I am in the process of revising my blogs as I have decided to change from using Flickr as the repository for my photos to Smugmug. Flickr is no longer a Yahoo product and it is now owned by Smugmug. I could have stayed with Flickr, but I feel that the Smugmug product is a better one with its catalog and presentation offerings. It seems that there is no effort to improve the Flickr offering so I’ve made the decision to move across. It is irritating that companies often rest on their laurels feeding off the fat rather than reinvest to improve and it is no wonder younger upstarts shake the industry.
It takes hours to write blogs, and I now have quite a volume of postings so changing to Smugmug for the photo repository was no easy decision. It may be the wrong one – I do not know. Perhaps I should have used the Google Drive as the source, but then the argument is that I have no flexibility to move out of Google should the need arise. I did toy with the idea of using WordPress and my own self hosted resource as instead of Google Blogger, but there are features in Blogger that I prefer over WordPress. I cannot win !
To give an idea on the amount of time involved to do a blog we have the following considerations:
- Post photos to SmugMug.
If the photos are ready to go and you upload say 200 photos perhaps an hour. Scanning photos and sorting them out will blow out a day or many more.
- Sort photos into an album for public viewing.
For 200 photos, there may be 20 that are useful for public viewing. I don’t edit the photos other than the odd crop or rotation. Culling and creating an album allow another hour or two.
- Write the blog
The update and revision process will still involve these steps with the difference that the photos and perhaps some reformatting might occur instead of a fresh writing exercise.
When I first wrote a blog it took me hours to write and research all the details. I am now in a process of refining a common look and feel which has been applied. To date the template I am happy with has been applied to the blogs years 1990 to 2008 representing 32 blog entries. I still have another 11 years to go with 187 posts. Using this template has improved the speed of blog creation, given a common look and feel and I think improved the readability and appeal.
My “Adventure” blog template is as follows
- Brief paragraph of what I have done
- Photograph illustrating highlight of the trip
- Content which is typically a small paragraph then photo.
- Details of accommodation, itinerary, references
- Blog references to Smugmug albums, previous and next blog entry and table of contents (held in WordPress).
- Smugmug slide show with all photos I have chosen to display relevant to the blog.
Looking at my blog Arm River Track to Cynthia Bay, Tasmania trek. It was written based on some hand written notes I made during the walk (a great idea by the way). It is close to the template format described. The revision process took around 3 hours (maybe more, I didn’t set the stop watch) , mostly because of the photo upload and sorting process. I also corrected some errors etc. I often miss words, paragraphs and construct sentences in a confusing way so it is a good time to do a bit of editing. 187 posts wow, I did not know that until just now. Even if I could get the update process to 1 hour per post I am looking at 8 x 24 hour days to finish. Hmm: I might keep Flickr for another year or two !
Why do I bother ? Well, it is fun, better than sitting in front of the ‘idiot box’ watching some stupid advert riddled shoot and kill everyone or now you should laugh show. It also:
- Adds value to all those photos I take, where instead they languish in a cupboard or on a hard drive. I have uploaded over 30000 pictures and there are still more. Do I look at them ? – not really.
- Provides a nice memoir as I seemingly accelerate towards the ‘senior’ age.
- Inspires me for the next adventure.
- Inspires others for their adventure.
I must have the most expensive give you nothing credit card on the planet (Mastercard Diamond CBA) it costs me $249 per year to have and it gives me points I never use, insurance I never seem to be able to use and charges 3% on foreign transactions. Why haven’t I changed it? Well, it is a pain in the proverbial to set bank accounts and cards up these days and I just haven’t got around to it.
On the weekend I made a momentous move and gripped my teeth spending Sunday setting up some better money handling facilities. What did I get ?
- HSBC global account
This is a debit account that allows you to store money in several currencies. Handy to play the currency game especially these days with the southern plunge that the Aussie dollar is taking.
- HSBC Visa platinum credit card
no annual fees if you spend more than $6000 and two free business lounge passes.
- BankWest Zero Mastercard
no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees – I save 3% on my current card on that one !
1) I have just come back from my trip to Canada (August 2019). HSBC stopped transactions on many occasions especially when moving from Canada to USA and back. It was driving me nuts, despite me informing them of my travel intentions. Luckily I still had my CBA mastercard. The Visa Debit (global account) is useless for hiring cars, to protect yourself here have a low limit credit card and cancel it if things go awry – that is you are victim and not the offender.
2) BankWest were slow on approving my credit card so I cannot report on how well I went on its use. (20 days versus 3 for HSBC).
3) Hold on to that mobile phone. Banks these days make confirmations via the mobile phone. Change the SIM for a local provider they treat it as a suspicious move. I have a dual SIM phone but failed to place the Australian SIM in the second slot so no confirmations were received. I did not have a SIM extracting pin, nor was I in the city to get one so I could not remedy the issue other than by long expensive discussion over the phone.
I would have liked to use a Forex account to save further but it has limited use and risky as you need to transfer to the vendor’s bank account. (trust relationship, at least credit cards can be disputed).
I did my research using https://www.finder.com.au/credit-cards/best-credit-cards and https://www.creditcard.com.au .
There is an old adage – if you want to get something done, ask a busy person.
A lot of people seem to think I have a lot of free time given the adventures I do and write about. I probably have a lot less time than most. Running a business is a major consumer of time, daily family commitments eats time. The way I look at is that one needs to budget one’s time and make the most of it.
In any one year there is 52 weekends, around a dozen public holidays and 20 days of leave if you are an Australian worker. That makes for 136 days of recreation time. I get no where near that. There is things like household chores – shopping, cleaning, maintenance and rest required: but these can be reduced by outsourcing or changing the action dates/time to a non-weekend.
One of the important things to do is to avoid getting caught up in work and mundane chores, sure they are a necessity but as the saying goes work-life-balance. I hear on the news how x person is finding it tough to meet mortgage commitments and working a quadrillion hours – why ? Ok those reasons can be many, I was in the lowest income bracket for many years, it is hard. whilst in my 20s, the thing I learnt early after having a terrible crash driving home from the steelworks after a double shift was that it is not worth it ! The best thing that happened to me was the closure of the steelworks, move out of the area, a different job and focus away from earning enough money to buy a house. No more long hours of commuting and slave to work. I lived. (still saved but avoided the slaved..)
The long hours lesson was not learned that early though. I made another error when starting my first business – I think many of us do – spending an inordinate amount of time in it rather than on it, a new family to boot. That business nearly, well it failed as poor credit management and the recession in the 1990s crippled it – those hours meant damage to health and loss of life opportunity at a peak special time in one’s life.
So the sage advice – plan and implement life, make it an adventure for what is available. Time is there to live as well as work and the balance on the former. The trouble is society likes it the other way round at 5 days a week and 8 hours during daylight hours and most of us won’t get life until it is time to retire: something the Government is pushing hard to extend the date of.
There you go – 136 days, and there is a couple of hours before and after work (if you don’t commute).