The End and New Beginning of OKC Bicyclist

This is cross-posted from OKC Bicyclist . . .

Still Truckin'

Still Truckin’

When I started OKC Bicyclist in 2008, on-line communities for Oklahoma City cyclists were pretty much non-existent. There were a few mailing lists, but there was no consistent source for area cycling news including both events and advocacy. Since then, much has changed both in the local cycling community and with the ways and means to collect and distribute news. We’ve seen both large advocacy groups such as the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition and personal advocacy efforts such as Susan Lash’s All For the Love of Bikes dramatically expand their on-line outreach. In my own small way as the VP of the Oklahoma Bicycle Society, I have tried to expand their blogging and on-line outreach as well. And then there is the technology explosion of Twitter and Facebook which has completely changed how to distribute interesting news and links. At this point, the idea of a link blog such as OKC Bicyclist is a bit of an anachronism and has become a burden for me to maintain.

I have not lost my passion for cycling or cycling news, but, for the reasons listed above, the need for a news site is much less and personal advocacy is now much more my passion than simple reporting. Now I could change OKC Bicyclist to an individual advocacy blog separate from my personal site, but that would still leave me with two sites with two different voices. The fact is that between my day job, my upcoming wedding, trying to get a consulting business off the ground and my work with the OBS and OBC, there just isn’t time to maintain two sites. Therefore, in a couple of weeks I will be merging OKC Bicyclist with my personal site Lost in OK and redirecting all links to there. This will both dramatically simplify my life and allow me to be much more personal in my bicycle writings.

With all that said, OKC Bicyclist is not completely disappearing and in some ways, it may now become much more active and dynamic. While you are free to follow me at Lost in OK or at @lostinokay, those feeds will have a lot of non-cycling stuff in them which may not really be interesting to you. Therefore, I will continue to maintain and update both the OKC Bicyclist Twitter and Facebook feeds. Without the need to write commentary on every local news link I come across, I think you can expect to see a much more responsive and active distribution of cycling news both via Twitter and Facebook in the weeks to come.

Closing a site that I have labored with for the last five years was not an easy decision, but is the only one I think that is practical and personally fulfilling. Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions. And as always, I hope to see you out on the road!


A Digital Reboot

It’s with mixed emotions that I retire my home on the web for the last decade. When I purchased radicalwacko.com back in 2001, I was a young, aggressive Libertarian, who thought that he could and should change the world. In other words, I was an insufferable, young, recent college graduate that you wanted to avoid making eye contact with and save yourself from the pedantic lecture that would inevitably ensue.

Now as an older, crankier libertarian – who increasingly doesn’t give a damn – it starts to be embarrassing to give out a domain like radicalwacko.com. If you are over the age of 35 and still think of yourself as a radical or a wacko, you are either deluding yourself or you really probably should be on a watch list. I actually blush every time the Best Buy clerk asks me for my email address. At a certain point, you have to ask yourself why keep a domain name that you refuse to acknowledge.

With that in mind, I decided I needed a new online persona. I’m still enough of a web geek/creative that I didn’t want to use my own name but I needed a less combative domain name. I purchased lostinok.com a few years ago with no real plans for it, but I just liked the name. More and more, it fits my more questioning mood and attitude.

So while I hate to admit that I don’t like everything about my 21-year-old self, at least I can like the fact that I am able to move on from some of the more distasteful remnants of that passionate, yet annoying fellow.

Of course, it turns out that attempting to change your online persona is actually a pretty daunting task once you get started, especially if you’ve had the same one for a decade or so. Dozens of websites are linked to this persona and hunting them all down is going to take some time.

However, I’m starting the big ones. So going forward, besides finding me here at lostinok.com, you can find me on Twitter @lostinokay (unfortunately, I was too late to get lostinok). At Facebook, you can find me at https://www.facebook.com/lostinok On Instagram, I am @lostinok. You can also reach me via email at nathan [at] lostinok[dotcom]. The rest of them will have to come gradually.

As to the website design, I think I have pushed my desire for retro minimalism as far as it can go. I welcome feedback since this is the first design I have mostly done myself in quite some time, though some credit is due to the Toolbox theme from Automatic.

In any case, I’m hoping that this new start is finally the impetus I needed to be a little more active in my writing and photography. However, if nothing else, it will be nice being able to make eye contact with that Best Buy clerk after all these years.


Stop PIPA

Generally, I avoid joining protests, but occasionally there are ideas so bad that I can’t stay away.  Such is the case with the Protect IP Act (PIPA) which is coming up before the Senate next week.  The goal of protecting intellectual property is certainly a laudable one, but the means to achieve that goal must not come at the expense of the 1st amendment, nor should it fundamentally weaken the technological structure of the Internet.  The Protect-IP bill does all of this with a vague and poorly thought-out bill.

So tomorrow, January 18th, this site will join larger organizations such as MozillaWordPress and Wikipedia in a general internet blackout.  I strongly suggest that you contact your Senator and express displeasure at this heavy-handed approach to IP protections.  For some general background on the bill, please check out the video below:


Internet Blackout Day

Generally, I avoid joining protests, but occasionally there are ideas so bad that I can’t stay away.  Such is the case with the Protect IP Act (PIPA) which is coming up before the Senate next week.  The goal of protecting intellectual property is certainly a laudable one, but the means to achieve that goal must not come at the expense of the 1st amendment, nor should it fundamentally weaken the technological structure of the Internet.  The Protect-IP bill does all of this with a vague and poorly thought-out bill.

So tomorrow, January 18th, this site will join larger organizations such as Mozilla, WordPress and Wikipedia in a general internet blackout.  I strongly suggest that you contact your Senator and express displeasure at this heavy-handed approach to IP protections.  For some general background on the bill, please check out the video below:


Reviving OKC Bicyclist

This site remains the project that I never seem to have enough time for and yet the project I don’t want to set aside.  Over the last couple of months I’ve been missing this site more and more and trying to find the time to write.

Then, at the beginning of the year, one of my favorite bike blogs (especially from a photography point of view), EcoVelo shut down.  I decided I didn’t want OKC Bicyclist to vanish from sight without a strong push to keep the site going and to grow it into the real local cycling news site I’ve always wanted it to be.

So, I’m going to make a real push to keep this site updated the local general cycling news that I’ve always tried to keep in place.  I’m also going to expand the site to cover product reviews and also the sport side of both road and mountain biking.  I’m also going to try to put together a truly comprehensive cycling event calendar.

Additionally, the site will be going through a general redesign of which this current design is a temporary stage.

All of this is going to take some but for those few readers who are still around, I hope you won’t forget about this site.  Also, if any one has any news or story ideas, please contact us at info [at] lostinok.com.


Nik Snapseed

Martian Lake

OK, I have to admit it, for a long time, Hipstamatic really annoyed me.  I think it was because I first learned photography several years before digital photography came into its own and as such, I learned how to do things the hard way.  The effects that Hipstamatic and similar pieces of software produce used to take hours in the darkroom and as such, I felt it was cheating.  I remember working for hours on creating and painting custom emulsions, doing large-scale negative to negative enlargements for special contact print effects and dozens of other labor intensive processes to achieve effects that can now be done in minutes.  Of course, all of that is really silly.  Art must, in the end, be judged by the final product not the process.  I know this may start an unrelated argument, but if I have to know how a piece of art was made in order to appreciate it, then the work is not complete.  In any case, I’ve been using Photoshop for years to fine tune contrast, perform burn-and-dodge processing and the like with no similar feelings of guilt even though even those changes would take several tries and a lot of darkroom time.  As I’ve seen more and more excellent photos coming out of Hipstamatic, I’m starting to get over my old fogey feelings about it.

However, my other complaint about Hipstamatic that still remains is its lack of flexibility.  The limited number of lenses, flashes and film mean that at you end up with a lot of similar looking photographs.  I’ve been looking for a tool that can deliver similar levels of high quality effects but with a lot more flexibility and with Nik Snapseed for IPad, I think I’ve found it.  With this tool you can layer multiple effects out of the hundreds of possible filters.  Additionally, this product provides a wonderfully simple and powerful mechanism to perform burn and dodge effects with its Selective Adjust feature.   Finally, with use of the Apple Camera Connect Kit, I’m able to use high quality photos from my various cameras in the tool.  This tool really brings real photo editing to the IPad.  Additionally, this tool treads well between ease-of-use and professional levels of control.  If you are looking for a photo editing tool for your Ipad, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Below are a few more sample photos that I quickly created with this tool:

Ships Without a Sea Bar JJ's Alley Office Window


Been Riding . . .

Blériot: Maiden Voyage

Photo By: Gino

So unfortunately, it has been another long delay since I was last able to dedicate some time to the blog.  At least this time I was able to spend some time during the last few months getting some great riding in, including a wonderful trip during this year’s Oklahoma Freewheel.  There has been a lot of news in the last couple of months so please have some patience as I get caught up . . .

In any case, this is just a note to let you know that the blog isn’t dead and to let you know that you should expect a large number of updates over the next few days . . .


New Ways to Follow OKC Bicyclist

126238642_3374dcfaaf_o 
Picture By: Mo Riza

Well, it has taken nearly two years of me saying, “Geez, I need to get caught up on OKC Bicyclist,” for me to actually do something about it, but finally it’s done.  Additionally, for the last couple of years, I’ve seen a true explosion in the number of cyclists out there, so I really think that this site could actually have an audience to serve.  So I guess, in a strange way, I’m calling this the grand opening of OKC Bicyclist.

To go along with such a momentous occasion, I’ve put together some other ways to keep up with OKC Bicyclist.  First, OKC Bicyclist now has Facebook fan page where you can see and discuss the latest stories.   Additionally, you can now follow us at @OKCBicyclist on Twitter where not only will you find links to our current stories, but also links and discussion about cycling stories that just don’t make it to the blog.

So, for all of the readers who have patiently waited for somethng to happen hear, I want to say thank you and I hope I won’t disappoint.  And to all of my new readers, welcome, I hope you will all find something useful here.  And finally, to everyone out there, get out and enjoy a ride!

 

Follow okcbicyclist on Twitter 5u84f48n

Hosting Recommendation

For many years now, I’ve been using webhost4life as the hosting company for my various websites.  When I signed up they offered really top notch service and a reasonable price (especially for .NET hosting, which I was primarily using at the time).  However, over the last year or so, their service has become increasingly unreliable and even at the best of times, extremely slow.  Earlier this week, this site went down unexpectedly.  I contacted support and they told me it would be 24-48 hours for a response to the problem.

Well, I know I’m not a big client, but that was a bit much, so I started hunting for a new hosting company.  After scouring the web, I decided upon inmotionhosting.  So far the experience has been extremely pleasant.  The setup process was less than an hour and the sales personnel were very helpful.  Transferring the sites was a breeze and the performance has been spectacular.  Additionally, their business class hosting allows you to host multiple domains under a single account which will save me a considerable amount of money.

Of course, it’s only been less than a week, but so far the experience has been extremely encouraging.