November 13, 2014
Once again, I find myself required to work in order to earn my paycheck, so there’s just not much time or focus for a post today, so here are a couple of quick notes.
Blog Roll Additions
I don’t know if anyone pays attention to blog rolls or link lists anymore, but if you do, you may have noticed a couple of additions to mine.
My friend, Dave Campbell is re-entering the world of online publishing with his Dave Campbell Outdoors blog. I’ll be right up front and tell you that Dave makes no bones about his political and social points of view, and they’re not for the weak of heart. But I share his link, not for the politics, but for the quality writing and his knowledge of guns and ammo. As the founding editor of the NRA Shooting Illustrated publication, he’s been around the block. What he doesn’t know, his friends will certainly fill in… and some lively discussions are likely to ensue. If I know Dave, the blog won’t just be gun talk, though. Dave still has a great love of hunting and hunting dogs, so I expect we’ll see a good mix of content. But it’s his site, not mine… so don’t hold me to account. Check it out for yourself, and make up your own mind.
Another voice that I, personally, am happy to see returning to the blogosphere is Jim Zumbo. I’ve been reading Mr. Zumbo’s articles since I was just a kid, snatching my dad’s Outdoor Life magazine right out of the mailbox every month. I can’t quote his words or anything like that, but to me (and to a lot of folks) he represents a time when the hook-n-bullet magazines were actually worth sitting down to read. And by this, I mean sitting down in a comfy chair, or on the couch and really reading some real writing… not sitting on the toilet to while away a few minutes. (An irony, perhaps, because nowadays I can knock out everything that’s worth reading in an edition of Outdoor Life or Field and Stream in a single visit to the toilet… and still have time left to daydream. For the first time in over 25 years, I’m actually thinking about letting my subscription to Outdoor Life lapse… it’s just become that worthless.).
Of course, most folks today know Mr. Zumbo’s name from the events of February, 2007. In his usual fashion, with blunt and subjective language, Zumbo derided the “Assault Rifle” on his blog; and in no uncertain terms, declared these guns unfit for the field, and even went so far as to call them “terrorist rifles”. It was an ill-considered post for many reasons, but the fallout was unexpected and unprecedented. Within 36 hours of the post hitting the Web, calls to his sponsors from “concerned” and zealous gun rights supporters resulted in the loss of sponsorship. His blog (under the Outdoor Life banner) was shut down and his name was removed from the magazine’s mast head. He also lost his television show, disappeared from both print and online media, and for a (fortunately) brief period, appeared to become a pariah in the industry. That all passed, eventually, and Zumbo has regained some of his previous momentum. As he says on his initial blog post, “that was then, and this is now.” I’m glad to see him back at it, and hope all the foolishness hasn’t blunted his approach to writing about guns, hunting, and the outdoors.
I’m seeing a trend, or the resurgence of a trend on the blogs I visit these days. I don’t know how many of the bloggers I link to still visit the Hog Blog, and this isn’t intended as a personal criticism to any of them, but here goes.
More and more blogs are requiring some version of registration in order to comment on their posts. This means that, before you can post a comment, whether just to give kudos for a good piece, or to join a conversation, you have to be registered with the site or some registration engine, like Google. Once your information is stored, you can then access the comment functions by entering a password.
I understand the rationale… that this will help to reduce the number of SPAM posts and maybe encourage some level of accountability for the comments. I haven’t done recent research, but I also suspect that having registered commenters is like having subscribers, in that it makes your site more appetizing to potential advertisers and sponsors. So there may seem to be a good reason, in the minds of the blog owners. Anything to bring in more money, right? Who wants to do this stuff for free (besides me, and a bunch of other bloggers I know)?
But as a reader/visitor to many of these blogs, the need to register and to enter a password simply to type in a few words of feedback is asking too much. There are millions of other blogs out there, and with social media sites like Facebook, it’s a whole lot easier just to get some instant gratification elsewhere instead of taking the extra effort to create a profile, remember yet another password, and then log in. That’s just a pain in the ass, really, and an unnecessary one at that.
Is that really the experience you want your readers to have? Is it worth the tradeoff in readership/interaction? How many bloggers out there really have the kind of traffic in the comments section that would justify adding that layer of complexity? And maybe, if you have this registration in place and you’re not seeing huge traffic in the comments section… well, maybe that registration is part of the reason. Like any other software application, you’ve got to make it as easy as possible for your users to interact with the program.
The real power of blogging, in my opinion at least (and it’s not a unique opinion), is the ability for your readers to interact with you and with each other. A successful blog is one that creates an active community of users. That’s why it’s called “social media.”
So why not dispense with that registration foolishness? Turn it off, install one of the reasonably decent SPAM blockers, and call it good. Your readers will thank you.
It Was Only A Matter Of Time
I’m going to close with a product release I just received in my email. This is one of those ideas that I, and I bet many of my other waterfowling friends have bounced around from time to time. The waterfowler’s dry suit!
NEW ORLEANS, LA – Predator Gear has launched the first and only drysuit made specifically for hunting. Its revolutionary design uses a neoprene neck seal, latex wrist seals and completely waterproof zippers to keep you dry and in the field longer.
The one-piece Predator Gear Drysuit is designed to increase comfort and safety for hunters who venture out in the most challenging conditions. Instead of needing breathable waders that leave you wishing for better fitting boots and a waterproof jacket for warmth and protection up top, the Predator Gear Drysuit solves both needs in one product. Unlike waders, you remain agile even while walking in soft mud. Since the suit won’t fill with water like waders. you are safe even if you end up swimming.
“Predator Gear is proud to be partnering with Mossy Oak,” said John Loe, Founder and CEO of Predator Gear. “The combination of either Mossy Oak’s Shadow Grass Blades® or Break-Up Infinity® and Predator Gear’s revolutionary design will give dedicated hunters the ultimate advantage. After years of dissatisfaction with waders you can’t walk in, jackets that leak and gear that isn’t as serious as we are, we’d had enough. So we invented the world’s first drysuit for hunting. The Predator Gear Drysuit is the solution for hunters who will stop at nothing to reach the birds.”
The Predator Gear Drysuit is for any hunting that involves small boats, open water, bitter cold or walking extended distances. Drysuits, when properly worn and maintained, can make hunting in tough conditions safer. While waders can fill with water leading to hypothermia and drowning, a Predator Gear Drysuit keeps water out making it safer and warmer.
The Predator Gear Drysuit is made of a 4-layer waterproof, breathable polyester laminate. It is available in sizes medium to extra large. For more information or to purchase, visit www.predatorgear.com. Be sure to follow on Twitter @Predatorgear and Facebook.
Predator Gear is an official licensee of Haas Outdoors Inc. Haas Outdoors, headquartered in West Point, MS, was established in 1986 and is home of Mossy Oak (www.mossyoak.com). Mossy Oak specializes in developing and marketing modern camouflage designs for hunters and outdoorsmen. Mossy Oak patterns can be found on a multitude of products worldwide. Haas Outdoors Inc. is the outdoor industry leader in modern camouflage design, international licensing and marketing. Haas Outdoors Inc. markets its services and products under widely recognized brands including: Mossy Oak, BioLogic, Mossy Oak Productions, MOOSE Media, Nativ Nurseries, GameKeepers and Mossy Oak Properties.
Seriously, it’s basically neck-to-toe waders! I can’t count the times I wished I had something like this hunting the refuges in California, or the salt marshes in NC where the ducks always stay out there just out of range of the nearest good cover. You know, if you could just slip out there and sit in water up to your neck, you could get those elusive shots. Plus, you can always use them to go do a little spearfishing if the birds aren’t flying!