Recommended reading

Some weeks are just chock-a-block with great blog posts. This is one of them.

Remember Johnny Carson? If you’re older than about 35 you might. If you’re older than 45 you absolutely do. Television writer Ken Levine tells of his one encounter with the man, for those of us who get how much of a cultural force he was in his day. Read My day with Johnny Carson (for those who remember Johnny Carson)

Stephen Dowling polled his readership and as many other film shooters as he could, asking after their favorite film cameras. The results are in, and he is counting the top 50 down. Here, he shares numbers 50 to 11. Read 50 Favourite Film Cameras: 50 to 11 And then he shares numbers 10 to 1. One of my favorite cameras took the #1 spot! Read 50 Favourite Film Cameras: 10 to 1

You’ll probably recognize her face instantly, but you’ll be surprised that you don’t know her name. Mark Evanier tells why her appearances on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson (wait, didn’t we just talk about him above?) were a milestone for women on television. Read Smart-Funny

Have you experienced this on your blog? A reader you’ve never seen before suddenly rapid-fire liking five or six posts and following you? Val Boyko has experienced it a lot lately, and encourages those likers to slow down and enjoy the blogging journey. Read New Bloggers, Blogging and Life

David Heinemeier Hansson, writing for Signal v. Noise, has a blunt take on the ouster this week of Uber’s CEO. In short: the board tolerated the toxicity he created right up until it put the company’s massive profits at risk. Read Uber’s CEO is out because of pressure, not some ethical epiphany from the board

I love film-camera reviews and experience reports! Here’s this week’s crop.


Recommended reading

It’s been a super busy week for me, and I haven’t been following my blogs like I normally do. So it’s a short list of best posts for you this week. Maybe I ought to blog about what I’ve been up to. The biggest thing that takes up my time, after my job, is home repairs and renovations in prep for selling the place. Anyway: my short list of posts for you:

Aaron Renn considers the distribution of top talent, those A players and superstars who can drive significant change and outstanding results. He notices how smaller cities just don’t have as many of them per capita, and how that limits their ability to shine. Read The Shortage of “A” Talent

If you felt a disturbance in the Force, it’s because MAD Magazine is about to move from its home in New York City to Burbank, California. “What?” you say, “MAD Magazine is still being published?” Yes it is. Mark Evanier explains. Read What, He Worry?

This week’s film-camera reviews and experience reports:


Recommended reading

The entire Internet awaits Saturday with bated breath, for it is the day I bring forth with the finest bloggery from the week just concluding.

My friend Christopher Newgent told me this post was coming when we met for drinks a couple weeks ago. That he finally had the words to answer Question Twelve of his 36 Questions. It’s the one where he finally begins to learn that his needs are legitimate and he doesn’t need to apologize for them. He tells the story of why he lost that ability as a boy, thanks to an alcoholic stepdad and a codependent mother. Read Question 12: If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

Our life is an arc, with a beginning and an end. That’s a beautiful thing, says David Heinemeier Hansson, writing for Signal v. Noise. It gives us all we need to both make good use of it and be content in it. Read You are going to die, isn’t it wonderful?

Stewart Pittman is a television news photographer, and he’ll never forget the pain and suffering he’s seen, even when his video didn’t end up getting seen at 6 or 11. Read Specter’s Regret

I hate my 15-mile commute and wish I could figure out how to bike to work, get here at a reasonable time, and not be a sweaty mess. Mr. Money Mustache tells a story of a fellow in Houston — Hotston — who makes a 5+ mile commute on his bicycle every day. Read Houston Attorney Thrives On Doing The Impossible — Daily

Used to be, just a handful of us were reviewing old film cameras on the Internet. Google searches for various cameras turned up the same four or five reviewers all the time. Now lots of people are. Here are the reviews and experience reports I found just this week.


Recommended reading

My weekly roundup of blog posts: a sure sign of higher civilization.

Seth Godin points out that most people want to work with familiar people doing familiar tasks, and be praised for following the rules. He argues that this is why so many workplaces resist change. Perhaps, he wonders, whether we could become familiar with the feelings of the unfamiliar. Perhaps that would allow change. Read In search of familiarity

I never actually saw the photo of our President’s severed head (in effigy) that features comedian Kathy Griffin. Thank heavens. But Scott Adams has an interesting take on it: how your reaction to the photo reveals which movie of the United States of America you are currently watching. There are two, and they aren’t related. Read The Kathy Griffin Controversy

Stephen Dowling has slowly been cataloging all the films still available to film photographers, and he’s issued Part 2 of his list. Read All the 35mm films you can still buy: Part 2 – Fuji to JCH Streetpan 400

I work in the software industry, albeit in the Silicon Cornfield of Indiana, not the Silicon Valley of California. I don’t see the traits and behaviors here Aaron Renn calls out as endemic of Silicon Valley. And he paints an unflattering picture of those traits. Read The Silicon Valley Mindset

This week’s film-camera reviews:


Frustrating experience with WordAds

This blog has been in the WordAds program for nine months now, which is why you see one or two little ads at the bottom of each of my posts. I signed up to help offset the costs of running this blog, as I explained when I joined the program.

This remains a personal blog, not a bigtime commercial enterprise. I feared that if I crammed the place with ads, or if the ads were abusive (popovers, slide-ins, videos that play automatically, and the like) it would drive you away.

wordadsWordAds promised one little static ad placement at the bottom of each post. That sounded perfect. It wouldn’t generate much income (I’ve earned about 50 bucks so far), but it would protect your experience here.

It turns out I’ve had little control over ad placements and behaviors, despite the WordAds site’s original promises to the contrary. And the ads have been buggy. It’s been frustrating and occasionally infuriating. I’m losing patience with it, and if the challenges continue I’m likely to withdraw from the program.

WordAds worked as promised for a while. There were a couple strange issues: empty ad boxes, or a database error appearing instead of an ad. I dutifully reported those bugs to WordAds Support.

And then one day a second ad appeared next to the first. I inquired of support. They explained that the program didn’t actually specify the number of ads that would appear. What? I went back to the WordAds site to check, and it had been redesigned with new copy that mentioned nothing about a single ad placement. I was sure the site had been very clear about that! I felt gaslighted.

And then a large video ad appeared below the two static-ad boxes. After processing some unhappiness over how the ad pushed the comments section so far down the page, I decided to let it ride because I figured it would increase my earnings. But soon a reader contacted me to say that the video sometimes automatically played, and while he enjoys my blog, if that continued he would reluctantly stop visiting.

That’s ad abuse, and I wasn’t going to have it. I contacted support again. The support tech explained that WordAds uses dozens of ad partners. Reading between the lines, I guessed that they just pass ads through from those partners, and don’t themselves have full control of them. The WordAds software probably limits some forms of ad abuse, but an ad partner who codes around it can get by it. The WordAds team finds out only when users complain. In the end, they were not able to fix it. They offered to manually disable those video ads on my blog, and I took them right up on it.

And then the two static ad boxes started occasionally showing video. It was strange stuff: tourist scenes from Morocco, men riding lawn mowers around a field. Text at the bottom said “your ad will play in a moment” but no ad ever played. And occasionally the audio would play for a second or two, and then silence for several minutes, and then play for a second or two again. The only way to stop it is to reload the page to get new ads. I didn’t bother to report this to support. Through writing and previewing posts, I visit my blog far more than anyone, and I see this only infrequently, so I figured you probably never saw it. And conditions you can’t reproduce at will are nearly impossible to troubleshoot. And, well, a man does grow weary of support chats.

But then a couple weeks ago a banner ad appeared at the top of my blog. This infuriated me. Not only did this go against the promises I believed had been made when I signed up for the program, the ad pushed the masthead way down the page. It looked like crap. I immediately contacted support and was clear and firm: this was unacceptable. They explained that ad placement is automatic, that they have no control over where ads appear. I explained that this didn’t even match the behavior their own Web site describes: that this particular placement was supposed to be controlled by a setting on my WordAds dashboard, and I had that setting turned off. Long story short, support manually turned off the banner ads. They do have control after all, glory be.

All I wanted was to have a quiet ad placement on my blog and make a few nickels. Instead, I got a comedy of broken expectations and time lost in support chats. My patience with this is about exhausted. What keeps me hanging on is that WordAds pays only in $100 increments, and I’m only about halfway there. But one more infuriating unexpected ad placement and I’m walking.

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Recommended reading

Blah blah blah blog posts from this week.

No prejudice is ever the “last acceptable prejudice,” because no prejudice is acceptable. So argues, and argues well, Emily Sullivan SanfordRead Never Call Something The Last Acceptable Prejudice

David Heinemeier Hansson (writing for Signal v. Noise) has an axe to grind about typical corporate America and its inherent paranoia. It’s really a way of promoting the way he runs his software company, Basecamp, as what he calls a “calm company.” Read Paranoia won’t save you in the end

This week’s film camera reviews: