|Totally fictitious chart|
The power of Numbers
Once upon a time someone came up with this cleaver trick of including a number in their blog headline. (And when I say "once upon a time" here, that's only a year ago, which is ancient history in the great Internet timeline.)
"They" claimed numbers got more attention. (Odd ones are best "they" say, but I don't have any substantiated evidence of that. Who is "they" anyway?)
Numbers, the blogists1 told me, got people curious, got people clicking, gave me more web traffic, which would result in greater ad revenue, and more money in my pocket. Really? Yeah, shamefully I tried it. No great traffic increase here that I'm seeing.
Am I missing something?
Let me re-read the "they" advice. Ah, here it is:
You must include"easy" in the heading. That's a surefire way to get the click-n-read people flocking to your website.I'm doubtful. Are readers so lazy to believe that writing content is as easy as 1-2-3?
Yeah sure, adding numbers and including "easy" in the title worked for a while, until EVERYONE was doing it. Strange thing about web traffic recommendations, they are like stock recommendations . . . totally worthless. By the time the recommendation reaches my ears, everyone is buying it, so the stock (or method) is already inflated and buyer saturated. Same is true with ideas on increasing web traffic and better SEO2.
Now, whenever I see a number in a heading, I simply skip it. It's impossible to numberize3 everything. It's too subjective, too simplified, and simply childish.
I hope you bloggers out there are convinced now. When you include numbers in your blog headings people aren't clicking anymore.
So stop it!
Although. In retrospect. The title of this blog post included "5 Easy Steps" and that got you here, didn't it?
Maybe numbers have more power than I'd imagined.
No sense in being pessimistic. It wouldn't work anyway. - Anonymous
- blogists: A class of people who incessantly blog about a single subject.
- SEO means "search engine optimization" or better said: What appears at the top of a Google search. Everyone wants to be at the top but only a few people make it, in fact, just one.
- Numberize: To number steps in a blog heading. Numberization is the senseless act of numbering of those steps.
It's very cool to feel the power of these monsters. Contrary to what you might think, these mammoths haul, doing 50mph or more. You control them like a tank, with hand levers on the right and left.
You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, but you may miss out on future opportunities. -Benjamin Franklin
The start of the new year in China is known as Chunjie (spring festival). It lasts almost three weeks. Last night was the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. The most remarkable aspect of this crazy celebration is the fireworks. Fireworks shoot into the dark sky from every corner of the city blocks. Fireworks are set up next to residential buildings, so close that you have to close your windows to prevent the sparks from flying inside your apartment.
With this background knowledge you might wonder why a photographer would risk his life atop a 13 story building during this crazy four hour long event. Ah, glad you asked. It's all just to capture a photo of course. What I didn't realize is, the fireworks explode right at my eye level. I had to stand behind a brick wall holding my cable release to capture these pictures. I was afraid that the sparks would damage my wide angle lens. One fireworks display surprised me so, the sparks hit me and I jumped back behind a door and dropped my cable release.
The celebrations last way past twelve midnight. They go until two or three in the morning and beyond. Even now (it's the next day at two o'clock in the afternoon) there are large explosions throughout the city.
These displays are not controlled by trained experts of large corporations nor are there requirements for the purchase or release of these canon-like works. No, rather common families spend $500-$1000 on fireworks to shoot off the night of the 9th. These are not firecrackers or even cherry bombs and sparklers. Little kids pass by 4'x 4' planter-box sized crevasses full of explosives. The loud canons blast colors into the sky 20 or more stories high and shoot sparks in a 200 foot radius. These are full on fireworks displays handled by uncle and grandpa after over drinking at the Chunjie meal. This is serious stuff I'm talking about. And everyone has them. Each family tries to outdo the next.
Next time (if there is a next time) I'll wear full body gear before venturing out into the crazy world of a Chinese New Year celebration, especially atop a building where the apex of the explosions occur.
One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching. -Anon
Very convenient transportation.
(Taken in the Yunnan provence, southern China.)
Star trails are easy. You only need a tripod, camera, and a cable release. Most DSLRs don't include a remote but you can buy a wireless or wired release.
The reason for the release is two fold:
- To obtain longer exposures than the 30 seconds most DSLRs allow.
- To avoid camera shake while holding down the shutter release if your camera has a "Bulb" setting.
While scouting around for a place to set up your tripod, remember to position something in the foreground. It can be a tree, bush, or even your camping area. Including a foreground focal point leads the eye into the star trails behind. It creates a map for the eye to follow and helps your viewers "wander around" your image.
In this photo I used our geodesic tent as a lead in for the foreground. The orange flair to the right of the image is the result of pointing the flashlight toward the camera from the inside of the tent. You can avoid the flair by keeping your light aimed away from the camera, or optionally you can "paint" the outside of the tent with your flashlight.
The goal is to give interest to the foreground. When you first look at this photo, you see the lighter colored tent and then the darker tent seems. (Your eye is naturally attracted to the lighter portions of a photo.) As your eye follows the rounded dome it notices the blurred stars above and then it finally moves to the center of interest, the North Star.
You can easily light your foreground with a small flashlight or lantern. I moved a light around inside the tent for about 30 seconds to make sure it was well lit. Depending on the camera settings you choose, the length of time and intensity of the foreground lighting will vary. You'll need to experiment a little. Although lighting the inside of the tent only took 30 seconds, the star trails required an exposure of 20 minutes.
A great time to set up is during a late evening meal. Position your camera, open the shutter, and enjoy the starry entertainment while your camera captures something your eye can't see, the star trails.
The question is not what you look at, but what you see. – Henry Thoreau
Construction is everywhere. I believe China has decided to move into the 21st century within ten years. Streets, buildings, avenues, signs, stores, are all changing, all under construction.
Some entire buildings are being destroyed. Others are being gutted and resurfaced and new windows and doors added. New sewage and water mains are placed into trenches in the streets to feed the upward growth. Even subways are added in the gaping holes. The goal of which is to move the people that will later inhabit these huge structures.
The building you see in the distance was started only two months ago. Now it's a 20 story framework of steel, ready for glass walls.
After the construction of the roads are finished I suppose it'll all be better, but now it's a nightmare. Instead of tackling one avenue at a time our city decided to do them all at the same time. Go figure.
Knotted traffic of twists and detours are now expected by the car and moped drivers. Even though they are used to it, it doesn't get any easier to navigate. If fact, it's harder. What was once a main road becomes blocked the next day. The entire city traffic must be routed around it to get through.
In our city people can do three-point turns anywhere, even in construction zones, even between blocks, regardless of where they are, anytime they want. Even busses do three-point turns in the middle of the block. Motorists, mopeds, bicyclists, people on foot, and vendors with push carts simply stream around them, in front and behind, as the bus inches back and forth. It's insanity.
When will it all end? Not too sure. I've heard that there is another two years to go. Yikes.
Some days it's just to much for me to navigate. Today I came home early. I just couldn't take another detour.
Some days it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps. -Anon