Sunday, December 31, 2006

The BBC comment of their coverage of Saddam's execution

The BBC have made public, the reasoning behind their recent broadcasts concerning the execution of Saddam Hussein.

This post by Kevin Backhurst who is the controller for BBC News 24, explains what the BBC decided to show and why.

The tightrope for any state broadcaster is very narrow to tread. The Corporation's mandate is to record and report events from around the world, but this must be done appropriately. Any BBC Journalist in NCA must follow editorial policy. It outlines how news events should be reported. In most cases the rules are easy to follow but in some cases, the lines become blurry. So what is appropriate or inappropriate?

This is a very complex issue with pro's and cons (see my last post regarding media coverage), censoring any news item for whatever reason can either damage accuracy or even misrepresent events or individuals.

Previously I pointed out that when governments or authorities censor news, we may be forgiven for being a little skeptical as to why but when the censoring is applied by the broadcaster and not faceless men in grey suits, it becomes a whole different issue.

What if the news wasn't 'sanitised' or cut? What if it was shown, warts and all? We may connect more powerfully with what's happening. For example, over 75% of Americans support capital punishment, but I wonder if the figure would quite as high if they were televised? Once we see events in full or once we see the uncut aftermath. It can be particularly powerful.

Now were back to that fine line. If we did show the real carnage of war or suicide bombings, we would upset many people. How would bereaved relatives feel? How would we feel?

I think a case could be made for a more 'hardcore' news but I'm not sure how it should be made or by whom. Millions of 'non-newsy' viewers will have tuned in to see the recent footage from Iraq, but the modus-operandi for news organisations should never be sensationalism or macabre-ism, even if these would pull in the most viewers.


Firstly, may I congratulate the BBC on providing tasteful, decent yet comprehensive coverage of Saddam's execution.

These are incredibly delicate days at the moment. The way in which the worldwide media cover this issue could set the public mood in the region for the coming days and months.

The BBC have reported accurately and appropriately and as such, the editorial decisions taken have upheld the corporations reputation for authoritative reporting.

I posted on this blog earlier. I commented then, that the single stories in themselves, point to much wider issues in general. It's this 'bigger picture' which must be considered by the news editors as I personally think that the real questions and issues have yet to be asked and examined.

Unofficial footage of Saddam's Execution

***WARNING: This post contains video footage of a graphic nature***

Covertly shot footage which appears to have been taken on a mobile phone, shows the last moments of Saddam Hussein's life before he was executed yesterday.

Interestingly, the footage shows a different scene from the 'official' footage released to the worldwide media soon after the execution.

In what must be one of the most graphic examples of 'citizen journalism' to date, the grainy footage, including sound, shows Saddam's execution in full, and rather than a calm serene scene, it appears to be a noisy, highly charged event where insults are thrown around the room with Saddam answering back on more than one occasion towards his accusers. This in itself is not surprising as the official footage released yesterday did not include sound, nor did it actually show the execution.

The footage is included below however please do not watch if you are offended easily. It is uncut.


Here is a transcript of the audio taken from the footage and translated into English.

Translation of Arabic subtitles accompanying the latest execution footage when broadcast on al-Jazeera TV station:

[Saddam] Oh God.

[Voices] May God's blessings be upon Muhammad and his household.

[Voices] And may God hasten their appearance and curse their enemies.

[Voices] Moqtada [Al-Sadr]...Moqtada...Moqtada.

[Saddam] Do you consider this bravery?

[Voice] Long live Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr.

[Voice] To hell.

[Voice] Please do not. The man is being executed. Please no, I beg you to stop.

[Saddam] There is no God but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. There is no God but Allah and I testify that Muhammad... [At this point, Saddam is executed]

The footage then becomes blurred before finally showing Saddam's face, he is dead, his eyes remain open.


The fact that this footage has been recorded and propagated, shows how the media is being used unwittingly to create different accounts of the same incident. As such, the importance of citizen journalism is on the rise. It offers an undiluted and uncontaminated account of events, separate from comment or images released by official bodies or governments.

Some will argue that footage such as this, proves that the full details behind world events are often kept out of the public gaze. Why wasn't the full, unedited footage released by the official authorities and does the fact that the full footage has been covertly filmed and leaked online, harm the image of Iraq as a new democracy?

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Saddam Hussein was executed around 3am this morning (GMT).

He was executed by Iraqi volunteers for 'crimes against humanity' and the process was filmed and then released to newsagencies around the world.

I don't think many people could argue Saddam's innocence. This was a man who carried out some pretty heinous acts but I still personally feel that his execution achieves nothing beyond recharging and refueling the circle of bloodshed.

Saddam's so-called 'trial' could only ever come to one conclusion and rather like a fox that 'plays' with its victims before killing them, the outcome was also inevitable.

How does killing repay killing? Who profits? What does his execution achieve? Why couldn't Saddam spend the rest of his days in jail?

The Iraqi people recently had a chance to write their 'constitution', something which they could not do under Saddam's rule. They had a chance to put an end to brutal law but it seems that as far as 'state-sanctioned-murder' goes, little has changed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Islamic Martyr?

Saddam Hussein has lost his 'appeal', he will be executed at some point during the next four weeks.

I am concerned that the Iraqi government (fully supported by the USA and the UK) will do nothing more than make things worse by taking the life of yet another human being in this so-called-war on terror.

Saddam may be guilty of war crime but how does anyone benefit from his death? How can anyone from these so-called 'civilised' countries, continue to bay for his blood?

Saddam will be murdered under the law, his execution will be fully condoned by the UK, a nation which supposedly objects to capital punishment and the fundamentalists will now have a new face for their battle of hatred. Thousands more will die under the name of Saddam, both in Iraq and probably the USA and the UK too.

I am sick of duplicitous governments talking justice and democracy whilst overthrowing regimes and executing their leaders. Its not good enough to claim the moral high-ground and then execute a man. They may try to say this is an Iraqi decision but they are fooling nobody.

Come on Tony... If we don't support the death penalty here in the UK then why don't you speak out about this and try to get the sentence commuted to life? I don't think this will happen but lets not be too surprised when the troubles in Iraq deepen. With Saddam's death, the Iraqi's, Americans and Brits have signed thousands of other death warrants too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pictures from the Vatican

I have finally created and uploaded a picture slideshow containing some pictures from my trip to Rome.

I'm due back in the next year to work on a project for the BBC which will be broadcast nationally in the UK and featured online too.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with the slideshow...

Aidan of Lindisfarne's christmas message

Hmmm, it seems as if the spirit of christmas cheer doesn't quite spread as far as it should, especially within the church itself.

My mate took this picture doing a trip out and I couldn't help notice the 'unsaintly' like gesture being offered up by this so-called-holy-man whilst wearing what appears to be the full Bishops garbs.

It got me thinking on a serious note. Maybe we place too much importance on people who, are really just like us all when you get down to it.

There's another Bishop at the moment who's behavior is being challenged as less than picture perfect. He said he was mugged but some people think he was drunk. Either way, I cannot help but think that if only we didn't pretend that all these 'very right worshipful reverends' are 'Godlike' then we'd realise that according to the Bible at least, we are all sinners... Every single one of us, Bishops, bloggers 'et al'.

In fact, surely that's whats at the heart of the christmas message? According to the bible, thats why Jesus was born, he was born to deal with sin by dying on the cross.

Maybe if we can see past the tall hats, robes and all the other paraphernalia, not to mention all the over commecialised 'Santa Claus' xmas, we may catch a glimpse of Christ himself this time round.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

A week away...

Can bloggers take time off? Do we deserve time off or should we be chained to the computer terminal to continuously churn out our rants, ramblings and observations?

Partly prompted by this BBC Manchester blog post and also by a slight pang of guilt for not updating for a whole seven days, I found myself wondering to what extent and for what purpose do we blog at all?

I suppose for me, its partly to express thoughts and feelings which we all have but we don't all share. We all have opinions on most things but there isn't often an outlet, unless your a blogger of course!

My break over in the Lakes was great, I feel quite relaxed now (almost able to face Christmas... Well almost) It rained continuously for five days and nights but aside from a trip to Newcastle, my Girlfriend and I spent most of the time in our cottage, by the wood burner.

Anyway I am back now and I've returned to 118 emails and a load of work but just time to include one of my pics... Hopefully it will help me keep a sense of 'holiday peace' beyond tomorrows rush hour.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Final touches for the Rock FM media bus

After a complete internal refurb which includes state of the art plasma screens and computers. The Rock FM media bus will be ready to hit the roads by tomorrow as the finishing touches to the exterior design are finalised.

I got chance to take a look today and I must say its looking really good indeed. The bus will be used in schools and community projects across the North West region and to top it all off, we will also be hosting live broadcasts, music gigs and DJ workshops plus lots of other extra things which have yet to be thrown into the mix.

The Rock FM bus has already proved to be incredibly popular for a few lucky schools who were able to work on pilot projects over recent weeks but as the paint dries on the outside, the focus will once again shift to providing top-quality teaching and media training on the inside.

The bus is kitted out with a laptop zone and a separate couched area at the back where another group can work on planning or watch a dvd. Its also possible to broadcast onto the radio from the bus and over the coming weeks and months, some of the station presenters and guests will be popping on board for special visits.


If you'd like more information about the bus or if you'd like us to visit your school or community centre then drop me an email and we'll have a chat.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Photojournalism and Wigan Athletic

I have recently been working and devising a photojournalism course for use within secondary schools and as the project draws to a close, I thought I'd blog about it a bit for any teachers who want to explore ways of looking at photography/art/media and communication outside of the classroom.

Pictured above is Tony Smith from Wigan Athletic who manages the community bus which allows the club to deliver ICT and media training in schools. Some of you may know that since the start of this academic year, I have been working as part of this team and I decided that this would be the ideal platform to build further on my ideas of how to use photography to engage people in community related issues.

For this project, we took a group of five students to the training ground where they had chance to have a go at sports photography as Wigan Athletic were training. The coaching staff and team were excellent and the Manager kindly allowed me to take an 'official photo' which will now be signed and presented to the school.

After the photoshoot, Tony showed the students round the JJB stadium and then held a mini press conference in the press room, all the time, reinforcing how the media work with the club on matchdays to get all the important info into the public domain as quickly as possible.

The project has proved to be incredibly successful and for me, it goes to show that within education, media can be used as a useful tool to engage pupils with curriculum topics and in this case, take a more detailed look at the world around them.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I'm really getting into my games...

Anybody who's into their computer games will probably be well aware of just how powerful the next-gen consoles are, but some of the graphics in the latest xbox 360 shooter, do look more realistic than usual.

In Rainbow Six: Vegas, you get to sign up to the fictional Rainbow squad, devised by Tom Clancy. Its then time to run around Las Vegas and gamble with your virtual life as you tackle the nasty terrorists who have clearly been recruiting... There's thousands of them!

Gameplay aside, one really nice feature allows you to get right into the action by mapping your face right into the game. Users who own the xbox webcam can take a series of photos which are then digitally 'mapped' into the game, in 360 degree glory.

I found my virtual persona to be slightly flattering, but amazingly accurate! And as I went online, I noticed a few other familiar faces too.

Yes, in the game, I bumped into George Bush. I shot Homer Simpson (doh!) and JFK and even glimpsed one cheeky chappy who had tried to include a picture of their posterior (with mixed results).

With a slight degree of seriousness, I am amazed how the latest breed of games consoles are bringing a richer and more vivid world into the games which we are playing and I cannot help but wonder where this can go to next. Oh and to the 'bum' who was running around before... Get a shave mate...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Have you seen this man?

He is of course the Cuban Leader, Fidel Castro, but although his hold on power hasn't faltered in fifty years, he hasn't been seen in public for quite some time either.

This coming Saturday sees the fiftieth anniversary of Castro's assumption of power but at the moment, its still unclear if the 80-year-old leader will make a public appearance. Castro Hasn't been seen in public since August.

Conspicuous by his absence, this has led many bloggers to ponder Mr Castro's current state of health or even if his status as that of a living individual is entirely accurate. In any case, its quite interesting to read some of the various blogs about what the future may hold for the Nation of Cuba.

Daniel Freedman writes that now is the time for democracy to strike while the nation exists in a rarely seen state of 'limbo'. While Parnell warns us not to bury Castro just yet as his death has been (incorrectly) reported on "more than one occasion". This seems quite logical to me as it is my understanding that generally speaking, we only get one shot at dying.

Whatever the state of the undoubtedly ailing leader is. I do find it interesting to see how different people are preparing for the future. Some want change, others do not. Some want to keep Castro's ideology alive and well, while others seem keener to assassinate it quickly, something that they failed to do 'in personam'.

Billie McCurrie Radio Interview

A few people have requested this interview so I will post it on my blog once again.

I first met Billy at a YL (young life) meeting in Southport. I found his story to be incredibly moving so I decided to arrange for Billy to be given an opportunity to talk about his experiences on a radio programme that I was producing at the time.

Religion is often a motivating factor for violence and terrorism in today's society, but Billy's story shows that this doesn't always have to be the end of the matter, The Bible's message is still bringing people to repentance, a place where they seek forgiveness and a place where they turn their lives around.

Click here to listen to the interview

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Manchester festive market

Christmas is close and with the Manchester festive market being in town, Santa must be taking the cover of his sleigh as I speak.

As I walked round (mulled wine in hand), I was amazed as aver at the variety of the various European food, art and crafts that were on display. I could have spent a fortune but instead limited my buying to a single bottle of Sasparilla. I had never tasted it before so I thought I'd give it a go.

It reminded me that often, its the simple little things which make life great fun. I really enjoyed walking around, drinking my 'winter warmer' and taking in all the different sights and sounds (and foods of course!)

If you in the area, or is theres a festive market near to you then please take my advice. Pay it a visit and try some of the foods on offer while you're there!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Showing off your pics, web 2.0 style!

Showing or sharing photographs via the internet certainly isn't new but a new web service is making it much easier to do, and sexier to look at as well.

'The big picture library' is a nifty web 2.0 app which allows you to dynamically upload your pictures (up to 25 at a time!) which are then displayed attractively for your viewers.

Yes, gone are the days of troublesome designing and programming. The service includes a good selection of templates for you to choose from and you can easily swap on a regular basis, no programming needed and completely hassle free.

This kind of service showcases the versatility of the latest breed of web 2.0 sites that are out there and more importantly, it helps us to glimpse how we will be using the internet in the not-too-distant future. Some websites are already toying with online organisers, web 2.0 video editing, and of course, the infamous 'wiki' which started the second generation of websites a few years ago.

The service is currently free for personal use but uptake has been swift so you may need to be patient with it until initial interest dies down or the servers are beefed up.

In any case, this is a wonderful website which will have photographers clicking away in order to create a free, high impact, readily available photographic portfolio.

If you'd like to see how I have used the service, click here.

Been out taking pics again on Sunday...

I was out and about on Sunday, taking pictues on a special 'Talk photography' forum photoshoot. The venue was Bolton abbey in North Yorkshire and as the weather steadily improved throughout the day, I had a great time snapping away. In fact it was my first photography 'day' for a few months what with work being busy and all that.

I also enjoyed my Sunday lunch too. Emma and myself dropped in to some posh gaffe called the 'Devonshire' and although I had my suspicions that it may be pricey (2 helicopters on the lawn), I was still quite shocked to pay 40-odd quid for lunch, just for the two-of-us.

The food was great, although the prices did leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

You can see the piccies here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More blogging evangelism from me!

I've been at it again! Chris Gaskell, a mate, performer and x-factor STAR! (honestly!) is now blogging... And I'm to blame...

Feel free to check out his new blog or the website.

The great thing about blogs is that you don't have to be (too) geeky to be good at it and it could actually earn you some cash if people like what they see. It won't be long before Chris gets some bookings directly as a result of his new blog.

Another feature that I'm keen to push is web 2.0 integration. Web 1.0 was personal homepages but 2.0 is blogs with Youtube embedded movies. Its NEVER been easier for people to share their experiences online and reach out to a wider audience.

May I formally wish Chris all the best for his blog and his gigs and I couldn't finish this post without including a youtube interview with the man himself.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Taken last year

As some of my regulars may know, last year I visited the Vatican and got chance to take a few snaps too.

On average, I can take a few thousand pictures during a photoshoot so it isn't that surprising that even though its a year ago, I'm still processing some of the pics.

I can't help feel a certain degree of pressure when photographing some of the greatest works of art in the world. It has to be spot on and maybe thats why I don't really want to rush into anything. So as I look at my finished picture (which has taken longer to produce than the statue itself!), can I honestly say I'm happy with the results?

This sculpture is called the Pieta by Michelangelo. It shows Christ after his crucifixion, his lifeless body is being cradled by his mother.

Michelangelo originally made this sculpture to cover someone's tomb but it was moved onto an elevated plinth in the 19th century. The sculpture employs some perspective 'trickery' too. At first glance, it may appear quite normal, however the figure of Christ has been made smaller in comparison in order to fit appropriately into the overall scene. The figure of Christ also includes a 'modest' depiction of the crucifixion wounds although bizarrely, there are no wounds on the soles of his feet. Some interpret this to be symbolic of the resurrection story. Either that, or he forgot.

Michelangelo also signed this work, his name is written on the sash of the Virgin Mary. Apparently this is the only piece of work that he signed and afterwards, he vowed never to do it again.

He also designed the colossal dome which covers the tomb of St Peter and also painted the ceiling in the famous Sistine chapel.

I hope my picture does some justice to a remarkable work of art by a remarkable artist although nothing can come close to seeing these things in person.

Make money from your camera snaps!

Once again, I received an email from fotolibra to advise me that someone has bought one of my pictures of Loch Ness for publication.

Fotolibra is just one of many web-based photo management services where you can sell your work automatically without having to program a website or worry about marketing. Now of course, you pay for the privilege, its a 50% split for any images sold and you need to pay to join up but I suspect that will soon change as more companies thart to offer similar services.

Its always nice to get an email saying that your pictures are selling and if you have a good eye for advertising photography then you could easily make a tidy sum from your picture sales too.

This is also a growing market, Getty Images have also introduced a similar service although it would appear that the sales figures aren't as exciting for the photographer and Getty also want exclusivity too. Although Fotolibra do take 50% comission, they don't demand exclusivity for your royalty free pics.

My thanks to all the good folks at Fotolibra and I look forward to hearing from you more often :-) Oh and here's my fotolibra galley page if you want to buy my pics :-) And finaly, if anyones wondering? Someone made £25,000 from one image via fotolibra for a picture which sold with worldwide 'billboard' usage rights... Not bad for a days work eh!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Al Jazeera - International news channel launches

Al Jazeera news has begun to broadcast internationally, in English. Its Arabic sister channel has often found itself in the middle of controversy and George Bush even threatened to bomb its headquarters, but what can it bring to the news table?

The channel has enjoyed a positive launch with many well known broadcasters swelling the ranks. Ex BBC, Ex CNN and other familiar names have relocated to work out of the channels HQ at Doha, making Al Jazeera the first International news channel to broadcast from the middle east.

As I watched the opening minutes of the very first broadcast, I was reminded what a large part the media plays in international affairs. There will be some who may question the impartiality of the channel but I think that its better to have more voices commenting on international affairs rather than fewer. I look forward to seeing how they choose to report some of the events that happen right on their very doorstep and which them all the best for the future and for their safety.

You can watch the opening few minutes from Al Jazeera's opening broadcast below.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A cathedral of consumerism

As we get closer to Christmas, its obvious where the faithful are meeting in order to get ready for the festive season.

Today, the Trafford Centre was HEAVING! it was positively bursting at the seams with people who were starting to do their bit to bump up the national debt.

The shops were packed and I felt quite out of my element amidst all of these, clearly professional shoppers.

Recently in the news, some faith groups complained that the western, capitalist culture is slowly choking the life out of our nations spirituality. I'm not too sure, but I do think thats its pretty obvious where our priorities lie...
Jesus once commented "where your treasure is: there also is your heart". I wouldn't be too surprised if mine is still stuck in the Trafford Centre somewhere.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Working with Wigan Athletic

Some of my freelance work involves teaming up with Wigan Athletic FC where I work as a Schools Co-ordinator.

The club has a big blue 'We Are Wigan' bus that's kitted out with state of the art media production gear and laptops. The bus then rolls up to the venue and we deliver media-based schools work which usually involves the students creating a radio programme.

Needless to say, the bus is very popular indeed in the community and within the schools. especially if we have a few players onboard or other special 'guests' for our visitors to interview.

This last month, the bus has been visiting a special needs school in Wigan and we've all been working hard to make a documentary style video/radio programme to tell people what kind of things go on in school and how people's individual needs are identified and catered for. The pupils have all worked very hard on this project and although I am still putting the finishing touches to the video, it looks great!

We've had some help along the way from a few of the Latics players, Neil Turner MP and other people of equal importance, and for me, its been a real privilege to have worked in a school with such a positive and forward-thinking ethos.

Pictured in this post is Peter who visited the bus to receive a signed team poster.

Photography Exhibition

Sunday was a busy day for me as I put the finishing touches to a special exhibition of photography which opens at the Wythenshawe Forum later on Monday.

The work will be on display for two weeks and the photographs have all been taken by my students who studied on a course which I developed (pardon the pun!) and delivered for Manchester city council.

The work started a number of months ago when another BBC freelancer and friend contacted me to ask if we could write a short course to introduce people to digital photography, so we got together and devised a four week course which was aimed at complete beginners, to show them the ropes and get to grips with some of the current crop of digital compacts.

I then tutored around sixty people from four different community centres around Manchester and we looked at the basics along with some of the more advanced techniques of how to get the best out of even the point-and-click digitals.

I suppose its a common mistake, but lots of people often think that you need to spend mega £££ to get equipment thats good enough to take an award winning photograph, and while it can help, I think most people found it refreshing to find out that its not a necessity. All thats really needed is a 'good eye' and a bit of luck by being in the right place at the right time.

Some of the group were just intrigued by what they could achieve with their new piece of kit whilst others wanted to incorporate photography with their own art-related hobbies and one lady (Janet) was learning how to take better pictures for her blog.

Whatever the reason for being on the course, I feel that digital photography has something to offer most people who give it a go and even as Damian and myself devised the course, I began to plan for a special exhibition which would be used to showcase some of the photos taken by those on the course. Its this exhibition which finally saw the light of day today and as we stood back from the pictures which had just been hung, I felt very proud of each and every photographer represented there.

It would be easy to finish my post be saying that the course went well and that I'd like to do another but I'm hoping we've achieved more than that. I'm hoping that we've inspired some people to take a closer look at the world around them and I hope that we've helped others to realise that they have the skills to learn and grow in areas that they never thought possible.

Sometimes, we may think that as we press the button down, we are showing people whats going on in the world outside of the camera lens, but quite often we are also allowing people a glimpse inside our minds and sometimes even our hearts too.

The photographs may be seen for two weeks at the Wythenshawe Forum, Manchester.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Can you spot the difference?

Most people who have been keeping up with things over the last few days will know roughly whats going on in the USA.

The story is still unfolding and with one state yet to declare but anyone who lives outside the USA (and there are one or two of us) may wonder what exactly has changed since yesterday?

The President may still be sat in the Oval Office and he still has the authority to push some pretty nasty buttons but apart from that, pretty much everything has changed.

The USA runs as a 'republic' whereas the UK runs as a 'constitutional sovereignty'. There are lots of differences, some subtle, some not-so-subtle and one of the main differences center around the offices of President and Prime minister.

Here in the UK, the head of the 'ruling' party holds the office of PM but in the states, the two entities are quite separate. The President holds office quite separately from the 'ruling party' and thats whats changed yesterday. The old ruling party (Republicans) are out and the Democrats are in. Thats a little bit like Tony Blair waking up tomorrow to find that the 'Tories' are now 'in' but he's still Prime minister.

Thats why this is very big news indeed. For the remaining two years of George Walker Bush's presidency, his party won't hold majority rule in overall government. The way in which the USA runs will change and this could affect the war, the economy and maybe the way the USA faces up to environmental issues too.

I've often thought that some bits of US politics seem better, not just the fact that they see a new President at least every 8 years but it may be a case of the grass being greener on the other side.

So as all the dust settles, there will be some changes stateside and you may not need to look too closely to see some of them either.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I had a nice little surprise last night when I found out that I'd won a photography competition that I'd entered.

The subject for the entries was 'movement' and I posted a picture that I took in Blackpool on my little Sony T9 digital compact. I think this goes to show that the main thing that counts with photography is spotting the right moment to capture and framing it well.

The world famous photographer Herni-Cartier-Bresson, called this the 'decisive moment' and in in this age where so much emphasis and importance is put onto the equipment, its nice to 'escape' from that and use a camera like the T9 which is refreashingly simple to use.

The competition was run by Talk Photography. An excellent resource for any snappers out there :-)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vodcast news for this blog

Video news and reviews about this blog.

A free download... Honestly!

Get your fill of Frank here (Frank's MySpace) and don't forget your FREE DOWNLOAD!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Management speak from the journalists?

The BBC have been drawing our attention towards some of the common management sayings which many of us will have come across at some point or another.

If its not 'joined up thinking' or 'running it up the flagpole' then I'm sure most of us will have been encouraged to try 'thinking outside the box' or even somehwere up in the 'blue sky'.

A report from the CBI tells us that when we hear these (and other) sayings, we lose confidence in the speaker, it seems that clichés 'blight' us all and make us feel that maybe we aren't hearing anything new after all.

The BBC's article may be found here but as per usual, it got me thinking...

In the business of journalism, clichés are commonplace. Its a 'bid' for this or a 'mercy dash' for that, How many times have we been told of 'crisis talks' where deals are being 'hammered out' or about someone who 'sustains fatal injuries', surely they mean, die?

The BBC are certainly well aware how clichés generally make audiences 'tune out' and that most of us don't really hear past them at all.

They have commissioned a guide which you can download for yourself and it makes quite an amusing read too.

Most of us use clichés quite sparingly and will even apologise before using one, but certainly here in the UK, its clear to anyone who reads through the guide, the message hasn't got through to those who keep us up to date with the news, at all.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It might be good to talk... But it can be expensive too!

As per usual, I spent some of my weekend at the Trafford Centre and I think I managed to find what must be the most overpriced product on sale, anywhere!

Yup, forget £85 sandwiches, in one of the Jewelers I stumbled across an extra small mobile phone with an extra large price tag. For those who think their eyes may be playing tricks on them, they aren't, it really is £20,450!

I did nip in and ask if the handset was free if I take a 12 month contract but unfortunately it isn't... My eye for a bargain was maybe, a little too keen.

Here's a pic... With that built in arial, I bet the signal reception is still crap!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Webcameron: Vodcasting now

The latest new media project from David Cameron has launched and who better to present it than: Boris Johnson.

Mr Cameron's blog/podcast has proved to be very popular, popularity which was only increased after some Labour MP's parodied it with disastrous PR fallout but without wandering too far from that theme, his new 'Vodcast' features the national treasure who is, Boris 'The Blogger' Johnson. In the first episode, Boris shows us around his office and explains why his office printer took so long to install (I won't spoil it for you).

I chose to feature Mr Cameron's blog on my page here, not for political reasons, but because I am desperate for those in public office to become more in touch with every day people like you and me. I am sick of faceless politicians telling me what I should or should not do or think and I'm sick of being lied to on just about every topic under the sun.

In this day and age of parliamentary committees set up to investigate parliamentary committees, I can't help but feel that Mr Cameron's blog/podcast/vodcast offers us a tiny touch of 'glasnost' in what is still the very private world of public politics.

Check out the site here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Paul Hurst's blog revisited: Elevator hacking

Someone asked to see my blog article all about 'elevator hacking' so here it is.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm a blogging 'evangelist'

I'm busy preaching the word about how many of us 'everyday' folks can have blogs too. It isn't just for those who are computer geeks or crave attention, nope we can all enjoy keeping a blog and here's why:

1. Blogging helps remind us what we are actually doing with our time... And as you can see from mine... Far too little!

2. Blogging helps us keep in touch with people we don't see often. Why email when you can leave a nice comment on someones post?

3. Blogging helps us to express ourselves in new ways. Who knows who will be reading?

4. Blogging helps us to use the internet to connect with people and not companies. I remember when it all used to be about that but not anymore, unless you count blogs that is.

And finally, it is possible to make contact with new people... So do you visit my blog often? Ahem!

Just before I dash for today, may I also mention that my message has fallen on 'good soil' and borne 'much fruit'. A friend of mine, Joe Heyes has made a start on his blog so if you have a few mins, why not be kind and pay him a visit oh! and please be sure to post an advert for your blog here.. Xanga, myspace, blogger, flickr... Everyone is welcome to post a link!

Ps... As its Halloween, if anyone missed todays revamped google logo (now a tradition) here it is...

Spooky eh!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Healthy eating starts HERE!

(Wholesome burger pic is from:

Now this might look good (and by jove it does!), but have you any idea what this kind of food actually does for you?

We all may be used to counting the calories and considering the cholesterol, we may even only eat food like this once per day (!), but a cursory glance at google soon brings the news home, and its not good.

If your diet looks more like this than something nice and green, then you could be losing anything from 20-30 years from your lifespan. Wikipedia also hints at heart disease soon after 40 but whats out there for us bloggers who actually want to survive to see web 2.0?

Well lets start here. This blog makes big claims: "How to never feel hungry again". If you read deeper though, the article seems to just say 'eat what you want' (highly paraphrased), now that sounds like the healthy lifestyle for me but I don't think that I could trust myself with this kind of rulebook.

Over at The amazing adventures of dietgirl the plan seems to be to use your blog as some kind of honesty journal. Own up to whatever you eat and maybe you'll 'shock' yourself into losing weight. It seems like a good idea but she seems to posting quite regularly at the moment so I wonder, does that mean shes honest and overweight or just compulsive and HUGE! (actually its WORKING!)

And finally, how could I justify this post unless I could offer some free stuff? Well I can't really promise it will work but here's a website thats got to be good for you. may promise you free things but maybe with all that Omega 3 oil thats floating around, I can't help smelling something a bit 'fishy'. I'll finish my post by making my blog the DEFINITIVE guide to HEALTH, WEALTH and HAPPINESS.

1. Only eat veg and even then, not too much (HEALTH).
2. Take any website that offers 'free stuff' with a pinch of salt (no more than 6g per day though) (WEALTH).
3. HAPPINESS? Well make sure to get your regular dose of this blog of course... What more could anyone ask for?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Adobe 'Soundbooth' FREE BETA!

Big news for anyone working with audio... Here's some free software for you to try.

Adobe systems have today released an open beta version of a program called 'Soundbooth'. The software promises to offer some direct competition to Apple's 'Soundtrack pro'. Soundbooth beta is available for both PC and (intel) Mac here.

Currently on the Mac (my platform), the best sound editor is probably 'Audacity' which is another free download but I will certainly be beta testing this one with interest.

***UPDATE*** Anyone looking for MP3 support will be disappointed with this beta as the encoder is not licensed for use in this beta version.

Microsoft 'hacked' off already

We really should be used to this now, Microsoft's latest version of Internet Explorer has already suffered a security compromise. The browser is less than one week old.

The loophole allows a website to 'masquerade' as another which could lead to end-users supplying sensitive data to unauthorized third parties, commonly known as 'phishing'.

This latest security issue is embarrassing for Microsoft as IE now includes 'anti-phishing technology' which obviously may not be as robust as the software giant had hoped for.

The best advice remains to keep your personal data to yourself and never follow links to supposedly 'well known' sites which then ask you to log in or provide bank details. Instead, visit webpages directly.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The long arm of the law, with only a short reach

As some of you may know, my car was broken in to last week while I was working in Manchester and just when I thought it had been an expensive week for me to be a car owner, I saw the yellow fluorescent jacket of the Traffic cop telling me to pull over.

My offence was going 48 in a 40 at 11.02pm on a quiet dual carriageway, in fact there were more cars queuing up to be 'processed' than there were on the road... Anyway, as I drove off with a 60 pound fine and points to accompany it, I couldn't help noticing that the £60 fine equals the amount I had to pay for new glass when my car was broken into.

Isn't it rather ironic that the police don't seem to cracking down on crime, rather catching motorists unawares at 11pm?

Where were they at 4pm last Thursday?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Biased afterall?

The Daily Mail reported yesterday that the BBC is institutionally biased, by their own admission.

This type of thing is often reported and commented on but on this occasion, some of the BBC's top brass and journos seem to agree.

In this article, the Daily Mail quotes Andrew Marr (Political journalist) as saying

"The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly-funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people.

"It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias."

Ok, so its not exactly earth shattering. Surely even the BBC should change with the times? But should this be counted as liberalism?

I tackled this whole topic of bias myself a few months ago here but for those who need to cut to the chase, I feel that true impartiality is impossible. How can we report crimes involving vulnerable individuals or mass murder without overtly stressing the opinions of the victims?

In essence, impartiality has little to do with fact however it may effect how journalists go about looking for them.

But what about comment and analysis? The BBC dedicates some of its news and current affairs output on individuals expressing personal comments on the big issues of the day, and you can take it from me that most have their own agenda in doing so. Here the BBC relies on balance. We can't expect politicians to comment with impartiality but by giving equal measure to different parties etc, they hope to strike some degree of 'fairness'

The Daily Mail's article also looks wider than the just the news remit though. In the article, they also claimed:

Senior figures admitted that the BBC is guilty of promoting Left-wing views and an anti-Christian sentiment.

They also said that as an organisation it was disproportionately over-represented by gays and ethnic minorities.

It was also suggested that the Beeb is guilty of political correctness, the overt promotion of multiculturalism and of being anti-American and against the countryside.

During the meeting, hosted by Sue Lawley, executives admitted they would happily broadcast the image of a Bible being thrown away - but would not do the same for the Koran.

Now that's a whole new ballgame. The BBC's idea of impartiality only really centers around news reporting, some of these issues would probably be considered under 'Taste and Decency' And that's a whole new topic completely...

Do you think the BBC is biased or do you feel they do a good job?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday night down at the Tavern

Have you ever stopped to think about what tales float around your local pub?

I visited a friends pub this evening and was in the unusual position of knowing quite a few of the patrons propped up round the bar and as I chatted to some good old friends, I began to think about how things in life change for everyone, not just me.

from the Landlord who's music career appears to be going quite well thank you very much, to other people who have recently made some pretty momentous decisions in life. It seems that wherever I looked, there was a tale to be told and it may be the journalist within, but I really enjoyed hearing each and every one.

There are millions of conversations that flow around those four walls, from cars to careers and holidays to honeymoons. My friend Elliott was holding a special wedding party and as he was telling me about his wedding day two-weeks ago, down comes his new bride, wedding dress et al! My congratulations to them both and as he told me about eating pate on crusty bread with Champagne by the sea, my senses momentarily left the licensed premises to join them, an invided guest to their special beach picnic.

Not all the talk was happy, but it was all wholesome and as I write the final lines for today, may I encourage us all to take notice of those around us, especially if we call them 'friend'.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rx2008's amazing video! (a MUST see!)

The question is: Did he do the voice over himself? Its SOOO good!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Should newsreaders wear religious jewelry?

The debate of religion within societies continues to run and run here in the UK, but in a bizarre twist, the media storm has momentarily turned inward.

Readers may be aware that the Muslim veil is never away from the front pages at the moment, but the issue seems to have reached the desk of the news studio itself.

BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce wore a cross on her necklace and a BBC Blogger asked the wider question of what would we do if a Muslim presenter chose to wear the full veil?

Its worth noting, The BBC has not spoken on this matter so lets not throw any BBC PC comments round at the moment, rather I think the blog raises valid questions.

Does something like this affect impartiality? Or does this insult the professionalism of the journalists involved? And should we even be looking at issues like this? Do they not add the the sense of separation that is already far too wide in the UK's religious communities?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

1 Picture per day... for 6 years

This has been doing the rounds over on YouTube and its well worth a look for anyone who hasn't seen it before.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

KFC anyone?

This post has been prompted by desparation. I feel I must speak out and express my utter dispair. The Colonel would turn in his grave.

I have reached the conclusion that eating at a KFC restaurant here in the UK is largely a day long affair. Please don't anyone call this fast food.

How many times have you experienced this time-wasting scenario:

1. Enter KFC via door and join queue which begins a few inches over the threshold.

2. Contemplate leaving but the pull of the chicken is just too strong.

3. You notice that there appears to only be one person serving whilst there are four vacant tills.

4. The queue goes down very slowly as everyone in front appears to be ordering for twelve.

5. Just when you begin to lose all hope, its nearly your turn. Alas! someone is now trying to pay with an obscure credit card/voucher/cheque.

6. Nearly there! But what's this? Someone pushes in to complain that their drink has too much/not enough ice or the chicken is too hot/cold or just for an impromptu chat with the person who is 'supposed' to be working.

7. You get to the front of the queue but the person has disappeared... you wait while in all probablility they are using the restroom (without washing their hands).

8. Its YOUR turn... Your mind goes temporarily blank while you try to remember what you came in for.

9. The staff member has little to say while you order but seems to scowl.. Surely all this food can't be for one person?

10. After taking your order, they don't move on and take the next order... Oh no, they disappear again to manhandle chicken and chips onto a bun or into the box. At this point, you also notice significant gravy stains on the persons uniform and wonder... how?

11. You are relieved of far too much money in return for your meal which has inevitably lost some of its original appeal.

But wait! Even I was shocked yesterday as I visited a KFC which will remain nameless. Yesterday, while I was at Festival Park near Newcastle, I decided to visit a KFC restaurant and after waiting for nearly 30 mins for my food, I nearly choked on it when I heard the attendant announce to those who had been waiting 30 mins to reach the front... "I'm sorry, we have run out of Chicken"

Now I thought that I wouldn't finish my post on a negative so here's a few suggestions that I think the KFC crew could find useful.

1. Make sure you have chicken in stock - This one's important

2. If you have 4 tills... Why not push the (gravy) boat out and use them...

3. After taking someone's order... Serve the next person and the next, so on and so forth.

4. Get ANOTHER STAFF MEMBER to prepare orders using those handy monitors, Is that not what they are for?

5. Don't think people don't mind waiting... we do!

And finally... You may wonder why I have titled this post with the word 'Conspiracy' Well, basically I have found that regardless of the venue, the experince at KFC seems to be identical. Now I can't figure out why this is the case so I'm prepared to consider the possibility of some kind of KFC conspiracy.

And as for me, If any employees see this... I could be consuming the 'Hocker' burger unawares the next time I visit...

Monday, October 16, 2006

A big day for Mancunian Bloggers

With award categories including 'political' 'personal' 'arts' and 'culture' its going to be a mixed audience attending tonights first EVER Manchester bloggers awards bash.

I'll be there (of course!), loitering by the buffet table to mingle with my contemporaries and also to find out 'what the hell' an RSS feed actually is...

I've also hit upon what I think may be a totally unique idea. What if I take my sexy black Macbook down with me and actually blog from the event? I'll bet no-one else thinks of that idea... Sometimes I suprise myself with my creativity and originality.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The battle for hearts and minds... and YouTube

Am I the only person to notice a distinct increase of serious video's over on YouTube?

Its out with freakish 'near-fatal' accidents and in with party political pieces which try to sneak under the 'cool' radar to register with people who think that Senator McCain makes chips for a living.

I'm not saying that its a bad thing to drop the old political pill in with all that sugar but I do wonder if YouTube really is the place.

Here in the UK, the leader of the Tory party has set up his own blog, podcast and, vodcast too. He's trying to reach people who don't normally take much interest in the political world unless they start banning apple products which contain too much Mercury. (Airport base station anyone?)

I'm watching with interest to see if the medicine reapears up the YouTube, or if its swallowed, hook, line and sinker.

But what if all these political podcasts eat up too much precious space on my beloved iPod?

Well that would be too bitter a pill to swallow

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Apologies apologies!...

Ok its been quite some time since my last blog but I've been Holidaying in the Algarve and working hard to catch up on my return but I thought I'd bring you all up to speed with some of my recent photo outings since we spoke last.

I'm going to start by looking once again at what makes a good picture. When I went on my hols, I didn't take my DSLR and lenses, instead I took my Sony T3 (cybershot) and was quite happy with the results too. My thoughts as to photography were also provoked further when my first trip out since my return with my DSLR camera was a complete let down.

We went out to photograph in the evening and I failed to get a single shot, my camera coping very poorly with the contrast range out in the evening sun. I tried hard to fix the problem but failed and became very frustrated.

What a contrast and refreshing change I have found then, by using the Sony T9 for a few informal nature type shoots. Here the focus has been away from the kit and firmly on the framing of my pictures and I've found it absolutely amazing.

Now most multi-format photographers commonly go through re-birth's with film then digital then whatever else and My DSLR isn't going on ebay just yet but I found it so pleasing to carry around a small, inobtrusive compact camera and snap some pics that, in my opinion, represent some of the best I have to offer.

I'm including a few here but don't forget, the full res ones are over on my flickr account and you can click the flickr badge at the side of my blog to get there.

All of these pics were taken on a consumer compact digital camera (Sony T9) and pare pretty much taken on point-and-shoot mode too. Personally speaking, I'm very pleased with the results.

I think that experiences like these help to remind us gadget freaks that the best camera on the market doesn't necasarily take the best pictures. Anyone with a modern digital compact can easily steal the crown from under their noses.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Pictures of cars...

Here's a few pics I took for some friends who own a car dealership. I just thought I'd share them online too.

Oh, and while were on the car theme... try this!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Over on Flickr...

I'm fast approaching 10,000 hits on my online photogallery over at Flickr. Feel free to take a look and thanks to anyone who already has.

The Flickr Gallery

Friday, May 19, 2006

Da Vinci Day: Is it worth all the hype?

A steady queue had formed by the time I'd reached the cinema and it was only 10.45 in the morning.

They were all waiting to watch Ron Howard's film based on Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, and as readers to this blog will know, I had to be there given my past brushes with this story that just won't go away.

Its hard to believe that for the last 2,000 years, we haven't really been told the 'gospel' truth about the life of Christ, yet its this theory that both the book and the film are based on. Basically we are told that Jesus was no more divine than you or I and in fact, he was a family man too.

The idea basically goes that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and before his death, he fathered a child called Sarah. After his demise, Mother and Child were whisked away from danger and they ended up in France where the bloodline of Christ was sustained and remains to this day. Now you won't read this in your Bibles because according to Brown, the Church has waged war against this 'truth' and purposefully erased it from history, presumably starting with Sunday School.

So the film (and book) allows us to evesdrop on Robert Langdon who finds himself caught up in-between this power struggle involving a ultra-strict Catholic organisation called 'Opus Dei' (Works of God) and the so-called 'Priory of Sion' who have supposedly managed to avoid the church and keep the secret (and Mary's body) safe, ready for the day when its safe to come out.

The story is helped along by the inclusion of corrupt Bishops, eccentric historians who know far too much about tea and a murderous monk, all setting the stage for a treasure hunt which threatens to challenge the oldest institution on the face of the planet.

Now before I go on, I can hear you asking: "Where does Leonardo Da Vinci fit in with all of this?" Well, if you believe the earth shattering documents which were conveniently found in the 1950's, he was a leader of this secret society, entrusted to keep the truth safe and its profile low, but in what could be considered the worst example of secrecy he decided instead to 'encode' the secrets in his paintings. Basically, if you have a secret then I wouldn't tell Leonardo!

Now I hope your all keeping up with this. If you are struggling then please spare a thought for little old me because thats how I felt during this 150 minute film. I'd read the book so maybe I did know what was coming next but I still found it tough going and this feeling was largely compounded by the fact that I've visited some of the so-called mysterious locations myself.

There's nothing particularly wrong with the film but like the book, the idea that its built on is far more interesting than the story itself. We are treated to some great shots of some great places and thanks to the large cinema screen, the massive churches certainly seem to come to life but unfortunately the characters don't.

I'd recommend this film to die hard Da Vincians or maybe conspiracy theory lovers but if its action or Indiana Jones that your looking for, then I'm afraid you wont quite feel full after chewing over this.


Trivia ***Exclusive***

As I watched the film, someone stuck out like a sore thumb! In one of the scenes where Langdon and Sophie are on a London Bus, you can see two 'passengers' who have had more than just a passing interest in Dan Brown's so-called 'fact'

Sitting there on the bus is Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince who are co-authors in crime for some of the background claims that Dan Brown sites in his work. Fact or fiction, lots of the occult and feministic theories have certainly been influenced by these two people. Maybe 2,000 years of church history should be written off but to be honest, I'd be more inclined to chuck these two from the bus first :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An interview at the Beeb

Spare a thought please for this poor chap. He went to the BBC for a job interview as a data clenser and due to some 'bizzare' mix-up he ended up in the N24 hotseat as a so-called 'expert'.

I'm not sure why, as he was being settled in the news studio, he didn't start to politely ask what kind of job interview this was. Rather he chose to keep quiet and let the production team continue on, blissfully unaware.

To his credit, as the 'interview that wasn't an interview' continued, he did actually take a stab at some of the questions!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Some radio work for BBC Manchester

As part of my job at the Beeb, I produced this radio interview which was *excellently* presented by Andrew Graystone. Andrew is also one of the producers for BBC One's 'Heaven and Earth' Programme.

I was introduced to Billy McCurrie a few years ago and find his story very interesting indeed. Terrorism is never far from the news headlines and its often mixed with religion. Billy says his faith set him free from it.

I thought I would include his story here.

Producer: Paul Hurst
Presenter: Andrew Graystone
(c) BBC 2006

Election 2006

As the results trickle in from English council elections, it seems that the role of technology has broken free from the simple 'swingometer' from days of old.

In today's complex information age, users can track results in real-time on the BBC's website. Wannabe Jon Snows (now Jeremy Vines) can even fiddle with figures using fancy computer graphics and remember folks, It's still just a bit of fun!

It seems that even the humble 'blog' has burst on the scene too. Both this blog and that of the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson have had a part to play. People have been able to comment in real time to Nick who has been keeping an eye on his blog in the studio.

He's keeping an eye on the studio guests too. He's openly admitting that he's grilling John Reid as to any cabinet re-shuffle although Mr Reid is choosing not to comment 'off piste' really. Couple that with technical troubles or selective hearing along with banana's and Mars bars to keep the energy up and its just another election night really!

Anyway here's my contribution which Nick has kindly published on his blog... Maybe he'll leave a comment on this one?


Nicks blog now holds much more importance. It seems that the studio (along with most of Westminster) has been hit by some kind of power cut! He's dictating his blog entries over a phone!

Basically the telly went funny and that was that!

At 3.30am, its starting to look bad for the BBC's coverage. Unless we can get 'Dimbers & Co' over towards the Pub (the OB location still has power) its looking like there may be a few similarities between both the government and the BBC. Its looking like a bad night for both with most people kept in the dark.

... And I thought the plug was going to be pulled on Tony Blair!

Ps. It looks like its us lot keeping the show on the road, here's another fellow blogger who's keeping an eye on things

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The heady heights of television news (sort of!)

I was just browsing through some files on my computer when I found one of my old college projects :-) It made me chuckle :-)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Big Brother is watching.... Closely!

Going out and about for a simple walk or bikeride could involve more technology than you think.... Here's why

I came across this novel little website at the Google Earth blog.

Its called Magnalox, and it allows anyone with a compatible GPS system to upload the GPS files from the unit and then create an online recreation of the trip itself.

If that wasn't cool enough, you can use Google Earth or Google Map overlays so that you can 'instant replay' your trip from Google's impressive 'Eye in the Sky'. You can even download the trip as a 'KMZ' file and view it in Google Earth itself! Could this possibly get any better? Actually yes it does!

Not content with just allowing you to re-live your 40 mile bike ride, you can even upload pictures and text from your trip. Its almost like blog based on your journey! The pictures and texts even 'trigger' at the appropriate places along the way too.

As soon as I saw all of these impressive web-based features, I dusted off my Garmin GPS III+ unit and nipped to Scan in Bolton to buy a Serial to USB converter and then downloaded a little Mac util called 'LoadMyTracks' which can download the information from my GPS handset. I was all set then, any GPS data that I logged was readydy to be used in Magnalox.

So after I was all set to go I nipped out in the car and drove round a small route just to record a small journey for me to upload. I also took a few piccies along the way for good measure and after a few mins fiddling with the website, by Jove! It works!


I'm going to use this to plot some of this summers bike rides as my GPS unit acts as my speedo on board (I have the only PC compatible push bike in Wigan!)

So watch out for some pretty nifty blog articles on my biking trips, including GPS data, pictures and text... If I've any energy left to type!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Yorkshire Dales trip

With no 'real' camera on hand (very remiss!) I had to make do with my mobile today as I was back in Yorkshire visiting the magnificent limestone pavement near Ingleborough.

After a nice drive around the area and a great pup pool competition and lunch, we headed off for a walk over the pavement. Its so strange to see this completely natural phenomenon which spans for miles in the shadow of the massive Pen-y-Ghent. It was formed about 15,000 years ago when a huge sheet of ice smoothed over miles of rough limestone, chiseling out the valley as it moved on. The power needed to do this is simply amazing.

I took a few pictures and also tried a short vlog too. It's a great place if you're ever nearby.

Here's a proper pic as well (Taken last year on my trusty film 'rangefinder')

Limestone Pavement

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A mini update for my blog

It's goodbye to the old and hello to the new as I decided to bite the bullet and trade in my car today.

In an attempt to re-live my joyus days of motoring in my old fiesta zetec-s, I have decided to go for a car with a bit more bite. I've gone for the Mini Cooper-S.

I went looking at them last year and decided then that the mini was basically the car for me so when I heard that my friend had one in his garage, I decided to nip over and sort the necessary paperwork as quickly as possible, before someone else did.

Minis have always been very fun to drive and this one is no exception. Although most of the 1950's ones spluttered and coughed their way towards 50, the top speed on offer here is a cool 140mph which is delivered through a 1.6 litre 172bhp engine. With 0-60 in 7 seconds, there's nothing 'mini' about this cars capabilities, its fast. Speed aside though, the car is great to drive with sports type handling and 17-inch, run-flat alloys which negates the need for a spare. Its probably just as well too, the boot is tiny, you'd have to have it on your lap!

I only had a quick test drive today but suffice to say I can't wait until the weekend when I pick her up. For anyone whos interested in what it looks like in the showroom, heres the pics...