Friday, November 4, 2011

Gigs Gallery

I updated my Flickr account again, so I thought I would try embedding a photo gallery...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Completo versus a Boots Meal Deal Sandwich

Check out the measly number of prawns in my Boots Prawn Cocktail meal deal... Made look all the more paltry by delicious bespoke Chilean sandwich of last night...

Boots Meal Deal BLT, Chicken Salad, Prawn Mayo

Completo (Sausages, Guacamole, Onions, Chili Sauce, Mayonaisse, Tomato, Garlic in a freshly baked bun)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Visually Similar

Google Images now enables you to drag and drop an image from one browser, into the Google search box...
the bonkers thing is that it returns 'visually similar' images, as well as letting you know where on the web your picture is from... Spooky, and kind of uselessly funny too... I applied the image test...

beer turns into people

train tracks into a roundabout

and a horse turns into a motorbike

not quite figured out the utility just yet, but bonkers work Google...!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Non-disposable camera

I thought my lovely brown Canon Ixus - IS1100 was a goner back in December 2008.
I took it into the Canon repair centre in Calgary on a quiet Tuesday afternoon just before Christmas complaining that the lens didn't open and close like it used to, and that it didn't focus properly any more, despite the fact it was only 8 months old.
"Did you get any sand in the lens sir?"
"No, surely not, I haven't been anywhere near sand..."

On Saturday, after 3 years, and several thousand pictures and videos, amassing Airmiles, Aeroplan points, OnePass Priority points (you get the idea), it looked like the little camera had met its maker in a riverside lunch spot in Kingston Upon Thames.

This made me think about the things this camera had seen... sunrise over frozen over geysers in Bolivia.

Fearless seals on the beaches of islands on the Galapagos

The first wigglings of the feet of my son

as well as a plethora of nerdy time-lapse experiments

Quit repurposing material Lepki - get to the kicker.

I was sort of a little bit excited when I thought I lost my camera that I could justify picking up a new shinier one, that could maybe do more stuff. What stuff? I have no idea, but I never knew I needed time lapse functionality before this camera and I could never have made this (which is possibly my favourite non baby related video).

Once I reflected on the happy days and nights captured with this little dense block of engineering cleverness from Japan, I was reluctant to see it go - nostalgia, Don Draper's carousel...

The moral of the story? Well, none really. Take care with things, for no matter how replaceable everything appears to be, you can get a little bit attached to the idea that you and technology have shared a moment or two.

As it turns out, my camera is safely in an office store room, and so lives on to capture a few more portions of life, and live on good old

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

my love for my new, old walkman

I recently recovered a box of tapes from my brother's loft a good 5 years after I put them up there, in what looked like it might be the last resting place before landfill.

That landfill has recently claimed a large mass of low quality plastic with the magnetic footprint of low quality comedy abutted with long forgotten weather forecasts.

My rescue of the tapes was primarily to scour those largely unindexed reels of Chrome Dioxide BASF C90s for some old band material to digitise and play on my ipod, but something about the ahem, user experience, made me wonder about the medium and our attitudes to stuff these days.

In order to actually play the tapes, I bought a Sony Walkman, for just over 20 UK pounds.

So, to unbox, what do you get for that these days?

The Walkman unit has a tape player with rewind and fast forward functions. It has bass boost. And there is an FM and AM radio. And a case. And some earphones.

First up, the tapes. I put in one Duracell AA battery, stuck a tape in and bingo, I am back in 1995, as the great Tallgroove jam away. The sound quality is very good given it was recorded on a Bush tape recorder, in the corner of an LS6 bedroom, using the last available plug socket.

The real magic here is that the tape played. It had not been touched for 5 years and sat patiently in a box as Windows Media Player, iTunes, Winamp, Sonic Stage (yes, I used that as my main player in my Vaio days) and various phone based music applications and tools went through hundreds of builds, moving to and fro around DRM issues wrestling with limited hard disk space, then limitless lossy rates, sluggish store interfaces and the death of Woolworths on the high street. The tape sat patiently, and as soon as it was called for, continued on without missing a beat.

It was not so much an attention span issue, but a surprisingly interjected U2 song which made me first reach for the next track function. Ah! A flaw. I have to "Fast Forward", where the unit forwards, but not that fast.

The Walkman can not send and receieve emails. And I can't play Peggle on it.
On the plus side, I do not need to upgrade the tape playing mechanism and spend hours on blogs trying to identify why version 10.1.4 behaves slightly more idiosyncratically than expected.

The world a tape transports you to is flawed, but curated. Not necessarily always curated with the first compilation for new girlfriend level of detail, but with songs cut off, DJs plugging the Radio 1 roadshow, and traffic updates from days before the M25. Quite a few of these little addenda add the colour to the compilation.

12 songs slid into an iTunes playlist does not cut this level of affection. And what if you only want the reprise of I Am The Resurrection on one compilation, but are looking to fill space on another?

And then you have the attention issue. Track 2 sounds a bit iffy, but rather than skip straight away, the peril of fast forwarding past track 3 means you are more likely to stick it out rather than instantly dismiss material as incorrect from the off due to 200GB more unindexed music on various other portable hard drives.

A case in point, I listened to two Seal songs just in case the me of the 90's had recorded a few chords in the middle of whatever came after Kiss from a Rose on Seal 2.

As well as the tape, you now have the radio. Imagine now, having an untethered free data source with content readily available in any country of the world. Apple would charge you crazy amounts for bandwidth for this service!

So what have I learnt from this... Imagine the prospect of checking your work email on a Walkman back in 1997. Did you really need to? You probably knew all the phone numbers off by heart of the people who you called most often so didn't need to Sync your contacts. Or you had a little book that you kept relatively safe.

There as something of a commodity about a tape - it captured that moment in time, the addenda mentioned earlier, alongside those live gigs taken from the radio, the first play of Love Spreads, and of course, the lovingly crafted adolescent compilation tape.

Eternal love was up for grabs if you could just cram as much appropriate material into that 90 minutes. You could dictate the whole flow and mood of the tape without there being the option to skip over to Facebook and see if any other suitors looking for fun and feeling groovy.

Quite what the end game with my Walkman remains to be seen. The initial novelty will no doubt fade, but then I can  choose to either store the memory in a box in the loft, or tape over it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Oh Ecuador! It feels like a long time ago that I swanned around Ecuador on my honeymoon... Two and a half years later, the first video comes off the production line...

I have finally got a method together for using Adobe Premiere 3 to make these videos. I was finding that importing 30 or 40 clips was possible, but when it got to render time, all my final adjustments would either take an age, or crash my system completely.

Effectively, I now import a handful of clips, and set the length of the video to be the length of my audio file. It's a bit of a guess at the start as to how long my video will eventually be, but I can usually find enough material to get into 3 minutes or so.

This Ecuador video was rendered in 3 stages... One with the first 10-20 clips and the full length soundtrack. Once that video was done, I could just import that as a clip into the next version and chop the video at the end of the last frame, and build from that. Long winded I know!

Anyway, the end result is a jaunty trip round Quito and the Galapagos islands. I would have liked to put a bit more consideration into 29.97 or 15 fps as you can tell a bit of the smoothness is lacking around the birds, but for now, enjoy this, before YouTube remove the lovely music by Evinha.

Stop Motion Animation

Great example of some lovely stop motion animation here...

beats my version, but you get the idea!