Or perhaps the question should be “were they ever relevant at any point of time?”
Recently I was checking for news about the ongoing political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka and came across a couple of articles that were behind paywalls. Needlessly to say I simply went on to click other links. In this day and age, I just don’t understand how this technique will generate revenue. If I don’t get the news from one source, I just click another link. The explosion of alternative media has ensured that there are a wide range of choices to get news and opinions from. It’s long past the era when one got the latest news from traditional newspapers like The Hindu or Times of India. Today you have these traditional media houses begging for subscriptions to keep them alive, appealing to support “free and fearless journalism.” Well, unless you offer really unique or specialized knowledge that is not available elsewhere, such tactics will fall flat.
While I don’t have any stats, I am sure that paywalling isn’t a successful business model. In an era of dwindling attention spans, getting people to read long-form text content is hard enough, while it’s just trivial to get the same news from some other free source. Also opinion pieces aren’t really worth subscribing to, even if they do come up with click-bait titles and clever previews.
I am divided about this: while I don’t necessarily trust traditional media to indulge in ethical journalism, I don’t want a world where Google, Facebook and Twitter have a stranglehold on delivery of digital content, including news, and monopoly on revenue generated from such content. At the same time, traditional media houses cannot simply use emotive tactics to get people to give them money. We’ve seen how this larger conflict between traditional media and tech giants has played out, with some countries such as Australia legislating that tech giants pay for news content and Canada also proposing a law for revenue sharing between tech giants and traditional news houses, with other countries likely to consider such legislation. It seems fair that when tech giants such as Google and Facebook make money from advertising off content they didn’t create, they must be asked to share the revenue generated from such advertising with the content creator. How effective such legislation will be in the long term remains to be seen of course.
I can well understand that online alternate media has made it difficult for traditional print media to survive and subscription is a tempting revenue source, but even so, charging for access to digital news content from end users does not seem the way forward.
It’s been a while since I’ve paid attention to the photography gear scene, but these days it appears that there are very few affordable, and more importantly newly released enthusiast/prosumer interchangeable lens cameras available on the market (at least here in India). The least expensive DSLR camera I found was the rather underwhelming Canon EOS 3000D (priced ~ ₹27,000), followed by the EOS 1500D (priced ~ ₹37,000), both of which were released in 2018, and are entry-level in Canon’s range. But strangely, no other brand, not even Nikon seems to have stock of any affordable entry-level DSLR models in the market. Even in the mirrorless range there are very few affordable or newer models and most are priced even higher than they were at launch.
Of course, I do understand that the global semiconductor shortage has hit the camera market particularly hard, but even then I expected to find a few more affordable entry-level mirrorless cameras since mirrorless is a fairly mature technology and has been around for a while now and most camera manufacturers have completely stopped manufacturing DSLRs. While I can understand the non-production of DSLRs, I am quite surprised that not a single manufacturer has come up with a truly affordable entry-level mirrorless.
I ran a few random searches for mirrorless cameras and prices on various online stores using google for the cheapest prices I could find for some of the available models. Bear in mind that most of them were released several years ago and are hardly bleeding edge. I’m quoting the price I found for brand new rather than pre-owned:
I’m not even getting into Fujifilm, Olympus or other brands. The INR prices quoted are absurdly insane, and it seems that most models not even available on the markets.
Maybe this phenomenon is India-specific though, since even at the best of times the duty on imported electronics severely impacts the final marked price and many of the newly released models take ages to reach the Indian market anyway. Coupled with the semiconductor crisis that doesn’t seem to be abating soon, I think we have a market where you shell out a premium even for several year old entry-level models.
The dual lens kit. The A6000L single lens kit with the 16-50mm is ~ ₹43,000[↩]
How to design and print business cards cheaply at home using LibreOffice
Another video tutorial, this one on how to design and print business cards cheaply at home using LibreOffice Draw and Writer. Creating video tutorials like this with more editing work is something different that I am trying out. I edited and finalized everything on kdenlive which is an excellent Open Source non-linear video editor on Linux.
I am hoping to create many more like this in the future.
Video tutorial – how to maintain a fuel log with mileage calculator in LibreOffice Calc/Excel
Something different I tried recently. A video tutorial on how to maintain a fuel log with mileage calculator in LibreOffice Calc or Excel with simple formulae. Hopefully this provides some good information.
This is something I am still working on, especially my voice and recording clarity, so please do leave your feedback on the video.
This was done on my iPad with Sketchbook. This time I took a break from traditional watercolour and decided to go with digital painting. Sketchbook has decent watercolour brushes which somewhat emulate the medium. This was a simple piece just to get comfortable with these brushes and I feel reasonably happy with it. While Adobe Fresco has some good live brushes to emulate real watercolour flow on paper, it tended to crash on my iPad. So I went back to Sketchbook which is snappy and lightweight compared to Fresco.
Overall I would love to see Krita available on the iPad. Sadly I don’t think there will be a port available in the foreseeable future thanks to Apple’s licensing policy with regard to GNU GPL.
After a long time, I’ve done a traditional watercolour painting.
After painting digital for a long time, it was nice to head back to traditional media with its challenges and limitations. I felt quite anxious about this one, but decided to be bold and go ahead with painting freely. I think it has come out better than I expected, since I wasn’t too sure if I could control the flow of water on paper. Unlike the standard practices of watercolour, I have made heavy use of colour and layering, and even used white paint. I must look to get better at this with more practice. Done on A4 size 300 GSM “Anupam” brand watercolour paper; it does take quite a bit of water without buckling.
This time I wanted to paint something atmospheric and from imagination. Done with Krita using the RGBA brushes on my XP-Pen Artist 10s as usual.
For this piece, I went with my imagination and had a lot of fun doing the damaged road. On many Indian roads damaged sections are sometimes marked with a branch of a tree planted into the ground by the locals for motorists to sight and avoid, when there is nothing better like a reflective warning triangle available. Night driving is particularly hard on sections of damaged highways with no streetlights and on-coming vehicles, especially heavy vehicles, using powerful high-beam headlamps.
My latest painting in Krita, using the WaterC brushes.
Again, an attempt using the WaterC brushes. I think my style tends more towards acrylic painting than loose and transparent water colours. Like many of my previous paintings, this one is also referred from one of my photos. I don’t know whether I will continue with this brush set in the future, since I like the RGBA impasto brushes better (they have great texture and character). But for now I am reasonably happy with the result of this one.
Another landscape, painted using the WaterC brushes in Krita this time.
Like many of my landscapes, this one too is based off one of my photos. The boat in the lake and the man watching from the foreground are my own additions. I am trying to do improvisations like this to develop my skills further. Though I am not totally happy with the level of emulation of watercolour in this attempt I like the brushes enough to try a few more in the future. Now, if only they weren’t so laggy on my laptop…