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I Guess I’m Back

i guess i'm back

I think the great Twitter / X / Medium / whatever experiment is over. I’ve devoted a lot of time and energy to those places and what is there to show for it, really? Not much.

In the case of something like Twitter / X it was nice to meet a few people and nice to engage in some conversations . . . until it wasn’t. Now, well, let’s just say shithole doesn’t really begin to describe it. I do feel bad about it, though. I do. It was sorta nice while it lasted.

As far as Medium, Substack (which has other issues) and sites of that nature, I think I’m done with them too. I wanted to like/thrive at Medium and I did write some articles there. In the end, though, it’s still a place controlled by others and could, on what may be just a billionaire’s whim, turn into another shithole. Or worse.

So, enough if that shit.

I really think I should just concentrate what little time/effort/patience/talent I have on this blog. After all, it’s been with me since 2004 and unless I totally fuck something up (not out of the question) it should be here until they pry it from my cold, dead hands. Comforting thought, that.

So that’s it.

People keep asking if I’m back. Yeah, I guess I’m back.



Image: Lionsgate

Going Medium to Get Large

Hello friends. It’s that time. I’ve finally made a decision.

I’m going to be shifting my writing focus over to Medium for the time being. What does that mean? I won’t be writing anything new here. Instead, I’ll be ranting, raving and otherwise smacking the keys over at Medium.

Why, you may wonder? It’s a long story but let’s just say I’m trying to simplify my life, write more and potentially expand my audience. I think Medium has the best chance of helping me do those things.

So, if you enjoy my musings, please go to my Medium site and continue to enjoy. And tell a friend.

Thanks for a great time. I really appreciate you hangin with me all these years. I’ll see you on the other side.

Until then, try to be kind to each other.

Trying Something New at

By now many people who care are either outraged or happy Elon Musk is (probably) buying Twitter. There’s also some people who land in the middle.

Those people are concerned about what might happen but not enough to leave Twitter in protest. Instead, preferring to stay and get into some “good trouble.” For the moment, I’m in that camp.

But even if I do stay on Twitter, I’m also exploring other options. That brings me to

It’s like Twitter in some ways but different in others. To really know what I’m talking about, you should probably just check it out for yourself. If you want to follow me over there, I’m @ChrisU

I also bring this up because I’m going to let start cross-posting to this blog. It’s a test to see if it’s more useful than annoying. I guess we’ll see.

(Update: Well, I guess I’m a bit dumb. Turns out I can post to from here but not, as yet, the other way around. So yeah, you won’t be seeing anything from on here until they work out how to do it. As you were.)

So, (don’t) expect frequent short posts on here in addition to the longer ones that appear, well, not as often as I’d like. I know, I know. I’m working on it.

That’s it for now. Try to be kind to each other. We need it now more than ever.

More Useful and Interesting Things

galaga-bad-guys -1

It’s the weekend so many of you are probably out doing weekend-type things. Good for you. Enjoy yourselves.

In the interest of enjoyment, or in some cases entertainment or information to enhance your lives, here’s another list of useful and/or interesting things I’ve found this week.

• I don’t know about you, but I loved arcades as a kid. In fact, I worked in one for almost a year while I was in High School. Games like Asteroids, Missile Command, Galaga and Pac-Man helped shape my childhood. It also cost me a hell of a lot of quarters.

But that’s okay, it was great fun and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Sadly, it seems future generations may not have the same opportunity for fun as I did. The Verge spells out the situation in a must-read article for anyone who loved these places as a kid.

• Once again the folks at Lifehacker come through with some good info. This time it’s what to do before and after a disaster.

• Do you blog? Do you have an iPhone or other iOS device? If so, you may want to check out this great piece of software called Poster. I’m trying it out now and so far, I like it. You might like it too.

• Tired of paying through the nose (or other orifice) for a wireless plan and smartphone? If so, you might want to check out Republic Wireless. It’s a very interesting approach and something I’m going to be looking into in more detail soon.

That’s it for now. Once again, enjoy your weekend. I know I will.

Blogging from the iPad (Again)

This post will test my ability to post something from the iPad using Google Chrome. So far, so good. I can open a draft in Chrome and the UI looks pretty much as it does on my Mac. Let’s see if I can include a picture. (Sound of gears grinding).

Well, posting from within Chrome, and including a picture, is a bit of a pain. Would it be so hard to have a way to insert pictures from the photo library on the iPad? And no, there’s no way to cut and paste, at least not that I’ve found. Not into a Chrome window at least.

I guess Apple doesn’t like that idea. They probably don’t want a “full” file system in iOS. That’s what Mac OS X and Macs are for.

Anyway, on to other methods like Blogsy. I’ve tried this tool before with some success. I haven’t tried the latest version yet, so here goes.

After getting all my info set up in Blogsy I was able to get a picture from the photo library on the iPad uploaded to this site and inserted into this post. It’s the dragon pic above. Scary, right?

So far, it looks like Blogsy is the winner. The UI is a bit confusing and has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy to use. Not as easy as using Chrome on Mac OS X, but it may just be good enough for my purposes.

That is, unless I’m in a hurry to post something. Then, we may have a problem as thre steps are a bit time consuming. This is especially so if you’re looking for an image online to use in a post. You need to find it, save it to the photo library and if editing or resizing is necessary, use yet another iOS app to do the resize and crop, then bring it back into Blogsy to upload to your site for the post.

The resize/crop app I’m using at the moment is iResize, which seems to do the job pretty well. I guess you could always resize an image once you get it uploaded to your site but that’s not really the best way to go about it. Plus, cropping is out of the question if you do that. So, an additional resize/crop app seems like a must.

So, for the moment, it looks like Blogsy is the winner. I’m going to look into some other apps and workflows to see if I can improve my time to post and ease of use. Still, for normal blogging this setup works pretty well.


Ups and Downs

Well, so much for the great “let’s post my Instagram photos to my blog automagically” experiment. If you’ve been following this site the last couple days, you know it went horribly wrong and resulted in lots of the same thing being posted over and over again.

Not good. Made even more not good by the fact that this site is setup to automatically update my Twitter with new posts and that’s set to automatically post to my Facebook. Not good times a hundred thousand.

So, that meant a lot of extraneous posts and a whole slew of bullshit I needed to deal with today in addition to the ever increasing pile I already have allotted to me. But I’m not unhappy.

However, to read this site or my Twitter or Facebook you might get the impression I’m disgruntled, angry or otherwise unhappy. Not at all.

In fact, I’m not disgruntled, rarely angry and thousands of miles away from unhappy. Just ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Welcome back. I tend to go the opposite direction of angry and in most cases, I just keep on being happy. I’m not saying I never feel down or sad, I do. Everyone does. Well, most everyone anyway. Probably not sociopaths. But they’re just weird.

Anyway, the truth is for a vast majority of the time I feel happy and I think life is pretty good. It has some ups and downs, sure, but to me that’s what makes it interesting.

Of course, I say this as an educated, white male living well above the poverty line in a city with great weather, great people and with a lot of opportunities for work, fun and to live life to the fullest. Yes, luck may be a factor too.

However, even with a lot of luck you still need to do something with the opportunities presented to you. You can’t just sit back and expect the world to come to you. It doesn’t work that way and at some point, if you’re still waiting, eventually you’re going to be disappointed.

The trick is to get out there and do something before that happens. That’s why I make sure I’m as busy as possible doing a variety of things that a love. I don’t want to look back later at my life and be an old man filled with regret (apologies to Christopher Nolan for cribbing that line).

That’s what helps me stay happy. It might not work for you but hell, it’s worth a try, right?

Let me know how it goes.

Keyboard Considerations


I’ve been trying to use just the iPad 2 for a few days to do my writing work and I came to the conclusion that I need a keyboard. That’s not to say that typing directly on the iPad 2 wouldn’t work for most people, or for me under different circumstances, it’s just that right now my fingers are a bit sore and it’s time to explore other options.

Fortunately, I already have a solution. I’ve dropped some hard earned cash on a keyboard case and stand combo from Incase. It’s called the Origami Workstation and it features a place to hold your Apple Wireless Keyboard (I already had one of from a previous experiment) and to hold you iPad or iPad 2 either vertically or horizontally. I usually pick horozontal, just in case you were wondering.

With the iPad 2 and keyboard in place things have gotten much easier on my hands and fingers. Yes, I realize having to bring a keyboard with you begs the question as to why I don’t just use the MacBook Air. That’s a valid question and one I could answer by just saying I just don’t want to.  
The truth is I’m not just doing this just for me. I’m doing it for you. For those of you who want to know if you can get along and get work done with just an iPad 2 and that’s it. The answer is, so far, yes you can — unless you have a problem like I do. In that case you need to make some adjustments. 
Problem or not, the iPad 2 is especially useful if you’re a writer, or some other type of creative person, who’s job it is to put words in a certain order and upload, print or otherwise share them with people. It really is a great tool.  
It’s likely if my hands were a bit younger and I haden’t spent the last ten or more years pounding keys I would have gotten away without using an external keyboard. Sadly, I can’t. You might be able to, however. And you should try. It makes the idea you can bring a small device like the iPad 2 with you, and that’s all you really need, that much cooler. 
My needing to use a keyboard doesn’t change the fact that the iPad is a great writing tool and so far has proven to be very useful in my everyday work. Now to get back to it. I’ll let you know how it’s going, don’t worry.

The Great-ish Writing Experiment


I think in the spirit of trying to make things work, and also challenging myself a bit, I’m going to try to use the iPad 2 as a writing/blogging tool as often as I can. Let this post serve as the first-ish example of that.  
I say -ish because I’ve already done at least one or two with the iPad 2, but that was before. Now, I’m going to take it more seriously and consider it more of an experiment, or test , then I did before.  
One of the first questions to ask when embarking on a journey such as this is do I use the built-in keyboard on the iPad 2 or do I use an external one? It’s an important question because, to be honest, my fingers do get kinda sore when using just the iPad 2’s touchscreen keyboard.  
However, that may be more a function of the fact that by the time I start using the iPad I’ve already been typing for a few hours. Maybe my fingers would hurt no matter what? I suspect they would.  
So, with that in mind I think I will try to use the touchscreen keyboard for now and see how it goes. I’ve got an extra Bluetooth keyboard I could use but that sorta defeats the purpose of using the iPad if you have the also lug around a keyboard.  
At any rate, I’ll know soon enough if my fingers can’t take it and then I will consider other options. Fortunately, as I discussed in an earlier post, the rest of the writing/blogging experience shouldbe pretty good on the iPad 2.  
I guess I’ll find out.  
In case you’re the sort of person who likes to know the more technical, nuts and bolts kinds of things, I’m going to list the tools I will be using during this experiment. Here they are:  
Apple iPad 2 (of course) – Apple’s device excels at so many things and has a battery that lasts a long time. It has become an indispensable part of my daily work (and fun).  
Blogsy – This is the primary blogging app I’m using. It allows for complete control over posts and offers the ability to insert photos and video. Pretty much everything you need and pretty easy to figure out and use.  
IResize – This is a great app that allows you to resize images to fit in a blog post or other writing. You can load any picture from your Photos on the iPad and change the size, resolution, etc. and then save the changed version for use in other apps like Blogsy.  
IAWriter – This app let’s you get back to basics and just write. It removes distractions and lets you focus on the words. Plus, it syncs with Apple’s iCloud and its own OS X desktop version to allow you to work on whatever you want and have it available on the iPad or your Mac with whatever changes you’ve made already there and synced.  
Other tools:  
Pages – Appple’s own writing App is pretty good and I used it quite a bit before IA Writer and Blogsy came into the picture. Now I use it less frequently, especially as oit doesn’t support sync across the mobile and desktop versions using iCloud as IA Writer does. At least not yet.  
FDX Reader – Sadly, my favorite screenwriting app Final Draft doesn’t have and iPad version yet. I’ve been assured one is on the way, but until then, I still need to use the MacBook Air when I want to write in Final Draft.  
However, I can at least read scripts in Final Draft format (instead of PDF) on the iPad by using the terrific FDX Reader app. This app allows you to load scripts written in Final Draft and saved as .fdx files and view them in their native format. Very useful and saves you the time and effort of saving scripts as .pdf files plus if your a writer on the go or collaborating with another writer it also makes it easier to quickly review the current draft.  
So, this is my challenge and those are the tools of choice. Of course, figuring out what you want to do and choosing the tools to accomplish a task is often the easy part. 

The hard part is doing the actual writing. I’m goin’ in, wish me luck.  

Writing On the iPad

Since the iPad first came out I was hoping it would completely take the place of my laptop for most things. I was especially hoping it would allow me to use it when I go to events like Comic-Con in San Diego and other places I’m covering for The Flickcast that require me to post to the website during the day.  
Unfortunately, as an early adopter, I got one of the first iPads released. And although the hardware was darn good, the software, and in particular apps for blogging, left something to be desired.  
Cut to today and I’m using the iPad 2 and there are lots more apps out there to do most of the things you want to do on the iPad. Sadly, there’s still a shortage of good blogging apps. Fortunately, all you really need is one.  
I think I’ve found that one. Or, at least I’ve found one that’s as close to perfect as I’m going to get right now. What’s the name of this amazing, life changing blogging app? Blogsy.  
It does most of what I need it to do in the writing area. I can write a post in either HTML or visual mode, add photos and videos and set it to publish. Combine that with resizing photos using the great iResize app and the iPad has become almost a complete replacement for my Mac laptop.  
It does take a bit of time to get used to blogging on the iPad and also, typing on the screen itself is a bit hard on the fingers. Still, for short things like blog posts (just like this one!) it works very well.  
I’m going to be using Blogsy more and more and I’m sure I will find things I don’t like about it. Still, it has enough going for it already that I’m very pleased and happy I found it. Also, I’m sure they will improve it over time with updates.  

What’s Up?

This site feels lonely. In fact, it is. I haven’t been updating it at all during the last few months because I’ve been spending the majority of my time over at The Flickcast and trying to make that the best it can be.

However, all is not lost. Part of my plan for the new year is to start taking more photographs. I’m going to be exploring my photography skills and trying to improve them. I will be posting the results here and, of course, over at my Flickr page.

So, stay tuned for more from this site. I haven’t forgotten it and will get back to it soon enough. Until then, all the best for 2011.