Are you an amateur, enthusiast, or a pro?

Many of us have hobbies, things that we enjoy doing but not necessarily spend a lot of time, money, or much effort. Some of us have other passions where we dedicate more time, more money, and a lot of effort; I think we can call ourselves enthusiasts on those topics.

Professionals are defined, I think, by the fact that they will get paid in exchange for the work they do. For example, a professional photographer is that person who gets paid to photograph products, people, homes, etc.

An amateur photographer will take photos, get a good camera, although not an expensive one, and probably won’t get too deep into the world of photography.

Now, and this is my opinion, an enthusiast photographer is that person who might be as skilled as a professional photographer but doesn’t yet do it for a living while still dedicating a fair amount of time to this task, and enough money to get a better camera, or cameras.

Who cares about this? I am not sure. I am writing this because I was thinking about my progression as a photographer, and while I don’t do it for a living, I spend a lot of resources on it.

This all came up when I decided to update my bio on Twitter and Instagram. I was about to type “amateur photographer” but changed it to “enthusiast photographer.” It fits better.

After all of these years, countless hours, trips, money spent on equipment, walks, etc., I think I have graduated from an amateur to an enthusiast. It also sounds better, right?

Ditching Gmail for Fastmail

Gmail is a good service. It’s fast, reliable, and I like the interface of their mobile app and website. But the cost for this service is too high, at least it is for me right now. Gmail is not free; you pay by allowing the service to show you ads based on what’s in your email, how often you open it, and what emails you read. You pay for Gmail by sharing your data and disregarding your privacy.

I started using Gmail when Hotmail became too annoying to use. At the time, Gmail was new; it offered 1GB of storage (an incredible amount when compared to what Hotmail and Yahoo Mail provided at the time), a clean interface, and of course, a fast and reliable search function.

Gmail was also always better than Yahoo Mail and Hotmail at stopping junk email from getting at the top of your inbox, and I appreciate that very much. The concern with Gmail is that they scan your emails to find keywords or phrases that are used for advertisement purposes.

I want to move all of my stuff under the same domain, my blog, email, newsletter, etc., and as I prepare to do this, I will use this opportunity to move my email to a paid service that offers privacy.

At this moment of my life, paying for an email service with dollars is more cost-effective than paying by sharing my data and giving up my privacy.

I’ve heard of Fastmail, Protonmail, and others for years, but I am choosing Fastmail for now. Fastmail’s privacy and security features are what I am looking for, and for $5 a month for their standard service, which includes up to 30GB of space, I am sold.

The good thing is that since I am using my domain name with my email, switching email providers won’t affect my ability to send/receive messages as it will always be the same email address.

My recommendation for everyone out there is to get a domain name, get an account with a paid email provider that respects privacy, and own and protect your data as much as possible.

¡Hasta la próxima!

Started using a logbook

This year I started writing a logbook to capture daily events, so far it’s been working well, it’s really easy for me to write daily events and other things and just do about a small page per day. I write down things like the food I ate, important events, meeting summaries, etc. Anything that I think I should record I add to this daily logbook.

Logbook: an official record of events during the voyage of a ship or aircraft

definition by Oxford Languages

The logbook is easy to maintain, I’m using this Moleskine 12 month daily planner, its small size makes it easy to carry. Also, the small size motivates me to write down on a page every day knowing that it will fill out quite quickly.

logbook image

This is not going to replace my journal or the planner I use for work, instead, it’s just an easy way to write down highlights of my day in a quickly and effortless manner. I have been doing this just for a week and it’s already paying off as writing down these specific daily events help me remember them better.

logbook image

I’ll report back and tell you how it’s going later after using the logbook for a few more months.

Looking for a simpler blogging platform

For years I’ve been using WordPress for all my blogging needs. But lately, every time I log in to WordPress and try to write a new post, I’m annoyed by all of the administrative options. I get it; they are useful, but I want to get basic analytics and an editor for my blog, that’s it.

I’ve been looking at other options such as Ghost, Tumblr, Posthaven, Substack, Medium, and even launching a custom-written blog. At first, I thought using a Ghost instance hosted under my DigitalOcean account will work, but it didn’t.

Let me explain, I like DigitalOcean, and the Ghost blogging platform seems reasonable, but like WordPress, Ghost has been adding more features and making the blogging platform less simple.

Posthaven is also another blogging platform that looks interesting. The founders promise to keep it simple and not selling the company to anyone, which I appreciate. However, Posthaven looks a bit abandoned. The last post in their blog as of the writing of this post, it’s from 3 years ago.

I also signed up for Substack, but it’s not what I am looking for after looking closely. Substack targets their platform to people who have newsletters or want to charge for their content.

I’m writing these words using the Ulysses app, and I wish there were a service out there that will allow me to publish these words directly from my text editor to a web page previously configured with my custom domain; that’s it. Now, the Ulysses app allows me to publish my writing directly to WordPress and other platforms, but I still have to deal with WordPress at the end of the day.

Maybe there is something out there that I haven’t discovered yet, or perhaps I should write or customize one of the many open-source blogging apps available out there. I don’t know.

I want to start writing more and manage my blog less. I know it is possible, and maybe I’ll find what I am looking for within WordPress; maybe the Post by email feature will suffice, but if you have any other suggestions, please send them my way.