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Jeremy Cherfas

Maybe I worry too much

2 min read

That old interview response -- "maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist" -- sprang to mind recently as I watched a video of a seminar on YouTube.

Audio levels were all over the place, and for the main speaker definitely too low. Video wasn't much better, with ceiling-mounted cameras covering the "action" from too far away and with not enough freedom of movement to avoid chopping off heads. The image was generally horribly fuzzy, and the presentation slides that had been cut into the video were all but illegible.

In some sense, I guess, production was free, although there may have been an internal department-to-department cost that I am not aware of. It would have taken a bit of money to have at least one half decent camera and operator and better sound and an editor. But it could have been quicker -- the video was recorded in late June and published more than two months later. The big question: would that have been worth it?

I had to watch the thing, because it is part of a client's output. Would someone with an interest in the topic but no necessity to sit through to the end have done so? No idea.

Maybe it was good enough, and fit for purpose, and I am a bit too much of a perfectionist.

Jeremy Cherfas

Checking feeds and revisiting FeedPress

1 min read

Listening to Show Me Your Mic with Alex Knight of FeedPress made me think again about feeds and "marketing," which is something I need to write about and, more importantly, do. I had bad trouble with FeedPress a while back, when, for reasons that seemed obscure to all the tech-heads at FeedPress (Alex and Maxime), MailChimp just could not see the feed for the agricultural biodiversity site at FeedPress. So, reluctantly, I abandoned FeedPress and went back to Feedburner to gather stats.

So I wasn't entirely surprised to see that the FeedPress account shows precisely one subscriber (who uses M$ Outlook!). Poking around further, I discovered that FeedPress now offers newsletters and what looks like really tight integration with MailChimp. So I set up an experimental RSS feed at MailChimp that, if all goes well, will pull its content direct from FeedPress and send it just to me. If that works, I'll try shifting the whole subscriber list to FeedPress. And if that works, I'll move all feeds there. Including this one.

Jeremy Cherfas

Neglect, but benign

1 min read

I've not been posting here, even though one of the reasons to get it going was to let me publish while on the move. One reason is that I am pretty certain nobody actually sees this site. Another is that the holiday has just been really relaxing and has failed to stir up any deep thoughts worth sharing. I set aside some time to do work for clients, but they have been tardy in responding, so I have hardly needed to do even that. And I have managed to keep the ETP newsletters and the Dog Days of Podcasting flowing. All in all, things are good.

Jeremy Cherfas

Still conflicted about conflicts of interest

3 min read

The latest episode of the Start-up [podcast from Gimlet Media](gimlet media.com) is all about the conflicts they feel about advertising that sounds like an endorsement. Despite the fact that it sounds like an endorsement because it is an endorsement, they worry that other folks may question their journalistic independence and all that. So they decided, we won't endorse stuff even if we like it, use it and think it's great. I think that's sensible.

The show ended with the announcement that I can now join Gimlet Media for just $5 a month and receive various goodies as a reward for supporting the company. I'm honestly not sure I want to do that, for a few different reasons.

For a start, as the podcast revealed, shows like Reply All are looking to book something like $900,000 this year in advertising. As the hosts said, on being told, "holy shit". I understand that advertising revenue fluctuates and is often the first cut in a downturn, but I do nevertheless feel that that lets me off the hook. And yet, I don't mind paying for a physical magazine or newspaper, even though they too take at least some advertising cash. I know that the price would be much, much higher were it not for the ads, not least because I pay for a newsletter that takes no advertising, and it isn't cheap. Now I don't know how many downloads Reply All gets per episode, but it must be pretty hefty to be looking at that kind of income from ads. How much would each download cost for the show to be truly "listener-supported radio"?

That would be my preference, to be able to reward the show after I have listened to it. Much trickier, I know, as a business proposition. But much less conflict, at least for me.

Then again, I think about the whole freemium model that currently dominates podcasting (and some other forms of content on the web). Everyone gets the main product for free while supporters get extra goodies. Why? Why not make everyone pay? Because we want an audience, and having nobody pay would be the clearest possible sign that this is a pure ego trip, no more?

These things are occupying a lot of my thoughts as I embark on this new phase in my activities. I can't see Eat This Podcast attracting ads any time soon, and I can't figure out how to get support on my terms. One thing I would like to be able to fund would be reporting trips, so I'm trying to work out ways to make that happen. For now, though, all can do is reiterate my wish for a more widespread system that would permit micropayments to specific bits of content.

Jeremy Cherfas

Gaining traction?

1 min read

Nice to see folks on ADN talking about POSSE-type approaches. I am a complete newbie to all this but I like the idea. Problem is, I am at the mercy of folks smarter than me in this realm to let me do the things I want. Which is OK actually. Because I would be just as dependent on others if I wanted to do things the conventional way. Maybe there is evil in the Indieweb, but it seems a priori less likely. And given what I have been reading about the fight between Dan Pearson and Matt Mullenweg, there's enough evil out there already.

Jeremy Cherfas

Still not got my head around this

1 min read

Heavy day yesterday, and status updates would have been boringly repetitive versions of "why do people insist on attempting to use Word for page layout?".

This morning, however, I did manage to write a little something that I put up both on the mothership and at agro.biodiver.se. Which just goes to show that this experiment has a long way to go. I need to figure out where things should go originally, and where they should go secondarily. Seems to me that if I eventually move the mothership here (which will be tricky because I don't think Known can handle importing a static site) then I will need to get my head around what belongs where.

Meanwhile, though, still having fun.

Also, it felt good to be writing at agro.biodiver.se again.

Jeremy Cherfas

Working at the weekend

1 min read

Procrastinating just a bit before I get down to some paid work, it occurred to me that just a week ago -- heck, two days ago -- I would have said "The weekend is the weekend; I don't work weekends". I have, of course, for specific rush jobs for good clients. But I resented it, even though I could have taken the time off the following week, because even if I did take the time off, I had to stay pretty close to my desk in case one of my colleagues wanted to chat. Now I'm freelancing again and my time is my own to apportion as I will. And so, even though I am being paid exactly the same per hour as I was on Thursday, I'm happy to spend a couple of hours doing some reasonably mindless work on a Saturday afternoon. Because on Monday or Tuesday I can choose to spend a couple of mindless hours doing something else.

Jeremy Cherfas

Diving into the indieweb

2 min read

I've been complaining for way too long about the difficulties of using my baked Octopress website when I'm away from my kitchen, aka the desktop computer. And I've been thinking about being on holiday from the end of next week and unable to bore you all with the details of my life. So on 24 June I took the plunge and signed up for a year's hosting with Indiehosters. And waited, and waited, and waited.

It wasn't their fault by any means. In fact Pierre Ozoux was very, very helpful. No, it was the registrar I was using and some pretty daft stuff on the part of whoever runs the IT domain. In the end, we both gave up, and I "pushed" this domain, hosted at NameCheap, over to Pierre, also at NameCheap. Talk about simple.

So here I am, geeking out over a new plaything that I don't begin to understand. Still, I've managed to hook myself up to my Twitter account, which is an OK start. Lots more stuff on the playlist. But for now it looks like this is going to be the place for Dog Days of Podcasting[^1] and may also be the trigger I need to even indulge in an Instagram account, thanks to Ownyourgram.

Yup; heady times. Getting ready for the big freelance push.

[^1]: Which I hope updates its site soon. Ooops; well, there's one thing Known does not apparently do.