A fun weekend where no photography goals were met…

June 29, 2023, 8:44 AM

From June 21-23, Elyse and I made a weekend trip to Virginia, but instead of centering on Staunton like we usually do, we centered on Roanoke (but don’t worry – we still saw my parents in Stuarts Draft).  We had planned this trip largely as a photography outing, and then the weather didn’t cooperate.  It was raining continuously almost the entire time, which made for a more difficult drive than I would have liked, but the trip was worth it.  I guess that you could say that while we didn’t necessarily do much in the way as far as photography, we laid the groundwork for future trips by identifying potential subjects.  I didn’t want to lay groundwork for the future this time around, as I really wanted to bring home the goods, but such is what happens when the weather doesn’t cooperate.  I brought my DSLR and my drone on this trip, but neither one of them ever left their respective carrier.

The plan was to drive down from the DC area to Lynchburg via US 29, spend the afternoon and early evening of the first day in Lynchburg, and then head over to Roanoke, where we were staying at the Hampton Inn located downtown (the one built on top of a city parking garage).  Then we would spend the entire second day in Roanoke, largely with Commonwealth Coach & Trolley, which is a bus museum that Elyse and I both serve on the board of.  Then on the last day, we would head up to Staunton and Waynesboro, where I had some things that I wanted to get over there, before going over to see my parents.  What ended up happening was pretty similar to plan, but not quite.  Our departure was delayed, because we already knew that much of the day would be a rainout.  The drive down to Charlottesville was fine, making one stop for food at the third (Bealeton) Sheetz.  We made a brief stop at Barracks Road in Charlottesville, and then we were back on the road.  It started raining harder once we cleared Charlottesville, and we saw three different accidents between Charlottesville and Amherst where people had clearly wiped out after driving faster than conditions allowed.  One of those accidents was a police car, which was clearly totaled in its accident.  We took it slowly, especially since I didn’t have that much experience taking the new HR-V in driving rain like this before, plus I wasn’t as familiar with the stretch of 29 from Charlottesville to Lynchburg (particularly from I-64 to VA 151) as I am with 29 north of Charlottesville.

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I feel compelled to weigh in…

June 15, 2023, 10:10 PM

Recently, Reddit has been embroiled in a controversy over the site management’s plan to charge for access to their application programming interface, or API, which would affect the operation of various third-party apps, which previously had free access to the API.

First of all, this is how I browse Reddit.  I have a Reddit Premium subscription, which means that I get an ad-free experience using a web browser or the official Reddit app, along with a few other perks.  When I’m on my phone, I will typically use BaconReader, a third-party app, to access Reddit.  I started using BaconReader before Reddit had an official Android app, and I’ve gotten used to it and have seen no reason to change.  More specifically, I use the paid version of BaconReader, which provides me an ad-free experience on the app.  The free version of the app runs its own ads in an effort by the developers to make some money that Reddit sees no part of, regardless of Reddit Premium subscription status.  So before we get into things too deeply, that’s my situation, i.e. I have a premium subscription to the site, and I use an ad-free third-party app on my phone.

As far as the issue at hand goes, I feel that charging a fee for API access is reasonable enough.  To me, it only seems fair.  Third-party apps depend on Reddit for their content, and so if Reddit were to die, the third-party apps die right along with it.  You profit from Reddit’s content, selling subscriptions, app licenses, and running ads against it, so you need to pay your content provider.  Especially when one considers that Reddit is, in fact, a for-profit company and not a charity.  Just because one has never turned a profit doesn’t make one a not-for-profit entity.  It just means that you’re a for-profit company that has never managed to make a profit.  Consuming server resources through your app but not compensating the operator of said server just makes you a parasite, since you’re not paying for the resources that you consume.  It’s nice that Reddit has offered it that way for a while, but it sounds like the free ride is about to end.  It’s a perfectly valid business decision.  I will say that when it comes to how much to charge for API access, I do not know what the proper amount is.  I am not an app developer, nor do I know how much it costs to operate Reddit.  All I know is that paying some amount for API access seems fair.  And you don’t get to complain when someone who was offering a service for free stops offering it for free, because you weren’t paying for it, and, as my mother likes to put it, “You’ve got to pay to say.”

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Categories: Reddit

A weekend trip to Pittsburgh…

June 11, 2023, 2:25 PM

From May 31 to June 2, Elyse and I made a little weekend trip to Pittsburgh, where we explored around a bit, saw some friends, and got lots of photographs.  Pittsburgh was something that we had wanted to do for a while, after our very fun and productive trip in 2016, but I didn’t want to do Pittsburgh as a one-day trip ever again.  It’s far too much to pull off in one day, even though our 2016 trip was wildly successful as far as accomplishing our objectives.

Our route there was pretty typical for Pittsburgh, going from home to Frederick to Breezewood to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  We also spotted the point where the turnpike was rerouted in the 1960s to bypass the Laurel Hill Tunnel.  Then we detoured onto I-70 at New Stanton in order to visit Washington, Pennsylvania.  That side trip was for Elyse, as she wanted to visit a hobby shop at the local shopping mall, and she also wanted to visit the George Washington Hotel, where they apparently had a very vintage toilet.  From there, we headed into Pittsburgh.  I photographed in Breezewood and in Washington,

Then the middle day was largely transit-oriented, as we took the buses all over the city to accomplish our objectives.  I wanted to do the inclines during the day, as I had only ever ridden them at night on my previous two visits.  I also wanted to get daytime photos from the overlooks.  We also went back to the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, meeting up with our friend Patrick Nedz there, and meeting up with our friend Jared Chambers later on.  We saw a few elevators, and rode a lot of buses, and had a good time together overall.  Surprisingly, we never touched the light rail system, aka “The T“, on this trip, other than to purchase our SmarTrip cards for Pittsburgh (which are called ConnectCards) at Wood Street station, and then coming right back out.

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Categories: Breezewood, Pittsburgh, Travel