The other day, I tested embedding/linking photos from SmugMug.

I hit on a limitation that’s inconvenient: I cannot create a tiled gallery by linking photos in SmugMug. More specifically, I can only create a tiled gallery by either uploading photos (and using up my allotted storage) or by choosing to link from Google and from a stock photo site I assume is associated with WP (Pexels Free Photos).

Note: this isn’t the first time I’ve linked photos in WordPress. In fact, for the first few years of this blog, I would upload small files and then link them to the larger versions in SmugMug Galleries. All that stopped when — because of constant “upgrades” — WP would wipe those links. That’s why there’s a note on the sidebar (sidebar on the PC, bottom of post on phones and tablets) letting users know that if I mention SmugMug, the links may have been wiped by inconsiderate and user-unfriendly WP developers. Well, it’s likely management, not the developers who are to blame, but the developers should have argued more vociferously against changes that would ‘break’ how the site worked in the past.

Anyway, here’s my first link from Google (single file test).

WAIT! I first have to connect my Google Account to WordPress. Meaning, I have to give WordPress access to my Google Photos . . . but, even after doing that, it seems to hang up.

Uh-oh . . . that’s not ‘linked’ or ’embedded’ the same way as when I link or embed from SmugMug . . . it’s actually downloaded and added the file to my media library.

Furthermore, unlike when I share a SmugMug photo, it downloads the full size, costing me multiple MBs of storage.

Note: that’s not the photo I loaded from Google Photos. The copy above was already in my Media Library. I replaced the one I linked/downloaded from Google and deleted it from the Library since it took up 4MB of storage.

Also, the interface to find and choose photos or albums is (to say the least) crappy. What do I mean by that?

This will be a quick post (I hope).

Here’s the deal . . . I’m nearing my storage limit for my WordPress plan. Mind you, I still have enough for probably more than a year of posts (depending on how nuts I go with photos), but at some point, I’d be forced to either delete some stuff or upgrade to the more expensive plan (for which I currently have no use).

But, I found an advantage with blocks. I’m still playing with them, but here’s the thing . . . my workflow goes something like this: after inserting resized photos here, I upload the full-size photos in SmugMug. I then link the SmugMug gallery back here, and maybe two people visit it. The same two people are also the only ones who might click on the photos in the blog post to see the larger size.

Now, I can kill . . . er . . . show two birds with one photo. Well, it’s the same bird, but work with me here.

The above photo is embedded from a gallery on SmugMug, and it’s not using up any of my WordPress storage. Furthermore . . .

So, yesterday I posted a quick observation about the state of comments on this blog (and maybe blogs in general, based on some of the feedback).

I might have come across as rueful of the situation, hence let me clarify a few things because I fear unintended consequences from that post . . .

Namely, I fear an increase in comments due to people (consciously or unconsciously) thinking I was pressuring them (consciously or unconsciously) to comment more often.

Well, let me set the record straight . . .

In yesterday’s post, I linked THIS<<link post and my sister AnnMarie mentioned how nice it was to see multiple comments. I went back and counted . . . there were 16 unique individuals leaving comments.

It’s something I’ve also noted as I occasionally go back and read old posts. Namely, there used to be more people leaving comments as late as four years ago than this year. To be clear, the slowdown started sometime in the last three years and it has now reached a point where I can expect comments from a maximum of two, maybe three people leaving a comment, and it’s the same two or three people.

Most of the readers who at one time I considered “regulars” are no more. I don’t mean they’ve died (although — sadly — a few have, and they are deeply missed). I mean they no longer seem active in the blogging community. Some have blogs that have gone dormant without explanation, and some indicated their focus and interests have shifted.

Yup, still busy . . . these days are just flying by and before I know it, it’s late at night. So, more samples of photos that will appear in future posts (with others, of course). Yesterday morning, a few Northern Mocking birds frolicked in my backyard . . .

They gave me lots of opportunities to get decent photos both with the D7500 (above) and the P900 (below).

Yup, still busy . . . but, I want to give a glimpse of a few things coming up. Meaning, these are photos that will appear in future posts (with others, of course). For instance, bugs . . .

I have a ton of hummingbird videos and photos . . . I’ll need to decide what and how much I want to share, but whatever it will be, it will look something like this . . .

The “Z” stories voting block is live and running . . . and still not getting much love (votes). At this point, I don’t know why . . . perhaps our readers don’t want it to see it end and are avoiding reading the stories, hoping that will forestall the end.

If you’ve been a loyal reader of our offerings and someone who votes, you have the writer’s unending gratitude.

Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge Z-Stories” are HERE(link). Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Thursday, April 8th, 2021.

So, stuff . . . let me begin with WordPress making another change, this time to the Admin menu(s). You can read about it here (LINK). If it’s confusing, basically, they are making it difficult to find and use the Classic Editor again . . . still. Save your version of the link below to create new posts using the classic editor and to still be able to edit posts using the Classic Editor as described in THIS POST<<link. The menu mentioned in Step 5 of that post is now difficult (if not impossible) to get to via the menu options, but the direct link still works:


So, for instance, I would replace “{blogname}” with “disperser”. In that menu, you’ll still be able to create posts using the Classic Editor, and edit posts created with the Classic Editor without having to convert them to the Block Editor. 

Note that WP will tell you the Classic Editor has been deprecated (they actually mean defecated on). They don’t tell you you can still use it, but you can.

OK, so what else?

These summaries always stall when we get to the fourth quarter . . . I mean, that was just a few weeks ago, right?

Well, here’s the thing . . . it’s a few weeks ago for regular readers, but digital media archeologists hundreds, if not thousands, of years from now, probably won’t have the time to sift through three months’ worth of posts and likely will appreciate this summary.

I mean, do you know how much content they’ll have to sort through? Well, let me tell you, but first, a photo . . . a photo from one of the first non-reminder posts of the quarter<<link . . .

Anyway, the number of 2020 tweets future digital archeologists will be confronted with? … roughly 200 billion tweets (an average of 6,000 tweets per second) . . . think your tweet will go viral? The odds are not good.

What about Facebook? … well, as of October, 2020, there are 3.21 active Facebook users. Sure, a billion of those are probably Russian and Chinese bots making sure we stay mad at each other, but that still leaves 2.21 billion users sharing all manner of dubious information and pet photos . . . daily. 

What about blog posts? … here are the (depressing to bloggers) statistics (LINK). . .

If there’s a social platform with any traction, I usually have an account on it (whether I use it or not) . . . which means I have both a Facebook and a Twitter account . . . which I will cease using.

Mind you, I won’t erase the accounts for the same reasons I got them in the first place — they lock down my identity on those platforms — but anyone following me should understand that  I won’t be logging on or checking my feed on either platform. And, this will be the last post on them. I won’t even read responses to it because the notifications will be turned off.

“Big whip!” some say, “Good riddance!” others add.

Some might ask “Why?” Let me tell you.

The Alphabet Challenge<<link stories and the reminders to vote once again made up the bulk of posts for July, August, and September. Note: that search result is just for the stories (in reverse order). If you want the results, click this LINK.

By July, I had (mostly) shaken my habit of mentioning COVID-19 and concentrated on writing reminders to vote for stories. It wasn’t until the middle of the month that I wrote something else . . . but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Again, I’ll begin with photos . . . 

This masked opportunist gave me the first set of photos of the Third Quarter. Side note: you can use the calendar option on the sidebar to see all of the posts for a given month or individual dates.  

I’m I was on a 186-day streak . . . meaning I’d posted at least one post per day for 186 days. It’s not my longest effort, but it’s still significant.

Again, a lot of the posts had to do with The Alphabet Challenge. Still, 2020 saw me put up 414 posts . . . which had an average of 7 comments per post (2,809 total comments, although at least half of those are mine since I answer every comment).

I’ll explain the monochrome part in a moment.

The Alphabet Challenge<<link stories and the reminders to vote continued — and will continue as we go forward — to contribute the bulk of the blogging content. Note: that search result is just for the stories (in reverse order). If you want the results, click this LINK.

I had erroneously mentioned on my previous update that in March I had pretty much given up writing about COVID-19 and related stuff. Well, I must have shut a lot of it out of my mind because April 2020 saw many posts relating to COVID-19 and associate issues. This LINK brings up all the posts where I mention COVID-19, even if only in passing. But, to be sure, there are many posts (too many) dealing with masks, social distancing, statistics, bat-shit theories, misinformation, disinformation, etc. etc. . I’m posting it here because I really don’t want to keep mentioning it as I go forward. If interested in revisiting what was on my mind about COVID-19 in April, May, and June, knock yourselves out.

So, was there anything NOT involving COVID-19 and the Alphabet Challenge? A few things, but I’ll begin with photos . . . 

Once again, the bulk of the photos come from the ‘reminder to vote’ posts. A few exceptions are covered below, but the short reminder posts with a few photos each pushed my photo processing along.  

From the previous year-end update, it should be obvious to everyone that — by volume — the big contribution for the year has been from The Alphabet Challenge<<link stories. Note: that search result is just for the stories (in reverse order). If you want the results, click this LINK.

The Alphabet Challenge disproportionally contributed both directly and indirectly because not only were there five posts relating to it every few weeks (three stories, one voting post, one results post for each round) but I also had daily reminders during the rounds.

I’ll mention some exceptions below, but The Alphabet Challenge also dominated in contributing photos. It’s tough picking a favorite from the first quarter’s reminders . . . but it’s easier picking one for each month’s reminders, starting with January’s . . . 

The photo I liked best for January is this, from the  Orphans<<link posts. . .