Sunday, August 30, 2020

Setting the 'featured' image for Open Graph (Facebook) og:image tag in Blogger

After a year of defaulting to my less than flattering profile pic (put there on purpose - I'm not showing off my personal looks, eh?) a coworker encouraged me to dig in and figure out how to set the Open Graph tags to use the image in the post, rather than the default image for sharing.

Illustration of OG Tags in Sharing



First you have to add the Open Graph Namespace. You are going to do all of this in the HTML editor for your blog template:

In the HTML you need to add Facebook’s XML namespace to your page’s initial HTML tag. By default, there will be other namespaces already included, so you will just need to add xmlns:og='' 

Adding the Open Graph Tags

Scroll down in the HTML and just before the closing </head> tag, add the code that will pull images, titles, descriptions and more:

<!-- Open Graph Meta Tags BEGIN --> <meta expr:content='data:blog.pageName' property='og:title'/> <b:if cond='data:blog.postImageThumbnailUrl'> <meta expr:content='data:blog.postImageThumbnailUrl' property='og:image'/> </b:if> <meta expr:content='data:blog.title' property='og:title'/> <meta expr:content='data:blog.canonicalUrl' property='og:url'/> <b:if cond='data:blog.metaDescription'> <meta expr:content='data:blog.metaDescription' property='og:description'/> </b:if> <!-- Open Graph Meta Tags END -->

Testing Your OG tags on Blogger

Save your template, and you can test by finding a post with an image in the body of the post and taking it to the Facebook Developers Tool, or Facebook Lint.  Paste your post URL in the provided URL box, submit, request it to be scraped, or re-scraped, and you'll see what Facebook and most other sharing services will display when your link is shared.  I've tested this in Facebook and Slack, both work.


Twitter does not follow the OG standard and has Twitter Card Tags all of it's own.  Sigh.  Fortunately, it's easy to add them into your blogger template code to create a 'Twitter Card' when your content is shared.

Add in to your meta tags along with to Open Graph tags Twitter specific tags for what kind of content you're sharing, the URL, and title of the post,

<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image" />
<meta name="twitter:url" expr:content='data:blog.canonicalUrl' />
<meta name="twitter:title" expr:content='data:blog.title' />

Then add your Twitter handle and the web domain you want displayed on the Twitter card:

<meta name="twitter:site" content="@willengland" />
<meta name="twitter:domain" content="" />
Next, in the post image condition, after the OG:Image tag, add the Twitter image tag; be sure to add a default image as well, like we did for OG tags.

<meta name="twitter:image:src" expr:content='data:blog.postImageThumbnailUrl'/>
<meta content='' name="twitter:image:src"/>

 After all your image condition and default image OG and twitter tags, set a size:

<meta name="twitter:image:width" content="760" />
<meta name="twitter:image:height" content="380" />

and add a Twitter description after your OG description:

<meta expr:content='data:blog.metaDescription name="twitter:description" '/>
And that's it.  One problem you may run into if you are using an older fixed width template is the images you add are smaller than what Twitter expects, creating a pixilated display image. Try for 720px wide, if that fits your template, for your first image in the blog. Your finished card can be tested in the Twitter card debugger and should look something like this (note my pixilated image; it's well under 720px on the blog post):

Twitter Card Example from a Blogger Post

I hope this helps you to properly tag your Blogger site for social sharing!

- Will England

Friday, August 21, 2020

Event Photography During Pandemic!


Scouts BSA Eagle Banner
I wrote up a blog on my professional / marketing photography site about doing an event shoot during a 12% infection rate (R=1.5+) pandemic:

Went well.  Dicky lighting - people in the shade of the pavilion, bright sun on the grass outside.  I made sure the cameras were set to center weighted evaluative metering; I had my protegee Alec (oldest son) shooting the stills while I ran the livestream off the LG V60 5G, shot the static video and main audio on the 90D and got closeups and B-Roll on the T3i. 

They said they had a PA system.  I offered to get and set up a proper PA system.  They declined.  So I set the Sennheiser mic to low sensitivity, assuming they'd run the PA like I run PA.  No.  Just barely audible on the camera, 20 feet back from the 'mains'.  And they had the mics in front of the mains, so they had to keep it turned way down to prevent feedback.  Le Sigh. If'n we ever do this again, I'm not giving them an option to do  their own PA, I'm doing it.  Pair of dual 12 powered cabs on poles, in front of the wired mic. We had a lot of senior citizens sitting in the back of the pavilion or outside on the grass properly socially distancing, and I guarantee they couldn't hear anything being said.  Shoot your video, photos and sound for the lowest common denominator - the 80 year old with a hearing aid.  Those are the folks that this stuff matters to - the kids won't look at it until they are 80, the parents just want to share it to the grandparents who couldn't be there (who are 80), and the 80 year olds that risk their life to show up -- make sure they can see and hear the damn thing.  :-)

Anyway, rant off - it was a good time; check out a few of the photos: 

- Will England

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Motorcycle Extra Lights - a good idea?

A pleathora of motorcycle headlamps
Being seen, and seeing others and hazards, is a good idea when riding a motorcycle. Recently the question came up about adding flashing lights on their motorcycle for improved visibility. 

Begin at the beginning.

First, be sure you have your main lights as clean and efficient as possible. Upgrade older halogen bulbs with LED bulbs, motorcycle specific.

Second, add driving lights down low - brake caliper or fork mounted.  They provide a 'triangle' of light which adds visibility and depth to your bike.  A single headlight is very hard to identify as a vehicle, how far away it is, and how fast it's going.  

Third, add driving - spot lights -  under-mirror or just under the main light.  These should be on a switched fused circuit, and be used only with your high beams in rural night locations.  They aren't for visibility, they are to see what's on the road ahead of you. 

What about flashing lights on my motorcycle?

On the back is where the rider asked about adding a flashing light.  My advice to him:

Check your location for regulations on flashing lights. Yellow is usually OK; the HAM Radio volunteers often have a yellow lamp used when they are stopped spotting weather or assisting with other emergency situations. Red and Blue are usually verboten.

However, it’s also a target fixation problem — seeing a flashing light makes you a visible target sleepy or distracted drivers can focus on, and hit.

You may look at some of the Back-Off type brake light modulators; additional or brighter rear marker and turn signal lights; SOLAS retroreflective tape or bike specific black reflective decals. The retro reflective decals or tape help your bike show up under the following vehicle headlights very well, without the blinking bits to create a target fixation issue.

The brake light modulators will cause your brake light to rapidly cycle, then go steady as you apply the brakes, giving more notice to people following you that yes, you are stopping now.

Yellow LED marker lights are generally OK by local code, but check your local code first.

Under body glow lights and interior frame glow lights are cool, look great in the parking lot, but can cause issues with the local constabulary, especially if they are red or blue.  Go green, yellow, or skip the bling; they won't add to your safety.

Being Safe riding the motorcycle at night

And overall? Ride like that can’t see you. And if they can see you they are aiming to hit you. That’s combat touring. Your front lights are simply so you can see where you are going, not so others can see you. Remember, these are the folks who cannot see or hear a freight train coming and pull around the crossguards and get hit. 

Hope this is helpful for current and future riders looking at adding lighting for visibility and conspicuity to their motorcycles!  Feel free to subscribe by email to get new posts in your inbox about all sorts of interesting things!

- Will England

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

DaVinci Resolve Write Permission Errors in Windows 10

You've been proactive about protecting your PC from Ransomware - you have all the latest virus definitions updated, the newest anti-virus software installed, and you set up Ransomware protection in Windows Security.

And you want to work on a video editing project in DaVinci Resolve.

But, when you launch the program you get "DaVinci Resolve does not have write permissions for the selected cache path"; "DaVinci Resolve does not have write permissions for the selected gallery path"; and "DaVinci Resolve does not have write permissions for the selected capture path"

DaVinci Resolve Write Error Messages

 DaVinci Resolve does not have write permissions for the selected cache path 

DaVinci Resolve does not have write permissions for the selected gallery path

DaVinci Resolve does not have write permissions for the selected capture path 

(Yes, those are Macintosh paths - error messages and potential solution taken from the Blackmagic Design Forums.)

What's the solution to DaVinci Write Error Messages on Windows 10?

You've opened the folders in  File Explorer, right clicked, and unset 'Read Only'; you've made sure the change applied to the sub-folders. But you keep getting the errors!

Your diligence in protecting your computer from viruses and ransomware has actually caused the problem.  To solve, you need to visit the Virus and Threat Protection settings in Windows 10:

Virus and Threat Protection 

Scroll down and find 'Manage Ransomware Protection' and click the link. 

Manage Ransomware Protection 

When the Ransomware Protection panel is up, click the "Allow an app through Controlled Folder Access". Enter your Admin credentials if prompted.

Allow an app through Controlled Folder Access 

The simplest way is to click the Add an Allowed App, and choose Recently Blocked Apps.  You should find DaVinci Resolve in the list - and when you add it, you'll see the program file in the list of allowed apps!



 Close out of Windows Security, launch DaVinci Resolve again, and you should find the errors have gone away! You can now create or edit a video project in DaVinci Resolve!

I hope this has helped you with your DaVinci Resolve Write Error Messages!

- Will England