Is Flickr Still A Thing?

Recently I was bit by the shutterbug again! Being outside and collecting pecans, the vivid fall colors of the leaves caught my eyes. So I tried taking some photos to capture their beauty. I’m not saying I succeeded, but I enjoyed it none the less.

When I thought about sharing my pictures of late, I wondered if Flickr was still a good site to use. Short answer: I think it is!

I downloaded the Flickr app to my iPhone and iPad and visited the website, started a new account, and uploaded a sunset I happened to catch on my way home from work the other day.

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After all these years and changes, Flickr is still a great place to enjoy photography with others. There’s still no other site quite like it. And I hope it stays that way.

One thing I’ve always enjoyed about Flickr is using its camera finder to see which cameras are the most popular. And a big trend was just re-confirmed. Flickr announced their 2017 year in review, and smartphones (shouldn’t we just call them smartcams now?) are the dominant camera type used by millions to capture and share their pictures online.

As much as I like the picture quality you get from DSLR cameras, the good-enough quality combined with the always-with-you convenience of a smartcam works best for me.

My iPhone 6 is my trusty camera with a built-in phone for calling a friend. Try holding up a Canon 5D Mark III to your ear and phoning someone. OK never-mind! Kidding.

If you enjoy photography but haven’t tried Flickr, give it a shot (pun not intended)! And maybe connect with me there too.

Living With Less Is Enough

A notion struck me about a year ago. I don’t know if it could be called an epiphany or not. But it was like the movie Inception; an idea seemed to be deeply planted into the core of my being. It moved me to make some changes in my life, including one of the biggest: moving to a new home. The idea was: “enough.”

Before the idea of enough took hold of me, I thought that moving to less of something meant…settling for less, sacrificing my current level of comfort. And who wants to lower their standard of living when you could have more!?

I thought the idea of less would mean giving up things I was holding onto. I had an aversion to loss; I just couldn’t let go of some things I had or even things I wanted to attain. The idea of owning less seemed inconvenient and impractical; it made me feel uncomfortable.

Instead of having less, I thought the opposite – I would need more!

But in the end, thinking about the idea of enough caused me to see things differently. I began to realize that fewer things, possessing older or simpler things, could still meet all my needs…sufficiently.

Fewer things and older things are not lesser things; they are enough!

What I thought was less was actually enough. Knowing that, I became able to freely let go of the many better things I was holding onto without feeling loss or fear.

With that big turn-around, I felt a calming freedom, a kind of contentment, which allowed me to make a bold move to a new home. Only it was really an old home! It wasn’t necessarily a lesser home, just an older home. Not only that, it was a smaller home, but still, not a lesser home. In fact, it was enough home for us.

My wife and I with our 5 sons moved from our 1,500 sq ft home into a 1,200 sq ft home. We went from having two bathrooms to sharing only one – without even a bathtub for our 2-year old! Scary…but it works. Although difficult sometimes, it’s enough!

Don’t let what you want get in the way of what you need.

There are other big examples too. We need mobile transportation from point A to point B. We want the newest nicest car. Because for some reason a 5 year old used car isn’t quite as shiny even though it runs great. We need mobile communication to and from others. We want the latest fanciest iPhone. Because somehow anything less just isn’t enough to make phone calls and texts.

And because the fancy car and amazing phone cost too much, suddenly we don’t have enough money! Really? So then we finance or subsidize, hoping that we somehow will have enough money in the future, month after month, year after year of payments.

If you can sort out your needs from your wants, things start getting simpler. Not lesser. Simpler isn’t lesser. In fact, simpler is usually better.

What’s better really, to get more or be content with what you already have? We can look at what we have and be thankful and content. Or we can look at what we don’t have and think we don’t have enough, which means living in discontentment. This makes the things you already own (and could be enjoying) become disregarded and then discarded.

Just because you say, “No” to more doesn’t necessarily mean your saying “Yes” to less. Rather, you’re realizing that what you already possess is enough.

In a materialistic consumer culture, contentment is hard to come by. Like happiness, you can’t buy it in a store. If that were possible, I’d order it on Amazon with next-day shipping instead of 2-day shipping!

But haven’t we consumed enough?

The End of Newsfeed Distraction

Several weeks ago, I found myself once again mindlessly scrolling the Facebook Newsfeed with my thumb, glancing blankly at each passing post. I had opened the app for a specific reason but somehow got distracted, forgetting what I was there for. I’m sure you’ve heard of this habitual phenomenon before; it happens often.

I got frustrated by it, snapped out of my mindless scrolling, and decided to try and put an end to it once and for all – without deleting or deactivating my Facebook account.

So what did I do? I did what many people, myself included, have done before. I simply tailored my newsfeed by unfollowing (in other words, decluttering) people. But there was one big difference this time. I pushed it to the limits!

I decided to try and see what would happen if I unfollowed everybody – including my own wife! I wondered, would the algorithm show me anything? Would there still be ads?

I figured I’d give it a shot and then slowly re-follow some people one at a time. Basically, I would start my newsfeed over with a fresh clean slate and then build it back to a cleaner and leaner…source of distraction – I mean information, right?

Unfollowing everybody worked! It’s been over a month now and my newsfeed distraction problem is solved.

Much of the time, my newsfeed is literally blank! Sometimes, I will see only the last few of my own posts. And once in a while there is an ad. The only other posts I will see are the occasional ones Facebook promotes like Memories. There are usually 4 posts or less, so there’s nothing to scroll through on auto-pilot.

I figured I would re-follow some people, but because my newsfeed is so clutter free and since I have really enjoyed being released from the mindless scrolling distraction, I decided to not add anyone back to follow!

So if you’re tired of being distracted and want to escape some of the digital clutter of your social media, give it a try; unfollow everyone!

Here’s a few other points to consider: You will still be friends. You can still just look up your friends on their Timeline to see how they’re doing. You can still message them. You will still get notifications from friends if you want to. And no one will know that you unfollowed them; Facebook doesn’t notify others of unfollows.

After you unfollow everyone and see what it’s like, you can decide whether to add anyone back to follow and slowly rebuild your simplified newsfeed. Or you can just keep it as minimal as possible – keep everyone unfollowed.

The Anxious Summer of 2017

After a long hiatus, I’m dusting off the Jason Journals site. Blogging is something you’re supposed to do consistently if you want regular readers. Well I might say I’m consistently inconsistent. But my absence from the blog over the summer has been due to more than my usual on-and-off interest in the blog-o-sphere. 

I’ve had a lot of things going on this year – big changes – which brought a lot of stress! And then in May, I started having anxiety attacks. The short story is I’ve been wrestling with anxiety off and on for about the past 5 months.

Even though I’m not out of the woods yet, I seem to be better. So I’d like to get back to blogging since it’s something I enjoy. I might blog about my journey with anxiety, but I’m not sure I’m ready to do that.

Personally, I have found private journaling to be helpful in processing the challenges that I have faced. Stepping back and observing my anxieties objectively through the tool of writing seems kind of therapeutic.

Publicly, if I journal some of my thoughts concerning “excessive concern” here on Jason Journals, then maybe whoever reads my blog will be able to relate and be helped somehow.

I know there are many people who suffer from anxiety; I never thought I’d be one of them. But soon after my initial anxiety attacks, I found myself suddenly being very empathetic toward those who, like me, have wrestled with debilitating anxiety.

So I guess I’ll see how it goes for now. Thankfully, I do have other things on my mind besides anxious thoughts that I’d like to write about. I’ll try not to worry or stress over it!

Why I Like Republic Wireless

Liking Freedom

After years of buying into 2-year contracts with cell phone carriers, I finally broke free! I must give credit to Republic Wireless for that, and also to Walt Mossberg; his latest review of RW’s new technology gave me the push to give it a go! OK, also, Amazon’s Prime deal on a couple of phones helped too. So if, like me, you try to be frugal and minimal, or you like affordable and simple, read on.

I’ve had the candy bar phone. The flip phone. The iPhone. The Android smartphone. All on 2-year contracts. Every time. And that despite always wishing for a cheaper alternative that didn’t lock me into a service agreement. And until recently, the few options that fit the bill had too many caveats, required me to give up too much, or in some way had deal-breakers.

Affordable

The deal I ended up going with is on Republic Wireless 3.0 plans. A modern smartphone with plenty of data and unlimited calls and texts: $20 per month.

$20!

It may seem too good to be true, but it’s totally true. I don’t think there’s a better deal out there. So RW is affordable, which may be it’s best feature. The benefit: I save a lot of money for other things.

Simple

RW is also simple. I was able to buy an unlocked phone from Amazon, pop in an RW SIM card, download the RW app, and got signed up and running right away, even porting my number from my locked Verizon phone (contract fulfilled). The website, the app, and the way RW service works…it’s all very straightforward.

How can this all be true? Republic Wireless works differently than the big 4 carriers. They rely mostly on Wi-Fi for phone service instead of using cell towers so much. Also, I think they’re what’s called an MVNO. Basically that means when they do use cell towers, the piggy-back on towers maintained by the big 4 carriers.

Reliable

However it all works, I have found RW reliable. Most of the time, I get LTE data and cell coverage. Even in the rural area I live north of Abilene, TX (piggy-backing on T-Mobile), I get coverage (albeit spotty sometimes).

If you’re thinking about trying Republic Wireless, the thing that helps is the fact that you can buy a really good phone for cheap, one that is unlocked. That means it works on any cell carrier instead of only one. So you can buy a phone you like and try it on RW, and if it doesn’t work out, you’re free to try your phone on any other carrier!

This is what helped me try RW for myself. No lock-in. No contract. No exorbitant fees. No high prices. No strings attached. No non-sense. No gimmicks. And by the way, their community support forums are helpful. RW has a grass-roots, friendly vibe to it. I think the word for it would be authentic.

And that’s why I am sharing this info with you. This is not a sponsored post. I was not contacted by anyone to do this. I just really like Republic Wireless and want to tell you about them; there are really great options besides the big 4 carriers!

If you want to break free from expensive cell phone plans, give Republic Wireless a call!