Chris Hannah

Having an Advert on my Blog

I've had a single advert on my blog for quite a few years now, and while it tends to average out to make the blog sustainable—as in it covers the hosting costs—but it's still an advert, and adverts (in my opinion) are ugly.

For some transparency, over the last 12 months, the single advert on my blog has brought in $179.89 which works out just below $15 a month on average. The running costs of this blog are $14.40 a month ($12 plus VAT). I  also have an automatic backup that adds on a few extra dollars, but that's more for my peace of mind than being absolutely necessary.

Here's a detailed breakdown of the last 12 (full) months:

Month Impressions Clicks Earnings
February 2023 5,549 8 $5.97
January 2023 7,342 9 $9.8
December 2022 8,508 11 $13.95
November 2022 11,433 21 $22.86
October 2022 6,718 19 $9.34
September 2022 7,938 12 $13.52
August 2022 6,000 7 $9.95
July 2022 10,074 17 $16.84
June 2022 9,409 23 $17.57
May 2022 11,930 35 $17.13
April 2022 10,657 24 $19.08
March 2022 11,980 18 $23.88

I don't know how much a typical blog brings in via advertising, so I don't know if this is coming from a priviledged position or not. But the whole time I've had an advert on my website, I've wanted to remove it.

As you may have noticed, the design of my blog changes quite regularly. But I tend to always come back to very minimal styling, with an emphasis on the actual words. So the advert, while small, still sticks out.

When I view blogs like Manual Moreale, Craig Mod, Brent Simmons, or Riccardo Mori, it makes me want to slim down the design of mine.

It's not just the advert at the bottom of the page either, I go through these thoughts with all types of parts of my blogs design. Something else I've toyed with removing is the date below the post title. That may seem silly, but it's not typically essential when reading a post on my blog, so should it be there?

I could go on to say the same about the navigation links in the footer, the copyright text, the weird request to "buy me a coffee" if you enjoyed a post, etc.

Ironically, I could go and really minimalise my blog right now, removing everything apart from the title, navigation, title, and post content. But in a few months time, I'd slowly start to add it back.

Note: I have now slightly "minimalised" the design of my blog since writing this. Although as mentioned on Mastodon, there's still further I can go.

I'll Read It

Manual Moreale is a very good advocate for writing a blog, and has offered to help people to start writing by offering them a reader to start them off:

I'll read it. If you decide to start a blog in either English or Italian, I'll read it. I don't care about the topic. Start a blog, write something, send it to me, and I'll read it. And you'll have your first reader. If you add an RSS feed to your blog, I'll add you to my reading list, and I'll keep reading what you post.

I think the internet would be a more interesting place if more people blogged, no matter if it was about a specific subject, personal experiences, or just their thoughts. So I'd like to join in on this, and say, that I too will read it.

If you want another reader for your blog, send it to me, I'll read it.

The Grand Seiko Spring Drive

I've seen Grand Seiko watches before, but I've only ever really thought about them as a dressed-up Seiko. Probably because I'd never actually researched into the unique movement that the watches have.

Personally, I'd always prefer a mechanical movement over a battery-based Quartz movement. Especially if I'm spending a decent amount of money on a watch.

However, I wasn't aware that the Grand Seiko Spring Drive was it's own unique movement. In simplistic terms, it's a combination of a mechanical and Quartz movement. However, to say it's a hybrid approach is probably not giving it the credit it deserves.

Teddy Baldassarre has made a great video that really shows the beauty of the Spring Drive movement:

A mechanical watch movement, with the accuracy of a Quartz movement? I'm starting to think that I will eventually end up owning one of these.

Edinburgh Photos February 2023

I took a small trip to Edinburgh early last week, and I decided to play around with a new lens I bought recently. I'm pretty happy with a few of the photos, although I've definitely learned a lot more about my camera and the new lens.

To cut to the chase, the camera I used was a Fujifilm X-T100, and the lens is a fully manual Meike 25mm 1.8. Getting used to the manual focus took a while, although I do appreciate a softer focus, so it never needed to be perfect.

Here are the photos I liked most from the trip:

📷 Chinatown, London.

Fujifilm X-T100 | XC35mmF2

Some Thoughts on Smartphone Photography and the Rise of Good Photos Over Great Photos

I'm having a bit of a photography-obsessed afternoon today, and while I was researching people's opinions on using old cameras/phones for photography, I came across a video focussing on using an iPhone 7 to do street photography.

If I'm honest, I don't think the video review itself was very useful, or at least it wasn't what I was looking for. It seemed to focus on the raw camera qualities of the phone, being able to take super fast photos, and taking a really small crop and still being able to have it printed, rather than what kind of photos the camera produced. But it did make me think about what I appreciate about photography, so that's something.

There was one quote from the video that stood out to me though, although probably for different reasons than intended:

In Apple's quest to make every photo a good photo, sadly no photo becomes a great photo.

While I don't think it's particularly true that you can't take great photos on iPhones, or that this is a result of Apple's goal to improve its camera. I do think that in general, too much focus is put on taking a good photo, rather than creating a great photo.

When you watch reviews of cameras online, they spend the time talking about the fastest shutter speed, resolution, aperture, and battery life, but very rarely the characteristics of the photos that they produce. Maybe it's because I see photography as an art form, rather than an act of documenting the world. It could also be that this just is what modern photography is nowadays.

When I think about what a great photo is, it's never the level of detail in the image, or that every face is clearly lit. I care more about the feel of the photo and the mood that was captured. Maybe that's why I stray towards old cameras/phones, 35mm film, and "retro" camera apps.

There's definitely something about harsh shadows and a bit of grain that I appreciate, but I think it goes deeper than that. Film photos feel more like real life to me. Whereas I get the feeling that camera manufacturers (inc. Apple) want to remove the messy human element and create photos that are technically good but have no feeling to them.

I guess this somewhat relates to what Marques Brownlee said in his recent videos about the iPhone camera, where the emphasis was being placed on making every photo good, but in some cases, the photos felt unnatural, the sky was a little off, or the shadow from a face was removed. There's even a thing called the "Netflix Look" which is the accusation that everything on Netflix looks the same.

With the right skill and tools, you can take amazing photos on the iPhone, but it certainly feels like the rise of the smartphone and its emphasis on computational photography has led to a kind of photography gentrification.

Maybe the reason behind people becoming more interested in old phones, film cameras, and retro-camera filters, isn't just because of some TikTok trend. Maybe it's because they realised that there's more to photography than the generic smartphone sensor and post-processing effects.

Create a 9-Patch Border with Broider

Pretty cool little tool by Max Bittker to make 9-patch borders in CSS. Reminds me very much of the pixel art in GameBoy games. If you notice a new border anywhere on my website soon, you know where it's from.

Comparing Every iPhone Camera

MacAddress have just released a video where they go through the effort of testing every iPhone camera*, so they could see how it has evolved over the many years. It's pretty amazing to see what the cameras are capable of now compared to the original iPhone. (Although I'd still like to see a little less processing on current iPhones).

One thing they quickly rushed over in the video was that the 3GS is apparently gaining some popularity due to the style of photos that the 3MP camera produces.

PetaPixel published an article "TikTokers are Obsessing Over the iPhone 3GS Camera from 2009" which is also a fascinating read. After looking at the comparisons in that piece, I have to admit, photos taken on the 3GS do have a nice retro/film/nostalgic look to them, that I definitely find pleasing. I think I may have an old 3GS somewhere in my house, so I might need to experiment with that at some point.

*For reasons they explain in the video, this didn't include an iPhone 3G or 5.

Ivory for Mastodon

I can't give any higher praise to Ivory other than that it's largely the reason why I'm still using Mastodon today. Before Ivory, I always felt friction when I tried to use Mastodon. I was drawn back to Twitter because it was easier. But when I finally got on to the Ivory beta, it gave the platform much more weight for me. It was as if this client app suddenly gave Mastodon years of experience in one go, and now I was using a seemingly more mature platform.

You could say that is exactly what Ivory did to Mastodon. Because essentially Ivory is "Tweetbot for Mastodon", and Tweetbot was already a fantastic Twitter client, and had evolved so much throughout the years to reach its final state. And now all of that growth has been applied to a brand new platform.

I won't go into a full app review—Federico Viticci has done a great job of that on MacStories—but I will say that if you're on the fence about Mastodon, I would suggest giving Ivory a go. To get all the functionality you will have to pay a subscription, but you can test it fully for 7 days for free. Which I think is more than enough to discover how much this app enhances the experience of using Mastodon.

If you do feel like giving Mastodon or Ivory a go, you can find me on my own instance at

We're All Just Saying Things on the Internet

I was scrolling on my phone on the commute home today, and I came across someone talking about how you could subscribe to their content for a certain price. I can't remember where I saw it, or who posted it—not that it matters—but it certainly sparked a few chain reactions in my brain.

For context, either I didn't read it fully, or what this "content" was, wasn't explained to me. I can't quite put into words what my first thoughts were, but I couldn't understand the value proposition at all. One thing that flashed across my mind was that this was just someone asking for money and that they were probably going to create this "content" no matter what. So why would someone need to pay a subscription?

I then started putting it into the context of a blog or newsletter to try and understand my thoughts a little better. I kept coming back to the idea that we're all  just saying things. Which surely isn't worth anyone's money? But then maybe there is value behind it. Otherwise, how do you explain blogs, newsletters, podcasts, etc? There's clearly a desire for the opinions and viewpoints of other people, and maybe that's worth money to some people.

It made me think about what I share on my blog. Sometimes I wonder if my blog should contain small fleeting thoughts, my review of a product, or a deeply thought-out essay on a topic. Is this just me "creating content" and hoping someone throws a bit of money in my direction? I don't think so.

I like to think that my blog is just an online representation of myself, my thoughts, opinions, and maybe also just things that I think others may find interesting.

So why would people read my blog?

Well, I guess it's for the same reason that I follow people on Mastodon, why I subscribe to people on YouTube, and why I read so many blogs.

Most of the "content" I consume seems to stem from people going onto the internet to either express their thoughts or share their perspectives. That all seems rather simplistic, but I think it's true.

Does that mean a blog is someone just saying things on the internet? I think that's what I do. I think it's what other people do as well. And I think I like it.

Now on to more current thoughts, is this blog post, me talking to myself, or am I talking to the internet? I'm not sure. But if you've read this far, then you have just caught a small glimpse into what goes on inside my head.