July 27, 2014

Auto Share From Instagram To Your Blogger Blog

Blogger blogs don't get a lot of love from the widget, or plug-in community.  It's probably rightfully so, considering WordPress is really what most would consider the "world class" open-source blogging platform...and well...Blogger works mostly within Google's gated walls.  That noted, I still run a Blogger blog, and I know many of you do as well.

I recently decided to try using Instagram a little bit more.  Many of you who do use Instagram (far more than I do) passively integrate your Instagram photos into your blog by embedding a widget in your blog's sidebar, creating a "slideshow" or "filmstrip," but there's no true way within the Instagram social sharing interface to get your pictures to publish as a Blogger blog post.  You can share/post them to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, etc...just not Blogger.


I happened to find a workaround yesterday that I thought I'd share that is run through a service called IFTTT.com.  It will share your Instagram pictures directly to your Blogger blog, creating an individual blog post through a simple "recipe."  A recipe is simply a command that outlines how when you post something on one app, it will take certain attributes from it, and post them on another app.  In this case, it pulls the Instagram photo, caption, and URL and automatically creates a Blogger blog post of it.

You can actually use IFTTT recipes for many other apps as well - for example, you could set one up to save every PayPal payment you make to a single Google Docs spreadsheet...or have your Weather app send your Gmail account an email every time it's supposed to rain.


I've set up Instagram/Blogger recipes that take your Instagram pic and create a Blogger photo post by either using the hashtag #blog in the caption of the photo, or it will embed the Instagram post into your blog by using the hashtag #embed.

You can set up the recipes to automatically blog post all of your Instagram posts without the use of hashtags, but I thought using the hashtags was a little bit more convenient as it would allow you to be more selective in what you choose to post from Instagram to your Blogger blog.

The cool thing is once you get it to run, if you have a service (such as Networked Blogs) that automatically shares your regular blog posts on Twitter or Facebook, you no longer have to share them on those social networks via Instagram (if you don't want to).  Just post your Instagram pic with one of the hashtags...it will create a Blogger post...and from there gets sent downstream to the other social networks...with all of the traffic pointing back to your blog.

I tested both yesterday and they seemed to both work okay.  I tend to prefer #photo to #embed, only because when it shows up on other social networks later, namely Facebook, their systems can pick up the actual photo to use as a thumbnail image.  That doesn't seem to work with an #embed.

Example of a #Photo Post


Example of an #Embed Post


Confused yet?

If you happen to be interested, you'll simply need to sign up for an IFTTT account either on your desktop, or download the app.  (I'd recommend the app).  From there you can use one of my pre-made recipes below, or try to create your own.  It's not that difficult once you get the hang of it;  far, far easier than I probably make it sound above.  (One note, you may want to change the blog tag on your versions of the recipes.  Mine are set up to tag all of the Blogger posts as "Odds N' Ends," which probably will not work for you).

IFTTT Recipe: Instagram To Blogger Post using hashtag Blog connects instagram to blogger

IFTTT Recipe: Instagram To Blogger Post using hashtag embed connects instagram to blogger

Again, I probably won't use this all the time (if at all), I just thought it might be useful for those of you that are power-Instagram users and also run Blogger blogs.  I'm pretty sure you could use IFTTT to auto-publish to Wordpress too, but I'd imagine there's already a plug-in for that.
  

July 25, 2014

ICAST / IFTD 2014 - BesT! In Show Award

There's a lot of stuff at a trade show like ICAST / IFTD.  So much stuff, you can't even scratch the surface of all of the gear that's on display, let alone go out and try to see it all.  My tactic for the show was to find a showstopper, something that'd make you go hmmm...  Something you just wouldn't expect at all.  One booth did genuinely surprise, and has earned my BesT! in Show for 2014.

When I say the name Hodgman, what do you think of?

Flattering rubber hip boots?


Slimming neoprenes?

Image lifted from HERE

Hopefully not THIS?
Note, probably NSFW...or any circumstance...EVER!
Damn you Google image search!

Well, good ol' crusty Hodgman went and totally blew up all of the geriatric stereotypes with massive amounts of sonic welding, honeycomb patterns, and Gothic fonts in a top to bottom re-branding effort.  I present to you the Hodgman Aesis Sonic Stocking Foot Waders!

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Waders

Now I know what you're going to say...Troutrageous Mike, why are you so witty and ruggedly handsome I thought the Simms Freestone Z Wader won the actual Best Wader in Show award?

Well, you're right, it did.  But did you honestly expect Simms not to have a top flight wader on display that would eagerly be supported by industry insiders?  (Note: Awards sell products).  Simms makes great products and have for quite some time.

However did you expect Hodgman to attempt to fully reinvent itself and build a wader with enough good looks and technical features that any well-schooled fly shop salesman could easily sell it to an eager-to-spend patron quicker than you can say "elk hair caddis?"  Probably not.

So what should make these waders appealing to retailers (& customers)?
Let me rattle off the features...
  • Sonic 2.0 stitch free seam technology - no stitches, less potential for leaks
  • 5 layer V-Tech legs and seat with no inside leg seam for durability
  • 3 layer V-Tech upper for top notch breathability
  • Top loading external pocket with water resistant zipper
  • Micro-fleece lined hand warmers with water resistant zippers
  • Convertible from chest waders to pant waders without removing suspenders
  • Flip out internal storage pocket with removable waterproof touchscreen pouch
  • Stretch wading belt with low profile buckle
  • Anatomically correct left and right neoprene booties with comfort fit gravel guards
  • Compatible with Core INS Thinsulate liner for year round use in coldest of weather
  • Also available in DIGI-CAMO!!!!!!

See, lots of features and benefits to sell come Spring 2015.  All at an MSRP of only $299.99.
Yep, that wasn't a misprint.  (The Core INS liner will sell for $69.99).

Here's a quick video.


But noooo....Hodgman didn't stop there.  They also added a full zip front version of the Aesis Sonic wader for slightly more, $399.99, as well as a non-sonic stitched "takedown" version of the Aesis (with most of the same DNA) called the H5 (MSRP $199.99).  Oh, and did I mention there's also an opening price point H3 at $99.99 too?  Talk about reinvention.

(Note, the cool wading jackets on the mannequins were also on display, albeit under the radar, ETA Fall 2015)


Now look, I haven't fished in these.  I don't know how durable or breathable they actually are.  I don't know how they'll stand up the the rigors of real world weekend warrior fishing.  But when you think about it, nobody has really put in much time with any of these "award winners" from IFTD yet, so these trade show awards are all kind of arbitrary in the first place.

All I know is that I visited the booth expecting to be underwhelmed, I mean it's Hodgman, right?  But I left feeling surprisingly impressed.  By far the largest delta between expectation and realization that I experienced at any booth.

Mission accomplished Hodgman, BesT! in Show.

July 24, 2014

ICAST / IFTD 2014 - Everything Else & More!

Okay, this is going to be my last large ICAST / IFTD recap post.  (Thank the Lord above, right?)

I could go on for weeks and weeks with all the stuff that was at the show, but I'm going to cram all of the odds and ends that I didn't already cover into today's post.  Again, I'm sticking to the theme of the generally underpublicized brands...since you'll likely see marketing for all the big guys in a fishing magazine near you in the not too distant future.

With that, here we go...

CLUTCH TACTICAL FLY RODS

I have to admit, I'm drawn in by these rods.  Clutch also happened to have a prime booth location right next to the casting pond (good move).  The rod I had my eye on was the saltwater model, the Archipelago.

Clutch fly rods are handmade in the USA and geared toward a specific function.  In other words, they don't try to adapt the taper used on their 7 weight to their 10 weight.  All rods are individual designed, a tool for every job.

The 8 weight Archipelago would be a killer redfish rod.   A 4 piece, fast action cannon, I took it to the casting pond and it casts awesome.  I've been thinking off and on about it for the last week.  Just can't get it out of my head!  Damn, I don't know if I can bring myself to spend $815 on a rod, but when I do, it will probably be for this one.


In addition to the Archipelago,  there is a one piece, extra fast saltwater rod intended for guides/boats called the Theory.



"INTERNATIONAL ROW"

One of the more interesting things at trade shows like this is the row of very nondescript, generic white booths (probably rented from the convention center) crammed full of every knick-knack and thingamabobber you can imagine.  Rods, reels, nets, waders, heck...even crab traps.  This is usually dubbed "International Row," and it's typically full of factory representatives from overseas (China) that are looking to private label, or house brand, their products for you.  Kind of like Alibaba, but in person.

Here's an example of an uber anonymous fiberglass fly rod.  For what it is, not too horrible a build if you ask me.  Maybe you'll see this in some retailer's rod rack next year with a more familiar name stamped on it.  Just don't pay more than $100 for it or you're getting ripped off.  OK?...okay.  #glassisnotdead?




GRIZZLY COOLERS

Everybody knows the cooler brand named after the Abominable Snowman.  Heck, the buzz of the show was their new softsided cooler, but I wanted to find something else.  Something a touch, well, you know...at least a little more affordable.  The answer was Grizzly.

Now don't get me wrong, Grizzly coolers are premium products.  They are made in the USA (Iowa), boast a lifetime warranty, are in fact certified bear resistant, come in a rainbow of colors, and have those trendy thick RotoTough walls with polyurethane foam centers to keep ice cold way longer than it should ever need to...anywhere from 4 days to 19 days depending on the capacity.

Optional "Arctic Ice" divider inserts are also available for the 75 model.



Super sturdy, you can hop on a Grizzly cooler to use as a casting platform without issues, and there are plenty of ways to customize a Grizzly, from custom colored or logo lids, multiple inserts to divide the space within, you name it.

The best part, in comparing retails, Grizzlys run about 15% less than comparable coolers from the other guys.

This particular model (the 400) is huge, as large as an ice chest you'd keep in your house.
It holds 500 12 ounce cans.  That's a party.
MSRP on this beast is only $799.

VEDAVOO

If there is any brand in fly fishing that I'd vouch for the quality of their products over and over and over and over again, it would be line of bags and packs that Vedavoo puts out there.  It's not that they are the fanciest, but they are so smartly constructed (out of bombproof fabric might I add) and functional, they really can't be beat.

Two new items that caught my eye were both sling packs.  I love sling packs by the way.

First is a "Honey I Shrunk the Sling Pack" for the kiddies.  Pretty much a fully functional replica of the wildly popular Tightlines Sling, the Little Bugger sling is simply downsized to fit kid-sized shoulders.  Daddy Lilly needs one of these!  MSRP $69.


The second sling pack is the opposite, it's a larger version of the standard sling pack.  Scott Hunter was calling it the TL BEAST and that's a very appropriate name.

As you can tell from the picture below, it has quite a bit larger main compartment, actually large enough to hold one of those hard plastic Cliff Beast Jr. fly boxes.  It also has a water bottle holder on the bottom, and like the other Vedavoo slings, will not shift on your body when you don't want it to.  It's rather impressive and I'd expect nothing less from Vedavoo.  MSRP is $149.



ESTRADA ART

I've been a fan of Estrada Art on social media for about a year, but this was my first opportunity to see the graphics in person.  If you think they're bright and vibrant online, the "pop" like crazy in person.  While not all of the products (like the flat brim hats) are my style, the art is absolutely stunning.  I think at minimum a performance tee is in this angler's future.






AVID SPORTSWEAR

Possibly the opposite of the loud, in your face designs from Estrada Art, was the clean, classic looks of Avid Sportswear.  A sportfishing lifestyle brand along the lines of Pelagic, I just really, really liked the way this stuff looked, especially the headwear.




LYNX FISHING

It's said the weakest part of your fishing line is at the knot.  It's actually true that when most lines are tested for strength, the knot fails before the line does.  Lynx Fishing is attempting to solve that problem through a proprietary compression technology that actually seals your line inside the hook (or detach tube if you're using a hardbait).


Got that?  Yeah, I know a bit confusing.


Basically they make eyeless hooks (or these little metal rods with bait clips on the end) that are hollow.  You insert your line into the hook, and using their Precision Tool which creates 2 tons of force, seal the hook closed around the line.  No knots, no point of weakness in the line.  Something I suppose is pretty important, especially if your big game fishing.  The tool will retail at $99 as part of a starter kit, with the various other components available a la carte.


ROBO CUP

The Robo Cup is one of those things that really isn't limited to fishing...because the applications are limitless.  It's essentially pair of cup holders made out of heavy duty plastic attached to the two ends of a ridiculously strong butterfly clamp.  The clamp has rubberized jaws, so you can pretty much attach Robo Cup anywhere without tools or worrying about marring the surface.




The outstanding thing about Robo Cup is that you really don't have to use it as just a cup holder, you can throw anything inside, keys, wallet, cell phone...and the bottoms of the holders screw completely out so you can place long products...like ahem, fishing rods...inside.  Yep it's a rod holder too.  This thing is a boater or kayaker's best friend.  I left the show with a sample and I plan to use it quite a bit.  This, like sinkholes and shark attacks just screams Florida.  MSRP is $19.99.


THE BEST OF THE REST
(AND OTHER RANDOMNESS)

These are Fish Allure scented bait tapes...which are basically patented polymer
film stickers that you place on your hard lures to attract fish.
They are embedded with a collection of amino acids and steroids
that achieve optimum scent attraction for fish.
They are water activated, work for approximately 60 minutes, and are easily removable.
I actually have a pack so we'll see...
Speaking of stickers, ever have a crankbait that has a great action in the water,
but you just don't think the fish are feelin' the color?  Well then the SkinBait is for you!
This pack gives you 12 resusable skins (enough for 6 lures) and is only going to cost you $5.99
(Which is a heck of a lot less expensive than buying a different colored lure!)
Don't have enough electronics?  Here's another, the Smart Fishfinder 2.0 from Deeper.
It's the world's first wireless smart fishfinder made for professionals,
compatible with tablets and smartphones.  MSRP is $199
I was especially impressed by the layout of this Bear Creek micro chest pack from Allen.
With plenty of storage, and a zip down workstation with tippet tender,
this small chest pack is a steal for the minimalist angler at only $29.99
I present to you a bag of party balloons!
Nope, this is a night time balloon fishing kit from Balloon Fisher King.
It's got biodegradable balloons, glow sticks, and balloon clips.
Other than that, I have no idea how it works, but I guess I can find out for only $14.99
Worst case, if you get skunked, you can always twist up a balloon fish....
BOOM!  Mojo Menhaden Oil up in this joint!
Just wait until some Hollywood doctor pronounces this stuff as a healthier extra virgin olive oil.
Perfect with kale and quinoa...whatever that crap is.
Seriously, you can create your own menhaden slick; MSRP $29.99
White Peacock 100% Fluorocarbon, brought to you by BALSAX.
Take my money.

As you've probably noticed, I've embedded links to each of the manufacturer websites, so if you're looking for more information on any of these products, please click through and pay them a visit!

Please make sure to come back tomorrow where I'll name my "Best In Show"...a product which might surprise you.  It did me.