Cataract number one – Mum News

Quick bit of family news. Mum Brown was in hospital today to have one of her cataracts removed.

Once the other one is done and she gets her new glasses she should be able to see much better.

Ageing Tech – when to upgrade

Apple Powerbook 12 inch, my first photo editing laptop

Its likely that Apple will announce their new iPhone this week, so it made me think; when should we upgrade our ageing tech.

I am now typing this on one of Apple’s latest 16 inch laptops, close to top of the range, I only upgraded once Adobe no longer supported the spec. So far in my computer upgrades, its always been newer software that’s driven me to upgrade. My last laptop lasted twelve years so I saw a major improvement in performance and usability.

I tend to upgrade my phones every three to four years. Currently in our family, my iPhone 6 Plus is still getting heavy use by my wife and it is six years old and working fine. My current phone is the iPhone X.

I am thinking of getting a new phone this year but its likely to be one for Caroline, she likes the larger screen so mine will have to last that little bit longer.

Upgrading cameras I tend to skip about to generations. I switched to digital with the Nikon D200. That was replaced by the D300 and then the D300s. I upgraded when the D800 appeared. So jumped from 10 megapixel cropped format to 36 megapixel full frame. We have now had the D810 and then the big jump to the D850, a camera that really tempted me, it was a significant improvement over the D800. I really hope the D850 replacement is another big jump. Either way I am really going to notice the improvement.

Web Services – a Rant

This is less about web services and more about functionality that does not need web services but uses it anyway.

I have a large amount of video media, photographic tutorials, the family favourite movies and TV shows etc.

They are sat on an external hard drive and a copy in Dropbox. We use the Plex app to service these to the TV, and the AppleTV app to our computers and tablet devices; much easier then finding physical media.

It used to be simple, the app on the TV talked to my main computer that had the Plex server app on it and access to the media. Simple and it worked.

But like many companies they have now web offerings and offer other functionality. So now the TV app has to authenticate to their servers out there on the web before it will connect to my server and play my media.

This means now that if Plex have a service outage or my internet is not working I cannot play my media on my TV, very frustrating. Over the last few days we have seen major outages with AWS, Azure etc, causing many online services to fail. Not sure where Plex host there servers but they were out too. So no watching Plex for me last night.

Yes I get it that many people like the extra functionality but the basic stuff, streaming media from a drive in my home to my TV in my home all on the same network should still work!

At least I have coffee.

Sherwood Pines – Walkies

With lock down easing, we got an email from a friend asking us if we wanted to go on a pack walk in the woods near Sherwood Forest. So with water bottles and collapsable dog water bowl packed off we went.

Having pets: loosing pets

I suppose we are quite unusual, but as we live in the country we keep chickens to provide us with eggs, have hounds, snakes etc, not the usual selection of pets. All our animals are pets even the chickens which have their own unique characters.

This Friday we lost one of our girls, its always sad; we try to give are pets the best life they can and they give us far more.

Brownouts – the joys of rural living: cold snakes

During the COVID-19 shutdown we had a few brownouts and power cuts. This is a bit of an issue when your trying to work on line at home.

My computer equipment is all protected by a UPS and I have surge protectors on the control units and lighting equipment for our two big vivariums where Oz the Corn Snake and Bertie the Boa live.

I was horrified to find this week after a brown out that both control units and one of the heater elements had blown on Berties viv leaving him with no heat. We quickly ramped up the central heating and I had a quick run round of local pet shops to see which were open. In the end I managed to get a little infrared bulb together with an old thermostat in the attic, to rig up some heat. I am now waiting for my on line order to come through with new controllers and heaters (I’ll be getting spares as well).

Garden in Spring

So here in the United Kingdom we are entering the fourth week of shutdown. We are doing fine stuck at home, I am doing lots of IT work for the local government and assisting them with their lone working.

With spending eight hours a day stuck in my home office I took the opportunity to upgrade the my sound system and bought a better preamp and DAC for the office.

I am getting out each day for a walk with Ted the Greyhound. Photo options are a little limited but with spring now in full swing I have been taking a few snaps around the garden.

Photography is very much on the back burner for now, so I may have to think up a few indoor projects that I can do on my own.

COVID19 and the Coronavirus

Remember to only follow the latest official advice from the health officials in your country. Remember as things progress the advice may change, keep a breast of the latest information.

Ignore and do not spread rumours.

Do not panic buy.

If you have spare items or food consider donating to your local food bank.

The key in controlling this is to slow the spread so the emergency services can cope. Currently there is no vaccine and its unlikely that there will be one wildly available until next year.

It’s a difficult and complex thing to manage and we can only hope that the governments of our countries are getting the very best advice that is available.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Coronavirus (COVID-19) UK Government Action Plan:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan

Journalling, diary and organisation

During the eighties I kept a diary. In the nineties I used a Palm Pilot and Outlook / Exchange to keep myself organised.

For the last three years I have gone back to paper, or at least a mix of paper and computer.

I work in IT for a large outsourcing organisation and support a number of companies. Due to data and privacy rules my work diary is encrypted and accessible on my laptop and work phone. My personal information and my part time job as a photographer is now a mix of electronically held information for data that needs to be shared and my paper journal.

My paper journal is also a mix of things, its a bullet journal for everything and a personal diary. Over the last year I have been looking at the William Hannah products.

Its a simple leather bound A5 ring journal but incredibly well made and I have been lucky enough to be bought one for Christmas.

I spend yesterday setting it up as my new 2020 bullet journal and am looking forward to using it to plan my future 2020 shoots.