Thursday, January 31, 2008

Weather

In case you hadn't noticed there's a little bit of wind going around today. This'll make Tim laugh but the result of this is that I will not be on a comfortable ferry with free minibar and inclusive breakfast tomorrow, instead I will be in a large, bright orange-coloured cylinder in the sky.

Oh well. At least we get an extra day in Copenhagen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snip

I've been hassling our network provider today because of problems in our Dubai office. Looks like it's a bigger issue than I realised - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7218008.stm

Apparently it was caused by a ship's anchor. It's funny though, a great deal of effort goes into contingency arrangements for network outages and making sure your network is secure against outside threats, but one thing that most people don't realise is that all networks go through a few of these huge, international cables. There aren't many of them but if one fails an entire region is completely fucked. I remember something similar happening recently to a cable in Asia, which effectively cut off Australia from the rest of the world!

Maybe countries should start investing in a national satellite network infrastructure, as an emergency backup.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rats

This was this scene this evening at the bus stop by Ally Pally station. Yes, that large rodent like object is a large rodent. There were a family of them just hanging about, dashing across the pavement to get to the bin.

Do I hear a 'Ewwwwww!'.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Toy

So I bought a new camera, a magnificent Canon 40D. I've spent today playing with it, finding my way around the functions and I'm pretty pleased so far. It feels fantastic as well, chunky and metal it oozes quality. Let's see how it stands up to the Danish winter next week...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

RIP EOS 300D

I think my camera has died. Not totally, but more as in it's terminally ill. I've been sorting all my kit out for the epic Scandinavian adventure next week and was just messing around with a few long exposures when I noticed a bunch of hot pixels. It seems to be on everything over 1sec, which clearly is not going to work for me.

Take a look at this, at 100%, I think:



Fuck.

I posted a question on the Canon Flickr forums and they came back affirmative. It's not user fixable, but I could possibly send to Canon for them to do something with the sensor. But that might cost lots.

So I either a) travel with a camera that won't let me take a wide selection of photos b) rent one for the trip and buy a 450D when I get back or c) splash out on a 40D now.

Hmmm. The 40D is ahead at the moment being more of a step up than the 450D and only an extra £100 from Amazon. I really don't need this right now though. I can afford it but it wasn't something I was planning on doing for a good while.

Fuck.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Children of men

It's funny, I watch a film like this and I think there's no way British society can break down so much whilst current facets of civilisation like government, police, etc. are still in existence. Then I go down Archway and see that it already has.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

HDR

Oh yeah, I kinda forgot about this. Ok, they're not computer generated. Not technically anyway. They're high dynamic range (HDR) images and the idea is that they provide a more realistic interpretation of a scene as it would be seen by the human eye. The human eye having a much greater dynamic range than a camera.

There's a couple of ways of creating them, either by bracketing exposures (taking under, over and normally exposed pictures) or, the way I've done here, by capturing an image in RAW format and processing them (ie. developing) with the 3 different exposure settings. You then merge the 3 images using specialist software. I think Photoshop probably does this, as does Photomatix.

You can up the saturation and contrast settings during this last phase to create quite dramatic looking pictures (see below). I wouldn't call them photos though. I think you can create some stunning pictures, just take a look at Flickr for some, but I think that's it for me with HDR, at least for now. I'd rather focus on creating great pictures that are interesting without resorting to digital processing techniques.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Qotd

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Damn the Royal Mail

Further to this post I'm now in the middle of a compensation claim for Royal Mail's thievery. I was absolutely fuming this morning when I received a letter from them for a couple of reasons.

Firstly they said because it had been a while now that they 'must' consider compensation. Well I would say that they should consider compensation because they employ a bunch of thieving scallys who stole my post. The least they can do is compensate for the price of this item.

But the absolute cheek of it is that they require me to sign and return a slip of paper they sent with the letter, even though I'd filled in the required claim form already. And, get this, if they don't receive it within 5 days they'll consider my case closed! What a fucking liberty. Of course, this being Royal Mail they posted that letter on the 16th and I only got it today! If they close my case I will be absolutely fucking livid.

Oh yeah, and a couple of days ago I received an interesting item in the post. It was an empty envelope with the Royal Mail's sincerest apologies wrapped around it and a letter explaining "I am sorry that the enclosed mail has been found in this condition after being withheld from delivery by a Royal Mail employee." Can you believe it?! Twice in a month.

Problem is I have no idea what this item was so I can't even make a claim. Hopefully it was just some junk mail or something. All it had was a return postcode, EN5 2UA, which is in Barnet I guess.

Fucking Royal Mail. Absolutely fucking useless shitehawks.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

No bueno Vista

After months of annoyance I finally found this guide on how to correct the excruciatingly annoying auto-customisations that Vista applies to folders. I don't get Vista, I really don't. All I've seen so over XP so far is unwanted UI changes. There's not one thing in it that's an improvement on XP, and most things are worse. I'm just pissed off that it was pre-installed so I'm stuck with it.

And here's how to turn it off entirely! Hurrah. Having to do a registry change to correct display setting is absolutely taking the piss though.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Check up

When you don't have any money, the problem is food. When you have money, it's sex. When you have both it's health.
J P Donleavy

I've always thought it rather perverse that we have regular dental checkups, but not health ones. Why would we consider our teeth more important than, say, our hearts? And surely the more effort is spent on preventative health care the better we'd all be in the long run? Anyway, I just got the detailed results of a private medical I had and it's quite reassuring in a lot of aspects. My cholesterol is 4.5 (good). My platelet count is 252 (good). My mean corpuscular hemoglobin count is 33.7 (elevated but not significant). Cool. My 10 year risk of heart disease is 3% - exactly the average for my age group.

There are a couple of things I need to follow up, but hopefully it's nothing to be concerned about. I get paranoid sometimes about my health, with actually no tangible reason to. I think the quote above rings true. Anyway, I heartily recommend it for anyone with any niggling health worries. Be warned though, they're very thorough...

Monday, January 07, 2008