This post is about blogging, not photography. So feel free to move on if this doesn’t interest you. But before you do, here’s an unrelated photo to try to make your visit here worthwhile:
Sunrise Surfer – An early morning image, from October 2018, near the Cocoa Beach Pier (click for a larger version).
My blog has been up since May of 2007 and I’ve written almost 600 posts through the years. A few weeks ago, I read an article about broken links and how Google crawls the web and downgrades a site’s search ranking if it finds broken / dead links on web pages.
I knew this, but hadn’t been actively addressing issues. I’m not a commercial site, and search ranking doesn’t affect any bottom line for me, but – well, we don’t want to be left out of Google do we?
Anyway, I’ve had a plugin loaded on my site called “Broken Link Checker” for a long time. I was having some server performance issues a while back and deactivated it. I decided to turn it back on and see what it found. It was disturbing!
> 5100 links total
186 broken or dead links
> 900 redirects
And a few warnings
I’ve been going through and fixing these. Here’s what I’ve done:
If the site I referenced changed and I can find the new page, I updated it.
If I can’t find a new page, in some cases I substituted a different source such as Wikipedia. (By the way, Wikipedia is amazingly good at keeping their links up – none of my broken links were to them.) If I couldn’t find a new page to link to (seems to be a common issue for newspaper articles) I removed the link and marked it as “no longer available”.
On some problems, I just removed the link if it didn’t really need to be there.
How embarrassing! Some of the broken links were to my own pages! These had to do with re-organizing categories and tags. So I went through and fixed these too.
I looked at redirects and they don’t seem to be real issues, so I left them alone.
As of this morning (finally!) all of my broken links are gone.
In the future, I’m going to modify my link philosophy:
I’m not going to be as eager to insert links. Web search is pretty good these days and you can highlight and right-click to get info on anything I write about. And It’ll be current too!
I’ll favor using Wikipedia when it makes sense. There’s less chance those links will break.
I haven’t noticed any performance issues with the Broken Links Checker this time. So I’ll leave it on
Broken Links Checker will email me when it finds problems and I’ll fix them as they come up, instead of ignoring them for too long.
Onward to search results dominance!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
You probably missed my post yesterday, where I wrote about both Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and my struggle to get the blog back up and running. That was because the connection between my blog and the Jetpack plugin that manages emailing each post to all my subscribers broke during the move.
I’m happy to report that the awesome Jetpack tech support folks (thanks James!!!) have fixed the issue and all future posts should go out normally. If you’d like to see yesterday’s, please visit the site or click the link above.
Today’s entry is just a few notes about the blog. First: A photo. This is unrelated really to the subject of this post, but we can’t have a post without a photo – can we? This is from Melbourne Beach, Florida on the morning after the Turtle walk.
Smell the sea, sense the sand, and see the sun rise
Second: If you’re reading the blog using Google’s Reader RSS service or an app or web page that uses it to sync, then you should know that Google is stopping Reader as of tomorrow. There are several alternatives. You can subscribe via email (use the button at the top right), visit using your browser once or twice a week, or adopt a new RSS reader. I’m trying out “The Old Reader“. There’s an IOS app called “Feeddler” that can sync with it. Several others are available too and will come up if you Google “Google Reader alternatives”.
Third: I’ve been behind updating the blog’s Table of Contents page, but I’ve caught up now. If you’ve never looked at it, please check it out. I think it’s a great resource on Central Florida (and other) Photo Ops.
Fourth: I’ve also been very behind keeping my Birding life list up to date. I still haven’t caught up on this, but it should be done later this week. It’ll have a few new (for me) birds from earlier this year and will be re-organized and sorted to align with the ABA bird checklist.
I’ve had some requests for an email option to Central Florida Photo Ops. Starting today, I’ve enabled a subscription service. You can sign up by entering your address over in the right sidebar, and I’ll send you an email whenever the site is updated.
Rest assured that your address will never be shared with anyone or used for any purpose other than this blog subscription. As always, Central Florida Photo Ops remains a non-commercial service for my readers.
Please note that you can continue to subscribe to blog updates via RSS. Simply click on the RSS icon in the top right corner to have updates delivered to your RSS reader.
This past week, I noticed a problem with my blog. I was looking at an older post and the photos weren’t showing up. I’ve been working to correct this all week and I almost have it done. What happened? Read on.
In early 2009, I wasn’t happy with the flexibility and customization provided by Google’s Blogger service, so I decided to move my blog to my own web server and use WordPress. I won’t get into a debate here about the relative merits of the two platforms – you can find too much info about that on the web. Suffice it to say that after more than a year of use, I’m very happy with WordPress, it’s useability, flexibility, and how easy it is to customize. I don’t regret my decision to move at all.
However, this particular problem has been a bear to fix. When I switched to WordPress, I used one of its features to import all of the posts from my old blog into my new one. This worked very well and made the switch mostly painless. I guess I should have known that was too good to be true.
The import process of course imported all of the links to photos within the existing posts. But the links point to the original location – on Blogspot. At the time, I realized this and since everything displayed correctly, I just accepted it and moved on. Over a year later, it turns out that the source of my problem with missing photos is that some of those links no longer work. So I only postponed the work – I didn’t avoid it.
What I’ve been doing intermittently over the past week is going back through all of my older posts and changing all of the links that point to Blogspot. For photos, I can point to copies on my server or on Flickr. But sometimes, I don’t have a photo anywhere but on Blogspot and in those cased I have to upload the photo as well as change the link. One thing that’s been really helpful is the search function within WordPress. I can easily search for “blogspot” in all of my posts and know which ones I still have to work on.
This is a fairly straightforward problem and solution. It just takes some time to fix. And it also points out that having control of web content used in your blog posts is important. If you’re switching to WordPress, it’s something to be aware of.
I apologize if this has been a problem for you. I should have everything corrected later today, and if you notice any lingering issues in the future, please let me know.
I’m going to depart from my usual practice of one subject per post and include three different ones in today’s entry.
Photos and information on a visit to Gatorland, yesterday.
An update on this blog after three years of publication
A political comment
Feel free to read the portion you’re interested in, or indulge me and look at all three.
1. Gatorland May Day Update
If you haven’t yet visited Gatorland this year, now is still a great time. Yesterday morning, I decided to drive down there to see how the rookery is progressing through nesting season. We’ve had a cold winter in Florida and as a result, the birds are about a month behind the normal schedule. The last time I visited (in March), it was mostly the great egrets building nests, courting, and sitting on eggs. Yesterday the Great Egrets were still very active (many with large chicks), but there are also Cattle Egrets, Tri-Colored Herons, Anhingas, and Cormorants all very actively fulfilling the purpose of life.
By the way, have you looked lately at the Gatorland blog that Mike Godwin writes ? He’s posted a report on the current nesting activity (sorry – no longer available), with a lot of detail and photos. There’s also an active Gatorland Flickr group and looking at the photos posted there on any given day can give you a real good idea of what’s going on.
Here’s some of what I saw yesterday:
Pair of Great Egret chicks in nest: You can get an idea of how far along the Great Egrets are by the size of this cute pair.
Cattle Egret: This one was hiding in the brush, but still posing. The Cattle Egrets seem to be just getting started with a lot of nest-building going on.
Mother Cormorant with just hatched chicks: Not a great photo, but you can see the chicks beside the very protective mother. Their eyes were not yet open and there was another un-hatched egg in the nest, so they had to be only hours old.
Common Moorhen Chick: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a moorhen chick before, but I have to admit I haven’t been paying that much attention to this species. They’re very common in the area.
Wood Storks and chicks on nests: Mike Godwin is a great host at Gatorland. He made sure we knew where these nests were so we could photograph them. There were two right next to each other and they were very crowded and active.
You can click on any of the photos above to view them on Flickr. You can also take a look at my Gatorland set on Flickr for some other photos from yesterday (the last nine in the set) as well as from previous visits.
2. Happy Birthday, Blog!
My first post was on the 4th of May, 2007, so it will be three years old on Tuesday. Not a long time in absolute terms, but more than a lifetime for some in “internet years”.
The blog has morphed a bit since then. Originally it was just a place to share my photos, photo experiences, and talk about photo related ideas. I still do that, but I’ve added a theme around all of this: I try to find interesting places around here to make photographs and then post blog entries including links to information about the places as well as some hints on what’s there and how to photograph it. My hope is that this will be interesting to photo enthusiasts visiting the area as well as people who live here. I know I’ve looked for similar blogs when I travel.
With this one, there are a total of 89 posts so far which is an average of about two per month, although lately I’ve been doing pretty well keeping up with my goal of one post each week. Of these, 45 are tagged “CFL Photo ops”, about photo opportunities in the area.
As near as I can tell from my server logs (and disregarding spam and robots), I seem to modestly successful – at least some people are reading what I write. If I’m interpreting the CyStats log correctly, I have over 100 RSS subscribers, and about 10 – 30 visitors on average each day. They are from multiple countries, which is really nice. The most visitors I’ve had in a single day was close to 200 early this year after Jim Goldstein posted his “best photos of 2009” entry on his blog. Thanks, Jim! The most viewed page is the main page, with the My Favorite Photos of 2009 post coming in second.
The most used browser, by a slim margin is Internet Explorer (~51%), followed by Mozilla, Firefox, Safari, etc. Many people still use IE version 6.0. If that’s you – update! Modern browsers are much more capable and secure.
Recent, frequent external search terms include things like: “focus bracketing”, “gatorland photographers”, “central florida photos”, “orlando bird photography”, “alligator farm orlando”, “orlando photo ops”, “photographing birds in central flordia”, “good area to photograph fl”, “central florida places to photo”, “wildflower photography in florida”, “photographing birds in central florida”, “photographing wildlife in central florida”, and “ed rosack”. I’m pleased that people are finding my blog with those search terms.
Of course, I’m my most loyal reader. I’ve enjoy writing it, but I also really enjoy going back and reading it and looking at the photos. I guess it really is a blog in the sense of a personal journal.
And what’s up with all the weird spam comments? Do they really think I’ll let those through? Would anybody? Why do they keep sending them?
I don’t really have any plans to change the blog going forward. However, I’d really like to figure out how to encourage more genuine comment and interaction. And, I’m always open to your ideas and suggestions. Especially for places around here to visit!
3. Warning – Politics Ahead
Caution – I apologize, but this paragraph is political. It does relate to photography and nature in general. Read at your own risk.
As I wrote down the words in topic one above about witnessing nature in all its glory, I couldn’t help but think a great deal about the gulf coast shoreline and what is beginning to happen there to countless birds, their chicks, and other wildlife from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The impact on people who are continuing to recover from hurricane Katrina will be an additional nightmare still to come. And the news this morning reports that it will eventually reach the east coast of Florida too as the Gulf Stream current spreads the spill.
The scope of this disaster is unprecedented – and it was a remote possibility. We can’t jump to conclusions yet, but complacency and the bottom line during the design of this oil drilling rig sure do seem to be causing great damage. I wonder how many of the decisions that were made in the design were probably financial in nature and not based on the worst case outcome, which by the way is occurring? The platform was either not designed or not built to preclude or handle it.
I also wonder if there are engineering memos or PowerPoint slides somewhere warning of this type of consequence if the design went forward as planned? I wonder how many fail safes in the well shut off valve didn’t fail safe and instead just failed due to shoddy workmanship or poor design? I wonder how the engineers that designed, built, and tested the equipment on that well feel today? I wonder how their management can sleep at night? I wonder how long British Petroleum will take to bring the well leak under control? And I wonder how they will ever undo the damage they’ve done.
So far there are no answers, only questions. And thousands of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico every hour of every day.
The blog has been up and going for almost three years and this is my 75th post. I’ve covered a broad variety of (mostly) photo related subjects.
I tag my blog posts depending on where they’re located. You’ve always been able to filter the blog by clicking on these (and other) tags in the side bar on the right side of each blog page.
With so many entries it’s becoming harder to find information, so I decided to add a Table of Contents / Index page to organize the photo-op information and make it easy to find. You’ll see a permanent link to it at the top of the blog.
Although I can’t promise to keep blogging forever, I do very much enjoy sharing my experiences and I hope to continue for a long time. Your comments and constructive criticism on how to improve the blog, or suggestions for places to visit are always welcome. And if you have questions on the area, please feel free to ask. I’ve lived in here for many years, and just may have the answer you’re looking for. Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.