Make your Web

I enjoyed Tantek Çelik‘s recent talk at beyond tellerrand // DÜSSELDORF 2019. If you’re interested in the IndieWeb, or just curious why having a personal site is still so important, make yourself a beverage and enjoy:

Featured image: IndieWebCamp Berlin 2018 | Day 1 by tollwerk GmbH, licensed CC BY NC SA 2.0

Accumulating memories in large photo libraries

Jamie Rubin wrote a thought-provoking post on his blog about his accumulated library of photographs, and his thoughts about what to do with it.

The problem is that I am not organized about my photos the way I am in other parts of my life. I’ve made reluctant attempts at organization now and then, but my heart was never in it. I’ve had all kinds of great ideas for photo taxonomies that would allow me to put my finger on a photo within seconds. These ideas never pan out. I just don’t have the interest. And yet the photos accrue.

Jamie Rubin

I commented on the post, and then thought I’d share my thoughts here too.


I have around 100k images in my Flickr library (this is probably my most complete, and organised library outside my various backups). I sometimes wonder if accumulating such a huge library will be problematic for my family when I eventually shuffle off into the Great Darkroom in the Sky.

On balance, though, I’d much rather preserve these memories, than start stripping them away because they seem too voluminous. I’m pretty determined to document our lives, and our memories for future generations. I wrote a bit about this in this post, so I won’t elaborate much here.

When I look at what I have from my childhood, and from previous generations, I see moments now and then, certainly not complete pictures of what those times were like. I rely on photos to remember my past because my memory can be pretty spotty.

When it comes to my growing library of photos, I’m working on the assumption that image recognition technology will only improve over time, and our kids will be able to use it to find the stuff that matters to them. If I look at how good Google Photos is now when it comes to recognising subject matter in photos, and even filtering photos, I’m less and less concerned about the size of my library.

I think Jamie make a great point about being mindful of the moment we’re in, and not immediately distracting ourselves from it by taking a photograph of the scene. We can’t spend all our lives looking through a viewfinder.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Julie Johnson

My introduction to Narkis and Claire Guerreso

I’ve been listening to two artists I hadn’t come across until recently. The first artist who’s new to me is an Israeli artist/band called Narkis. I head their song ״ממה אתה בורח״ (“What are you running from?”) in a Spotify playlist titled ״בדרך״ yesterday, and I’m obsessed:

I went looking for a music video for this song, and this video is the closest I’ve come to seeing this song performed live – what a presence!


Another artist I started listening to, and enjoy, is Claire Guerreso, whose track “Ashes” was featured in a powerful scene on the TV show, Lucifer, that my wife and I have been binging for the last month or so:

This track is wonderful, and a powerful theme for that particular scene in the show. Another terrific track is “Skipping Stones”:

unsplash-logoFeatured image by BRUNO CERVERA

Fireworks for Israel 71st Independence Day Celebrations

We celebrated 71 years of Israel’s independence earlier this month. We joined thousands of Modiin’s residents to watch a fireworks display in the park.

It was a spectacular display, as usual, and we enjoyed all three parts of the show. I took my tripod with me to attempt some longer exposure photography of the fireworks. I switched to my 18-55mm kit lens, and I think the photos came out fairly nicely.

Yom HaAtzmaut starts at the end of Yom HaZikaron, a memorial day for soldiers and Israelis who died in terror attacks. This year, I decided to learn our national anthem, HaTikva, so I could participate when the anthem was sung at memorial events.

I learned it a few years ago, and then forgot most of the words since then. Having a better understanding of the words in this short anthem made a real difference (as you’d expect). It’s a beautiful anthem, and represents us as Israelis in so many ways.

One version of HaTikva that appeals to me, is this version that the IDF published recently. It speaks to so much of what makes us who we are:

Update: I came across this other video from the IDF that I thought I’d share here too:

Seeing the sights in Tel Aviv and Jaffa

I recently wrote about my day trip to Jerusalem with my friend during a short vacation. On the next day we took a day trip to see the sights in Tel Aviv and Jaffa. We started off in Jaffa, with a late breakfast at Doctor Shakshuka, generally a great place to enjoy, well, shakshuka.

From there, we made our way towards the Old City of Jaffa. In many respects, this Old City is similar to the Old City of Jerusalem, and well worth visiting.

The walk to the Old City of Jaffa isn’t particularly long, and includes a stroll along the beachfront.

Old City of Jaffa

The view from this walkway is pretty spectacular. On the one side, you see Tel Aviv, and on the other, you see part of the Old City peeking out from behind some trees.

We took a casual walk through the Old City, had ice-cream, and took in the view of Tel Aviv from a hill in the middle of the Old City.

From there, we caught a bus to the Tel Aviv Port, one of my favourite places in Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv Port

There are a couple really nice beaches along the waterfront here, along with a number of restaurants and coffee shops.

The tide was pretty high, so there weren’t many bathers in the water. We were also treated to foam splashing over the railings along the boardwalk.

We had some coffee at one of the coffee shops, and then made our way to Ben Gurion House. Now a museum, Ben Gurion House was formerly Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion’s house.

What impressed me most about the house is its simplicity. It’s the sort of house your grandparents may have lived in, with perfectly ordinary furnishings, and decorations. The one exception is Ben Gurion’s really impressive library that takes up most of the upstairs section of the house.

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is how seemingly routine photographs of daily life decades ago have taken on an almost magical quality when we look at them now. This has prompted me to look around at scenes of daily life around me, and take a more active interest in photographing it.

If anything, perhaps these photographs will show younger generations more of what life was like in the early 21st century in the not too distant future.

We spent a little time in Sarona Market with its fish ponds before making our way down to the Tel Aviv HaShalom train station, and heading home to Modiin. It was a really nice day out.

A trip down memory lane to Stonehenge

My daughter and I watched this Vox video about Stonehenge over lunch today, and it reminded me of my visit to the UK and Ireland in April 2004:

I found my photos from way back then (in full 640 x 480 resolution⭐️), and was able to impress my daughter by showing her my photos of some of the places we saw in the video. I thought I’d dig out my photos, and reminisce a little …

Collage from my UK and Ireland trip in 2004
Collage from my UK and Ireland trip in 2004

⭐️ Albums like this remind me that it pays to store archived images in the highest resolution you can manage at the time.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Henry Gressmann

Tragedy and Inspiration in Jerusalem

My friend visited me recently, and I took some time off to spend with him. One of our day trips was to Jerusalem, primarily to visit Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.

We started off by taking a relatively new train to Jerusalem from the Ben Gurion Airport. This train takes about half an hour to reach Jerusalem, and shaves an hour (or more) off the previous train route that left from Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem train station

As I mentioned recently, I really like the new station. It was a great welcome back to Jerusalem.

We took the light rail up to Mount Herzl, the site of both Theodore Herzl‘s grave, and Yad Vashem.

We arrived at Yad Vashem at a pretty busy time. There were easily half a dozen tour buses there already.

Yad Vashem

We picked up two audio guides for a self-guided tour (although the guided tours are apparently really good too).

The main museum was pretty crowded, although the tour groups eventually moved past us as we walked through the exhibits describing the events leading up to, and the Holocaust itself in visceral detail.

Walking through the museum takes time, and I almost always felt like I was moments away from tears as I listened to the narrative describing how European Jews were first marginalised, dehumanised, and then eradicated in the many death camps they were shipped to like cattle.

It took us three hours to make our way through the exhibits, and each step reinforced why Israel is so important. Having our own country with an effective military means that Jews are no longer subject to the whims of other nations who repeatedly return to old stereotypes, and prejudices.

What still alarms me (even though I know better), is that we see the same rhetoric being repeated in various countries as the Nazis used in the 1930s, and other groups used in the centuries that preceded them. It seems that some things never change. Some people seem to drift back to anti-Semitism when they need someone to blame.

From Yad Vashem, we made our way to the Old City, towards the Western Wall.

Western Wall

We arrived at the Wall after lunch at a nearby schwarma place, and during preparations for Yom HaZikaron (our memorial day for soldiers and victims of terror attacks) two days later.

This photo of these three men sitting, facing the Wall reminded me of a previous visit where I saw three monks leaning over the railing, looking at the Wall and it’s visitors.

From here, we made our way back out of the Old City towards the train station, and home.

Silence is not necessarily golden for Evernote

I’ve been an Evernote user for well over a decade, and I used it daily until a couple years ago. I have almost 29,000 notes (a fair number of these notes are automatically captured using IFTTT workflows).

In recent years, Evernote has been pretty quiet on its blog, and while it’s released updates to the app, I haven’t felt like this is a dynamic company, constantly working to evolve it’s product. This has been a little disconcerting, as I have a lot of data in Evernote that I have been storing there intentionally.

At the moment, there isn’t another service like Evernote that uses this notes and notebook model to capture different content types into a pretty flexible reference system. I use Google Drive to store a lot of my stuff too, but it doesn’t feel as fluid to me.

I’ve also been experimenting with a private WordPress.com site too. I think this option is pretty close to Evernote, and even has some benefits that Evernote lacks because WordPress uses web technology (it is a publishing platform after all), so it opens the door to much richer content embeds, and formatting.

Still, short of an importer from Evernote to WordPress, or another suitable alternative, I’ve stuck with Evernote. It’s the simplest solution, even if Evernote becomes a historical reference service for me.

That being said, it was encouraging to see this video from Evernote’s current CEO about how they’ll be giving us insights into what’s happening behind the scenes, and what they’re working on:

I don’t know what lies ahead for Evernote. My Premium subscription is up for renewal next month, and I’m pretty sure I’ll renew, at least for another year. For now, though, I’m looking forward to see what they have in the pipeline. It might just tempt me back into more regular use.

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