Welcome to

404i

Home / Social

Looking back over 2017

Nearly at the year end and I think this has been an interesting year for me on a number of fronts.

Film 

This has been the biggest thing 2017 for me. Although I start using film at then end of last year, this year has seen me start to develop my own back and white negs. Taking this further, as of Christmas day I’ll be in possession of chemicals for colour film development (more on this once I’ve actually had a go).

In 2018 I hope to take the film photography further by getting my hands a classic Leica SLR. I’m already obsessing over the Leica R-range and what I’ll be able to get hold of (R6.2 is perfect but crazy expensive, R7 cheaper but bigger and heavier as it has more electronics for the bells and whistles). I’m also fretting over which lens. Even more expensive than the camera, do I get a Summicron-R 50mm or a Leica Vario-Elmar-R 35-70 mm (the latter meaning I probably never need to fork out on another lens again).

I still have an old film in the Brownie to use up but I’m interested in buying new 120 film and doing to medium format (if I can figure out how best to scan these negs).

Instagram (@timrpbrown)

Much of this year has been spent uploading my back catalogue from Flickr into Instagram. An interesting exercise in seeing which images get many or not so many likes. I’m not that bothered about the number of followers I have (about 156 last time I looked but this yo-yos around these days). One thing I get from Instagram is that I look at a lot images but other photographers, and in many cases they’re very good, so this helps me learn and develop.

GuruShots (my profile)

This is my latest wheeze that I’ve playing around with for that last few weeks. It’s a photo gaming site where you enter your photos into challenges and see who many votes you get. Again, interesting to see what floats people’s boat. The odd thing is that it can be quite contextual: a photo used in one challenge scores highly – the same photo in a different challenge doesn’t. I’m trying to avoid reusing images now. Again, I seem to be working through the flickr back catalogue, but unlike Instagram, I’m seeking out a photo that will fit into challenge remit. What I’d really like to start doing is to see a new challenge listed and go out and shoot a image specifically for it.

Printing photos

I’ve started getting my photos printed (the loverly Saal Digital book being my favourite) but I’ve also produced 3 small books (via a free photo book app by FreePrints that’s not very free, it’s still £6 postage). My very first outing into arty photography when I was bout 14 years old saw me run off a roll of black and white using my Dad’s Prakita SLR (not sure what happened to that camera but the lenses live on as they fit my mostly never used Zenit EM). When I do the roll developed and printed I put them into a photo album and titled it “Obscura Camera” (see what I did there, clever huh….). So picking up on this, I’m titling my little books as the same; I’m up to Obscura Camera 3 and will produce another one in the next week or so.

The FreePrint people also have an app to print up to 44 “free” prints every month (£4 p and p): I’ve done this a couple of times but loose 6×4 photos don’t do it for me and I’ll just stick to books I think.

I’m an Artist, darling!

I think 2017 will be the year when I had the revelation that I was rotten at trying to produce a sellable image on ShutterStock and it dawned on me I’m an artist, so I don’t care if people like my photos or not, they are what they are. It was a liberating moment. This isn’t an excuse to not keep learning and critiquing my work, but I think you have to have the confidence to stand by what you do. Unlike professional photographers I have the luxury of not having to make a living out it, pros have to be (and are) brilliant at what they do, cos anything less and the mortgage doesn’t get paid.

My favourite photo of 2017

The negative got a little mangled in the development process and the damage seems to have given the image something extra, albeit a little odd

Man resting at the back door (Minolta X-300/50mm, Ilford XP2 400)

2018

The biggest highlight of the year was getting selected into one of Ted Forbes’ photo assignment videos (see previous post). I’ll try and see if I can repeat this feat in 2018. Otherwise I’m anticipating a film filled year, and with any luck that will include getting my hands a Leica and creating some keepers.

Read More

Xeream done: all wrapped up and no place to go

I’ve been busy over the last few weeks and on my laptop I’ve developed the tweet chat/discussion web site Xeream. Lots of Bootstrap and jQuery and a little code in the background and it’s all ready. I was all set to get it live  on 404i.com when I stumbled into a small problem – my hosting account is .Net 4.0 framework but Xeream requires 4.5. Oh dear. I may have to wait until January to get a new host, or alternatively I can persuade my work to put this onto one of our cloud servers.

In the meantime, here’s a Prezi thrown together as a “How to guide” as a preview.

Read More

Learning by doing: MVC4 and Bootstrap for project “Jclub”

Last week I was at a conference about medical education (IAMSE) in St Andrews (Scotland). One lunch-time session was about the use of twitter to do long distance (and long time period) journal clubs. If you’re not familiar with what a journal club is, this is something that occurs commonly in academia (particularly in  scientific and medical research institutions) where someone selects a recently published academic journal paper and with a group of colleagues and/or students, get together in a room and discuss the paper in detail.

The twitter angle is where the discussion occurs unsurprisingly via tweets (using an agreed hash tag), but may continue for a week.

While thought this was a great idea I pondered whether there might be a need for a very simple web app that would:

(i) provide a host, i.e. the person selecting the paper and organising the journal club, to advertise the upcoming journal club, provide links to appropriate literature (so people can prepare), and at the end, provide a summary and perhaps a link to a Storify

(ii) provide a user the ability to search/browse up coming journal clubs, access relevant information, set a diary date, perhaps even register interest in an up-coming journal club

The web app would be very simple – the actual twitter discussion could take place on any platform (TweetChat, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc…). So far I’ve created mock-ups/work flows using Balsamiq – as much as to think through the problem as to define requirements. Next stage is to code it. I seriously considered using PHP but I wanted to take an object-orientated approach and OO PHP is not something I’m familiar with but looks pretty awful compared to C#. So I want to use .net and C# – but I want it to look good, and to most easily do that then Twitter Bootstrap is a great option. Worried that that might a hellish to implement within a standard .net web form I reckon using MVC 4 would be the best approach.

A package for visual studio 2012 for Bootstrap + MVC is available (installed using Nuget) looks to simplify things a great deal but I still have a significant hill to climb in order to get grips with MVC, never mind Bootstrap. And that, essentially, is what this exercise is all about: learning the basics of MVC.

To be continued…

 

 

Read More

Dipping the toe into LinkedIn

I’ve had a personal LinkedIn account for a while now and increasingly found the various Groups (IT Service Management, Social Media) a great source of knowledge and ideas, much like forums did when learning about web development. From a work point of view I now need to start getting the ePortfolio onto LinkedIn too, i.e. as a business.

However, before diving in head first I think there needs to be a some planning and strategising to be done first.

As far as strategy is concerned, what are the objectives of setting up a LinkedIn account for ePortfolio? Who are we looking to engage with, customers, users, or both (separately or together)? In what way will the content being delivered or discussed be different from the ePortfolio Talkback blog? How will we know if we a reaping benefits from doing this, how do we measure success?

As for planning, having established that there’s a business case for proceeding, what risks are there? Perhaps most importantly, will there be time allocated to generate content and respond to inputs (probably my time, along side the blogging and tweeting)?

Just LinkedIn?
Broadening the topic slightly, why just LinkedIn? We have pretty much excluded using Facebook, the main reason being that our users are very likely to be fb users already but are quite likely to want to keep their work and non-work social networks separate. The more formal and professional environment of LinkedIn provides a more appropriate (and troll-free??) area to allow more production discussions to progress.

I should say that I’ve set up a Google+ page already for ePortfolio but have to confess as yet I don’t know what to do with, at least understand what might happen here that would be different from LinkedIn. One thought is the google+ might conveniently lie halfway between fb and LinkedIn. By that I mean users may not wish to speak their minds on LinkedIn for fear of future employers reading something even slightly candid the may prove prejudicial in what many see as a their online CV. Google+ could give the users openness without having to mix work with personal fb activities.

Of course there are gazillions of other social media options that could be of interest but one step at a time: in the same way that using a specific software as a solution looking for a problem, launching into a social media environment with a specific strategy and goal will at best waste time, and at worst leave a trail of disused and forgotten accounts littering the Internet. Branded ghost towns that when stumbled upon would leave your organisation looking a little les impressive.

Read More

Social services

An interesting webinar today – the service desk and social IT:

Read More

Bootstrap bootcamp

Sometimes you hear a short comment between 2 developers along the lines of “there’s a good tutorial about bootstrap at …” and having no clue as to what they were talking about (not unusual these days) I gave it no more thought. But then I caught site of reference to “Twitter Bootstrap” in an article on Flipboard.

One Google search and a YouTube introductory video later and I’ve downloaded the framework and ready to start building something interesting.

Have a look:

Intro and tutorials: http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/series/twitter-bootstrap-101/

Download and documentation: http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/ 

 

Read More

To get the latest update of me and my works

>> <<