the Journey” on WordPress.

In my blog post “Blogging… More Than Words”, I explained how that venture into blogging led me to the epiphany and serendipity of rediscovering photography, a hobby I enjoyed since I was very young, to incorporate a visual to help draw viewers to my blog, whether through Facebook, Twitter, Google + or WordPress.

But Instagram remained a bit of a mystery to me. What pictures should I post?

At first, I tried using it as an extension to Facebook, posting random pictures and comments. Before I knew it, I was posting the same thing on two platforms, to essentially the same group of friends. That was a bit of a fail.

I then tried emulating some of the people whose Instagram accounts I liked and enjoyed. In doing so, I posted pictures of the occasional travel picture, plates of food that looked too good to eat, new CDs, new colourful socks, new shoes, pictures to promote my blog and random selfies. Then, as of last year, I posted pictures of Ivy the Wonder Cat. My Instagram account was all over the map.

Was it any wonder that my likes were low and attracting new followers wasn’t really happening. Frankly, when I stepped back and looked at it objectively, I didn’t like my account much either.

But it was in the process of taking pictures for the blog that something recently clicked… metaphorically speaking. Continue reading

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Technology 3, Andre 0

Window ControlsNot that long ago, I used to be that guy that people went to when they needed help with their computers, printers, cell phones and FAX machines.

Hmm… if FAX machines are in the equation, maybe it was two decades ago, but in the grand scheme of things it feels like it was just yesterday.

Back in those days, it was a delight to be able to play with the faulty object in question, push a few buttons, pretend that I knew that I was doing, and before you could say “control-alt-delete”, I seemed able to fix things without even breaking a sweat, to the delight of family, friends and co-workers.

Even though I never really had any formal training, I seemed to have a knack for fixing small appliances too without setting fire to anything or ending up with a handful of leftover parts after reassembling. I don’t know where it came from, but I am certainly grateful.

Sadly, the only thing I wasn’t able to figure out and explain to my Grandmother was my Granddad’s universal remote after he passed away. That one remains a mystery to this day.

But over time, something happened. As technology evolved and became smarter (with fewer moving and serviceable parts) it seems my superpower in fixing appliances suddenly needed fixing itself.

And then you have weeks like this one, where I waved the white flag in defeat as technology in its infinite simplicity beat me into submission. Continue reading

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