It is common sense: Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford.
So obvious, right? And we are all very good at following that rule.
I don’t always. Most people I know don’t. Why?
Simple things are made complicated when people don’t want to do what they need to do.
It’s too hard.
It’s not fun.
Everyone else has one.
I need it.
We make a million excuses.
Writing is the same way. You know you need to write every day. You have a deadline looming, and you just. Don’t. Do. It.
It would be really funny (like this SNL skit), if the consequences weren’t so serious.
What are the things in life or work that you need to do, but don’t feel like doing?
Call me a snob, but clunky photos on a website will make me close a Chrome tab faster than you can say “Steph, you’re a snob.”
One way to make sure the images on your website aren’t a turn-off to your readers is to resize them. Most cameras these days take high resolution photos. So at the very least you should be cropping and resizing your photos. This helps images load quickly for users on slow internet connections (bless them).
My favorite free photo editing tool is Pixlr.
It’s similar to Photoshop, but it runs in your browser and it’s fast. There are other tools like Picnik and Splashup, but I prefer Pixlr.
HOW TO RESIZE A PHOTO IN PIXLR:
1. Click “open image from computer” and browse to the image you want to resize.
For example, I select rose.jpg. The dimensions are 4558 x 6093 pixels. The size is 4.19 MB. Way too big!
2. Select the crop tool.
Crop out the unnecessaries and hit enter. I want to make mine square, so I crop to an approximate square.
3. Click Image Size.
My image now says Width: 2979 pixels Height: 2742 pixels. Make sure the box is checked for “constrain proportions.”
I will change the width to 500 pixels. Take note of the page where your image will live. How many pixels wide is it? Go from there.
If you stop now and Save as JPG, the size is a tidy 47 KB.
If you need to get the image to an exact width and height, say 450 x 450, keep going.
4. Click Canvas Size.
I change height to 450 and width to 450 and select the square where I want to anchor the image. If you select the middle square, it will crop a little off all sides.
This is good, but still close to 100KB. I decide that 250 x 250 is better, so I repeat step 4.
5. Save (Ctrl S)
Save as a JPG, good for most photos. It defaults to 80% quality. You can take it down or up, but it will affect the file size.
If you have a transparent background, save as PNG.
Final size: 18 KB.
Test it out in your browser to see the quality difference and load time:
You don’t have to make your images this small, but keep it under 20KB for speed. There are many ways to resize a photo, but this is the way I do it (over and over and over). Play around with the other editing tools. You can do layers, filters, and adjustments.
Just keep it simple and remember–size matters!
Q: What do you use to resize and edit photos for the web?
A few passages worth sharing from a very fine book I’m reading, The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive, by Brian Christian.
- Thoughts from a supervisor who decided to stop micromanaging and trust his employees:
‘It’s amazing…how someone’s IQ seems to double as soon as you give them responsibility and indicate that you trust them.’ And as far too many can attest, how it halves when you take that responsibility and trust away.
- After a lengthy discussion about chess and conversational openers:
Like most conversations and most chess games, we all start off the same and we all end up the same, with a brief moment of difference between. Fertilization to fertilizer. Ashes to ashes. And we spark across the gap.
- On games and existentialism:
Games have a goal; life doesn’t. Life has no objective. This is what the existentialists call the “anxiety of freedom.” Thus we have an alternate definition of what a game is–anything that provides temporary relief from existential anxiety. This is why games are such a popular form of procrastination. And this is why, on reaching one’s goals, the risk is that reentry of existential anxiety hits you even before the thrill of victory–that you’re thrown immediately back on the uncomfortable question of what to do with your life.
The driving force of the book is the story of the author going to Brighton, England in 2009 to take part in the annual Turing test–a test where humans face off against computers and ‘confederates’ (other humans) in a five-minute chat session and try to identify which is which. There are two awards given: The Most Human Computer and The Most Human Human. Christian digs deep and well beyond the topic of AI, and it is utterly fascinating. You should read it.
Funny and mostly useful infographics for grammar geeks, word nerds, and mere mortals who type things. English is difficult. Let’s work at this together, ok?
1. 10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling
The always irreverant and hilariously correct The Oatmeal.
2. Should I put a smiley face inside or outside a closing parenthesis
This is a clever flowchart. Yes, I’m a geek. I was going to link directly to Grammar Girl’s website, but it has a an evil Starbucks ad that takes over the entire site right now.
3. 10 Funniest Online Terms
Cappuccino cowgirl. Do people really say that?
4. 10 Tips to Improve Your Grammar
Best tip on building vocabulary – read. It seems so obvious now!
5. 15 Most Misspelled English Words
I want a poster of this one next to my computer. Some of these are tricky if you still operate under the old “i before e except after c” rule. My Achilles’ heel is weird, which didn’t make the list. I’m wierd.
6. How to use a semicolon
Oats here again, because he’s the only one brave enough to tackle the dreaded semicolon.
Bonus Blog for grammar geeks who enjoy being smug: Apostropheabuse.com
Leave a reply and answer one or both:
Question: What rule keeps you from grammatical perfection? Its ok. None of use are prefect. You can share here; we’re in a circle of trust.
Pop Quiz: Brownie points if you can list all my grammatical errors in this post.
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
-The litany against fear [DUNE, by Frank Herbert]
How do you deal with fear? I don’t face life-threatening peril every day, but little fears and self-doubts can be just as mind-killing and paralyzing. Fear can keep me from writing when the little critic in me says, “You have nothing new to contribute. It’s all been written and discussed and pondered over a thousand times.” Fear is the root of indecision. Facing fear, seeing it for what it is, and letting is pass over is a hard thing to do. What remains is the realization: I have nothing to lose! Maybe someone will reject my idea, or correct me, or even worse–everyone will ignore me. So what? It’s not life or death. I don’t have a Bene Gesserit reverend mother sticking a poisoned Gom Jabbar into my neck, right?
What is your personal litany against fear?