What It Looks Like

Two views of Portpatrick from the middle of the harbour; one taken on the mobile and processed as usual with snapseed:



and the other on the Sony NEX-7 with an ND1000 filter to give a long exposure brushed silver water and hint of movement in the clouds, processed with Photivo and Darktable (amongst other things):

Portpatrick Harbour under a mackerel sky

Portpatrick Harbour under a mackerel sky

A Democracy

For the past month or so, my Facebook and Twitter streams have been fairly awash with politics – several positions represented from `at least do something’ to more specific suggestions. And so one’s braincell has been suitably spinning with big ideas of economy and nation-states, social equality, whether proportional representation is the right model for governance, whether one can apply `reduce,reuse,recycle’ to politicians, and all sorts of things.

What you actually get is the local defence budget blown on no fewer than 8 A4 printed direction signs guiding you 20yd into the village hall, finishing with “Queue Here” taped down a table-leg.

A Democracy

A Democracy

“I’m being a queue.”

Ten seconds later the two elderly ladies gave up personning the stall and came out to talk to Dog instead.

A View Down a Hole

My most popular photo on flickr, Raw, is a view taken an increasing number of years ago, as the light faded, looking down a big hole in the ground – the gorge below the lower bridge at the Falls of Bruar.

Today, whilst strolling along with Dog, I looked over some railings in the village carpark to another small gorge, and saw the cloud iridescence above me, reflected in a pool, the surrounding rocks draped with slimy green moss. How elegant…

Shades of pastel colours

Shades of pastel colours

A Bit Spooky

I’ve taken a few photos of these small waterfalls since the start of the year. This time, I went for the context of the surrounding caves as well, and just for a change, shot it using the new mobile phone camera before processing as an HDR panorama.
Port Mora, along the Southern Upland Way from Portpatrick.

Waterfall and Caves

Of mobile telcos and leaving @EE

A quick cost-benefit analysis:

  EE Vodafone+3
cost £37/month £9+£12.90/month
2g coverage fine excellent / NA
3g coverage fine NA / excellent
reliability atrocious excellent
contract length 24mo 12+1mo

Just to be clear, by “atrocious” I mean EE’s signal drops-out every time it rains or blows a gale, which in our particular geography is at least once a fortnight throughout winter, sometimes for half a day, and in both January and February, for periods of even 5 days at a time; there was no evidence of internal network monitoring, just fire-fighting reacting to tweets of complaint. As for customer service, when I wrote an actual letter to complain they tried to fob me off telling me to call 150 from the mobile that was out of action at the time. They also took a week to fix a broken SSL certificate on their customer login website. I really hated the phone – the Samsung Galaxy Note proved an unreliable lump of junk, the only phone I’ve had to return for warranty repairs – twice.

Granted, 3’s signal will suffer the same failings, but at a third of the monthly cost I’m prepared to continue paying for that, especially since my primary number is now on the most reliable service.

It’s funny how a lot of Android websites only seem to consider a handful of “premium” manufacturers – if it’s not Samsung, Sony or HTC, very few people seem to be interested. Yet by stepping outside the social Western norms, I’ve managed to acquire a thl mobile with dual SIM-card slots, octa-core CPU, 2GB RAM and a 13-megapixel camera (hey, that’s more than my old Canon G9 compact camera!) at a very reasonable price, and I can get a fair deal on recycling the old Galaxy Note as well.

Moral of the story? If you tie yourself in to a tariff and phone dictated by a telco, the service will be crap, after 2 years the phone will stink, and you’ll be throwing money down the drain. Liberation is bliss.