Monday, 31 December 2007

Goodbye to All That

Well, if I don't see you again, have a good one. Here's the finale for 2007 from one of the best TV series of the year: "Scotland's Music", Auld Lang Syne to the tune that Burns had written it to originally. If the link doesn't work, you'll have to go through the main site.



So I jumped in the car, and raced the afternoon sunlight to the top of the island. For some reason, the  main road heads to Port of Ness, rather than the top bit, the Butt of Lewis. I had missed it in the past, so was not being caught out this time. Maybe it is tactical, considering the history between the Morrisons of Ness and the MacLeods of Lewis. maplink


The sunlight was causing a problem, as the cliffs were in shadow, but it did give the opportunity to catch some sharp light on the rocks.


And maybe the most lonely-looking pigeon on the island?


We shifted positions further north of the lighthouse, but the best exposure was this one of the Moon-scape, where the sea has eroded the land away. We drove south to Eoropaidh. Maplink


I should have put money on the sun not setting in the sea - I would have won.


As we arrived, a chap who was leaving noted that it was like a picture-postcard. I bit back a reply "so...why aren't you staying for the sunset?". More photons for me.





The only tech stuff was a change in lens from 18-55mm to 55-200mm for some of the shots. No filters used, though I did do some post-production work on the images to enhance the colour levels. Originals available upon request.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

FMAO Point

Before Noon, I headed down to Point to get some snaps.

Sutherland Hills

Click on the above picture to get a full-size panorama of the Sutherland hills. The shots were taken near the old Tiumpan Head light house (map link). Assistance on splicing photographs from

Sutherland hill

One of the hills can be seen in detail after I changed to the 200mm lens. As to its name, not until I get a chance to check my maps and books.


Shifted back to the Braigh for the last shot, before heading home to a cooked breakfast. Maplink - exposure includes the Shiants, and Lochs headlands to the right.

Pirate at the Job's End

From the New York Times:

many companies are using the Internet to snoop on their employees. If you fail to maintain amorphous “professional” standards of conduct in your free time, you could lose your job.

Source. One example follows:

In a head shot snapped at a costume party, Ms. Snyder, with a pirate’s hat perched atop her head, sips from a large plastic cup whose contents cannot be seen. When posting the photo, she fatefully captioned her self-portrait “drunken pirate,” though whether she was serious can’t be determined by looking at the photo.


Ms. Snyder’s student teaching had been unsatisfactory for many reasons. But it affirms that she was dismissed and barred from re-entering the school shortly after the high school staff discovered her MySpace photograph. The university backed the school authorities’ contentions that her posting was “unprofessional” and might “promote under-age drinking.”

Via: "a 25 year-old mother of two that lost her job over a MySpace photo of her as a “drunken pirate” "

Like I said to a student who's blog entry I reported, "I would not, in all honesty, want a potential employer to read what you have posted". You should consider not getting a job, as bad as losing a job, because of your online activities - the aim that we all have is to get you ready for the workplace. Hilarious, isn't it, that a photograph can get someone sacked. Almost as funny as someone reading someone's blog and noting that they've only posted 5 times since the end of August. On a course about blogging.

Ms Snyder is currently contending the case. I'm sure we all wish her well for the future.

Additional information

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Letters from America

Read about the ongoing writer's strike at Ronald D Moore's blog. You may recognise his name from the new Battlestar Galactica, others from various series of Star Trek. Most of you probably have never heard of him as you don't bother with the credits, or shows other than the soaps. Your loss, humanity's loss, our enemy's gain.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

FMAO Callanish


Sunset at Callanish. Maplink.

So, the rain stopped, my migraine lifted after looking at the bright sky for the first time in days, and I headed to Callanish. There were a few folk there, and what surprised me was that few were taking pictures of the sun on the stones. But, maybe they were.


I think I'm just being a snob, but why don't people wait for about 15 minutes-30 minutes for the light to change?


Especially if it has taken them a while to get there? But that's just me I'm in my warm hiking gear (hmm, can't wait to get the down jacket from Alpkit in the New Year - toasty), and I'm taking snaps of this and that.


Above:  Original JPG version of shot. Below: Same shot, where the original RAW version has been edited using my Christmas present of Scott Kelby's "7 Point System". Cropped to remove half a stone, and some foreground for a panorama shot.


And there was no-one else taking photos of the sunset. Ach well, there'll be another sunset tomorrow. And it's not my concern.


RW GoogleMaps

Langdale/Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team now have a Google Map on their website to record their call-outs in the Lake District.


LAMRT main site

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

RW: Missing People

Another real world use of YouTube, this time by "Missing People".

Missing People has established itself as central to the search for and support of missing people, and those left behind, for more than a decade. The history of the charity is as varied as its work and is a true testament to the energy and passion of all those that have worked and volunteered, steering it from its humble origins to the much-respected organisation it is today.
Started as the National Missing Persons Helpline in 1993, Missing People has grown to become the largest UK charity dedicated to finding missing people and offering emotional and practical support to families searching for their loved ones.

YouTube channel

RW Photoshop

Got a couple of photography books for Christmas, and when looking for info on Scott Kelby's "7-point system for Adobe Photoshop" (link), I found this blog:

Forensic Photoshop

An on-going discussion of the forensic uses of Adobe's Photoshop. Forensic Photoshop includes tips, how-tos, step-by-steps, and advanced techniques for using Photoshop in a forensic workflow.


Jim Hoerricks is the Senior Forensic Video Analyst for the Los Angeles Police Department, a Photoshop Instructor, an Author, and a court qualified expert witness in Forensic Video Analysis.

A lot of interesting reading, for example:

Rules of engagement for using Photoshop?

When it's ready, I wonder if we can get his book for the library?

Monday, 24 December 2007

Sunday, 23 December 2007

The Moon's a Balloon

cash advance

Do you like Kipling?

Citizen What?

From 13th November 2007:

The National Union for Journalists (NUJ) has admitted its first full-time freelance professional blogger as a member.
Conrad Quilty-Harper, who blogs for technology blog Engadget, had his application for membership approved at a meeting of the NUJ’s London Freelance branch last night, Tim Gopsill, editor of The Journalist, confirmed to
Harper was invited to attend the freelance meeting where his application was passed after he was initially rejected by the union for being a student on a non-media course.


And earlier, on the 25th October 2007:

Guardian media blogger and former Daily Mirror editor Roy Greenslade is quitting the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), because of the organisation's attitude towards new media.
Greenslade, who has been a member of the union for 42 years, announced his resignation on his blog and said it would be 'hypocritical' to remain a NUJ member 'when I am now so opposed to the union's central aims'.
In his post Greenslade said the group's policies needed to be updated to accommodate the growth of online journalism: "Journalistic skills are not entirely wiped out in an online world, but…they cannot be confined any longer to an exclusive élite group."
Explaining his decision Greenslade suggested that while the NUJ sees the internet as a threat to journalism 'it [the web] is much more a threat to the union itself.'
"[T]he union, as with the print unions of old, cannot possibly adapt to meet the revolutionary demands of a new technology," his blog post said.


Interesting times indeed. Anyone fancy a Diet of Worms? In the same way that professional photographers have been affected by sites like Flickr, cheap dSLRs and people willing to put the time and effort in to try and improve their skills, then journalism must also be affected. It comes to reason, that as news becomes more speculative, exclusives are not exclusives, the tv news complains when people rebroadcast their feeds but happily show YouTube videos without stating that they have the owner's permission. What really separates the paid journalist from the citizen journalist? Time, effort, money, resources, skills in obtaining the news, a talent for language. Some have skills and talent, others one or the other - just like in any job. Is every citizen a journalist? No. Is everyone who owns a camera a photographer? No. In days past, eyewitnesses to events would only be able to describe the event, now they have videos and still photos, some have been keeping blogs instead of written diaries.

In a knowledge-lead society, do we need to be able to distinguish between facts and opinions. Is a review in a magazine opinion or fact? Are comments left about a piece of software factual or trite nonsense left by a competitor? Only the knowledgeable reader can judge. But where do they learn that judgement from? No-one seems to be teaching online citizenship these days.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."  Mahatma Gandhi (source)

Are bloggers looking for a fight? I amn't. What is victory? I don't know. Anyone can use the same quote when they feel that they are being oppressed. Do I feel that bloggers are being oppressed? Wise up. Blogs are merely a medium. The person behind the computer is the important cog in the Web2.0 wheel. In our own mind, we are important. We are important to our families and friends. We matter. Does what we have to say about the world matter? Probably not. But we are social animals, we have brains and can think. So why not use the tools available to us to be sociable, to think and to converse. Geography, social class, skin colour, cultural background, age, gender, physical abilities and religion are less important than your ability to be a sentient human being. If you refuse to think, to reason, to discuss, to create, then you are an empty shell of a being.

Maybe that is what scares some in the media? A lot is just boring, brainless drivel, re-hashing old news, cutting back on investing in investigative journalism, and making decent programmes for television. If there is only so much happening in the world, but news has to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, why can't there be more detailed, in-depth news? Maybe because we, the recipient, have no time for it? In the Information Age, there is a growing divide - the news reflects this. There are just too many channels for their to be a good standard of quality programmes. Will this change in the future? I don't know, but can guess that there will be an increase in the number of niche channels.

For the record, my main sources of news are: BBC News website, Radio 4's Today programme, Radio 4 news (especially midnight), Newsnight, Channel 4 news.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Can Mr JLB Matekoni Fix It?

Sadly, the news from Botswana is that the Nr 1 Ladies Detective Agency will not be ready for showing until Easter. Source. Although the BBC press release says Winter 2008. An article from the BBC News on the 4th of December said it was going to be a Winter highlight.

Perhaps we can commission Mma Ramotswe to find the answer to the mystery? Or Moo Moo Ramotswe? [plaque]

Previous post


Fun video channel on YouTube. I'll need to catch some more over the festive break.

Keeping it real



We're n ur headz making u hummm a fairytale of new yorkzzz

Blog Agrees to Close

Press release:

Apple and Think Secret have settled their lawsuit, reaching an agreement that results in a positive solution for both sides. As part of the confidential settlement, no sources were revealed and Think Secret will no longer be published. Nick Ciarelli, Think Secret's publisher, said "I'm pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits." Source

The BBC News writes:

Apple is notoriously secretive about forthcoming products and it sued Think Secret claiming that bloggers should not enjoy the same rights to protect sources granted to mainstream journalists.

A California court initially sided with Apple but the hi-tech firm lost the case on appeal. The outcome of that said bloggers should be considered as journalists and subject to the same protections.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) aided Think Secret in its legal fight to stop Apple forcing it to reveal its sources.

"I hope that Apple takes from this that it is neither useful nor wise to sue its fans," said Kurt Opsahl, an attorney for the EFF.

Full story and historical links.

From the BBC in April 2005:

The information appeared on three Apple enthusiast websites, PowerPage, Apple Insider and Think Secret. Source

Ah well.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Adopt a WebCam: Loch Glascarnoch

The suggestion has been made that people can adopt a webcam. I've bagsied the Met Office's webcam at Loch Glascarnoch.

Here's it in daylight (October 07).


Here's a view from it just now.

slot2 (c) Met Office

Webcam link. Map link.

Profile: Alpkit

Emma fumbled inside her pack looking for her passport, she knew it was in there somewhere. Her pensive look turned to worry, her eyes trying to avoid contact as she handed the check-in desk attendant a British Passport covered in shampoo. Andrea tried to resist but the smirk on her face soon turned to laughter as she pulled her passport out of its slinky bag.



Dave had plenty of mates, but most of them were into either surfing or skating. Hanging out down the local skate park had started to become embarrassing, technical fleeces had their place but here wasn't one of them. Putting aside his ultralite techspec micro fleece, he went in search of the answer.



I have had a lot to live up to. I was the sensible one, cast in a mould and the one most likely to succeed. Even so I had my own agenda, if I was going to stand on the shoulders of giants I sure was going to have some competitive advantages. You see, I am the sensible one and you need to have a back up plan, a soft landing if you like.



I like the imagination of these people. Instead of dull, standard descriptions, Alpkit have written some fun stories about their products. Kudos for showing imagination and creative flair.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Sofa... so Star

Starwatching the lazy way. Went to Met Office's Loch Glascarnoch webcam and just had a wonderful time. And here's how to do it properly.


A belter from Aviemore.


Off to the TrafficScotland site next. Where we had a Most Haunted experience.


Well done to the folk at these respective organisations for fitting webcams so we can see our fine country. Huzzah for Scotland. Heuch.

Funniest thing this week

What I Blog

Carrying on this infrequent series (how, why), here's what I blog.

Christmas Homework

By allowing (if not encouraging) people to channel-hop their way through online/remote social networks, are we encouraging the decline of the nation state by allowing people to ignore their physical society?


Font Exercise

Videos about fonts from the HNC E/H/Jennifer class.

Why Blog? Why?

Why are we blogging? I've previously covered the "How", so here is the "why". Why? Blogs are simply a format for creating a mini-website. This website allows you,the blogger, to write about things, to post photographs, videos, music that you have created, things that have caught your interest. It is your online presence.

If social networking sites just allow people to see what music you are listening to, films you've seen and the like, then that is similar to someone looking at your house. They see the physical side of you, but not you yourself. Blogging allows you to put your feelings out there, to show that you are a sentient human being, with hopes and expectations, good times and bad. You can write about what you see, what you feel about books you have read, or movies you have seen.

The empathy that writing about personal issues (but not too personal) allows people to be people. Instead of looking at the possessions, you can get a better idea of what the person is like.

With forums, chatrooms, and other community communications services, you can interact with other people. It is like a park for people with similar attitudes. With blogs, you can leave comments, and ask the person questions, or answer their questions. It is like a chill-out space. Less noise.

Everything in a blog is customisable, so the blogger has more control over what the reader sees. This allows more control that you get in most other mediums. You have little control over the appearance of forums, as they are community affairs. You post what you post, and you take responsibility for it. You are a 'citizen journalist', rather than one part of a commune.

The blog format allows many types of media to be incorporated, and the list is growing. This allows even more of your personality to come through. If you are bad with writing words, then use photographs or music instead. Communication is the important issue. You have a story to tell, and you need to find a way to communicate that to others. Whether that story is a small story - a bus that is always late - or a big story - being arrested by the police - someone else may be interested. Even if no-one is, you can always look back at your own blog and see what you were thinking at the time you wrote it.

Blogs are timed pieces of your life. They show what you were like at that moment. Isn't that priceless?

This was going to be a piece about the future of blogging, and the advantages of RSS feeds instead of the reader having to search for information, but I couldn't be bothered with that. If you want to see these things for yourself, look here:

Odiogo Stats for November

I received an email from Odiogo with the download stats for November. 38 downloads. I think that is me as I have set up iTunes to download the feed as an experiment.

Launch post

Listen to individual posts

Try this festive reading to see how it sounds via Odiogo, from Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" via Project Gutenberg:

The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open, that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of strong imagination, he failed.

"A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!" cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.

"Bah!" said Scrooge. "Humbug!"

He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.

"Christmas a humbug, uncle!" said Scrooge's nephew. "You don't mean that, I am sure?"

"I do," said Scrooge. "Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough."

"Come, then," returned the nephew gaily. "What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough."

Scrooge, having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, "Bah!" again; and followed it up with "Humbug!"

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Aberdeen Sunset

As the sun sets over the silvery city it seems to set afire shiny surfaces randomly across the vista.

Bloggers Talk

In Bob Cartwright's latest podcast, we hear an interview with a couple of bloggers from earlier in the year. This was recorded in May at The Outdoors Show in Manchester. It starts after the interview with Alpine walker, Judy Armstrong.

The Podzine 17/12/07

Download MP3 File


Drink Driving Figures

Police have released the figures for the first week of their seasonal anti-drink driving campaign.

Grampian Police are disappointed to report that despite their advice and warnings, 18 motorists have been detected driving under the influence of drink or drugs during the first week of the Grampian Festive Drink Drive Campaign. Source 

The report goes on to mention that one person caught was five times over the limit, and another person was four time over the limit. As Chief Inspector Forrester says, they are risking "not only their own lives but the lives of other innocent members of the public." That means you and me folks.

Launch report.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Weblog 10 Years Old

The term "weblog" celebrates its 10th birthday today.

Bubble2.0: The Music Video

Caught this on Net@Nite: Bubble2.0 by The Richter Scales.

Here's the news as to why some of the links on the page don't work:

A hit YouTube video that parodied Silicon Valley's Web 2.0 gold rush has been taken down, launching a freelance photographer and an amateur choral group into an internet-fueled copyright dispute.

The clever clip, produced by San Francisco Bay Area a cappella group Richter Scales, mixed original imagery with photos found online, all set to the bouncy tune of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." It garnered hundreds of thousands of views before it was taken down Tuesday by YouTube due to a copyright claim by a photographer who's image was used in the video.

The source article on is interesting. And I concur wholeheartedly with the comments made by the lawyer.

Check the laws dealing with intellectual property rights first - just because a photo is on a photo-sharing site doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want to do with it.

So, you can play the music via the podcast, but don't watch the video (which is why I haven't linked to the video).

They Were Who We Are

"They Were Who We Are". I heard those words on Saturday night when listening to a Garrison Keillor podcast from Lake Wobegon (November 17, 2007). I was so taken by his turn of phrase that I listened to the podcast again.

Then I thought of the sort of post that would go with the phrase: "They Were Who We Are". This is it. Just a collection of links to places where you can see, hear and read about the past of Scotland and the UK. For free.

I've ignored collections that are limited to educational institutes only. it should be obvious why I've done that.

"He who controls the past, controls the future" George Orwell. Look into your own past. It will help you in your own future. For some it will come as a disappointment to realise that you are as fickle or as steadfast as your ancestors. They too suffered and partied. Spoke about their hopes for the future. Had their dreams. Had their problems. Thought they were unique, and of an age that would never come again.

"They Were Who We Are"

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Fun in the Sand


Just as i started to pack up, two chaps started setting up their kite buggies. The cold had drained one battery and i was at the last few shots of the 2gig memory card. No problem, as i had spares of both with me. Switching to 1600iso, and handheld, i wonder how the shots will turn out. I gave one of the flyers my bloggercard so he could contact me for a set off the photos. It was the least i could do in return for an entertaining and dramatic photo session.






























Thanks chaps.

Due to speeds, ISO1600 used (I tried a few at ISO800 but they came out blurred). Aperture F5.6. Settings reflect the aim of one story to tell, and that's with a fast-moving subject. Shooting in RAW, I filled a 2gig card. In 45 minutes.