How I Voted…


It’s the orthogonal thoughts that caught my eye, so to speak.

The trees still stand. I mean, the town still stands – apart from one tent in the very middle of the pedestrian area, I saw no more campaigning.


Yes & No placards reside side by side, as do their representatives, chatting together outside the polling station.


The Church is open for business, contemplation, prayer, stillness.


Now to sit back and wait patiently. Quid sit futurum cras, fuge quaerere.

Now, who’s going to clean up all the litter?

Then and Now, Night and Day

Some time around March 2007 I acquired an ancient camera, an Ensign Carbine No.3, and took a photo of Perth railway station by night, returning home to develop the film myself. It’s the only photo I remember taking with that camera, but I like it for the Ilford Pan-F tonality and glow from the lens-haze.

Today, on my lunchtime stroll around town, I took a quick photo on the mobile, looking back along the same railway tracks to the station from the other side.

Perth railway station taken from Glasgow Road using a mobile phone camera (2014)

Perth railway station taken from Glasgow Road using a mobile phone camera (2014)

Perth railway station at night, taken on the Ensign Carbine No.3 with Ilford PanF+-50 film (2007)

Perth railway station at night, taken on the Ensign Carbine No.3 with Ilford PanF+-50 film (2007)

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.

Customized Android

A few days ago, my regular mobile came back from being repaired, for the second time. I mentioned that I’d flashed a custom ROM on it – this being the Ultimate GT-N7000 XXLT4 JellyBean 4.1.2 image.

The past couple of evenings have been happily spent tweaking all the settings and installing apps, both new and old. First, I settled on ADW.Launcher as Home replacement of choice. Previously, I had been using Folders to categorize apps, but was not entirely satisfied with the classification (Social and Photo were obvious, but a lot of apps were mundane or administrivia, with varying degrees of usefulness); this time, I’ve settled for 3 screens ordered by purpose: instant-access on the default (middle) screen; Android admin apps on the left; games, audio/video and organization on the right.

Installing Titanium Backup has the side-effect that I could uninstall system apps, most notably some of the Samsung bloatware that slowed me down enormously previously. (S Notes? Why does that even exist?)

Other apps of note:

  • I used to use Lookout as general anti-virus, but have been experimenting with AVG on the Hero while I waited for the Note to come back; it seems to have stuck.
  • I’d never investigated ES File Explorer / Manager before; very pleasantly surprised to discover it has network functions (browsing FTP servers, etc) and libraries for one’s media, so that’s staying.
  • Not playing games very often, I settled for rather conventional chess, reversi and thought maybe I’d try learning Go as well. (That’ll be a challenge and a half.)
  • Geographical apps: Google Maps and My Tracks for GPS logging while I’m out, Foursquare for annoying everyone with checkins
  • Social stuff: Browsing and reading news happens in Flipboard; for posting, I prefer one app to handle both Facebook and Twitter, and these days that app is Seesmic. WordPress allows me to blog here whilst on the move.
  • Photography apps: a lot of my work on this blog is with HDR Camera+, which works nicely but Camera HDR Studio looks promising modulo the clunky-kiddie user interface. Post-processing happens in Aviary.
  • One of the useful features of the Ultimate custom ROM is the ability to switch USB into mass-storage mode, something I’d not seen before. For us Linux users, this is much more useful than PTP or MTP. However, as a hang-over from days of Samsung bloatware, I use Airdroid for offloading files.
  • For a keyboard, I find Swype has smooth sliding and tends to have the various symbols and punctuation in the right places.

The background image is a photo I took of tall birch trees silhouetted against an orange sunset, taken on the patio where we used to live in Argyll.

Back in the land of the living


The proper mobile phone has returned from its second unauthorised leave of repair absence, and has been reformatted and flashed with a custom ROM (Ultimate N7000 XXLT4 JellyBean 4.1.2 v6 for the Samsung Galaxy Note, no less) which seems to be a whole load faster than before. So to celebrate, have a quick photo of the (intentionally, honest) wildflower meadow section of the garden.

Yay, and verily hallelujah!

And now back to reinstalling and reconfiguring all the apps I used previously…