Author Archives: Les

Weight and Stuff Report – 29 November 2015

Weight: 214 pounds (15 stone 4 pounds, 97.1 kg)
Steps taken: Very few...

Up a wee bit today.

I had a quiet day in today, doing that last bit of TV catching up before things expired from catch-up, doing some ironing, watching a movie and generally taking it easy. Apart from the ironing. That’s never easy.

This morning, I had a look at some of the photos I took in London a week ago, and gave some of them a bit of a play with my latest software tools which I really need to talk about. Here’s the statue popularly known as Eros in Piccadilly Circus. Pedants will be aware that this name is not correct, most people won’t care, and anyone else is invited to use the search engine of their choice to learn more. It’s currently surrounded by boards, which probably means something’s being done to the fountain. Or maybe it’s just shy.

Eros (well, not actually)

Eros (well, not actually)

Camera XF1
Aperture ƒ/6.4
Shutter speed 1/30s
Focal length 25.6mm
ISO 3200
Taken 16:59, 22 November, 2015

Doctor Who – Heaven Sent

Ooooooooooooooooooh, now that was seriously different. In a good way.

But once again, I think I’ll have to hold back from further comment until after next week’s ever so slightly large finale, as it would appear that what we’re really dealing with here is a three-parter.

Weight and Stuff Report – 28 November 2015

Weight: 213.6 pounds (15 stone 3.6 pounds, 96.9 kg)
Steps taken: 5,899

Down again today. These odd oscillations go on and on and on, don’t they. Or is that just me?

Anyway, after concluding my little TiVo Drama, I went out briefly for some shopping I’d forgotten yesterday (didn’t have it on my list, so I had no chance of remembering…), then came home and caught up with more missed TV. I think I’ve now seen all the things that were recorded that I was likely to get round to watching. I did have all the episodes of the current series of Doctor Who, in case I wanted to check back on them, but I can wait for the Blu-ray set to come out…

Here’s an informative sign from Edinburgh.

How... convenient

How… convenient

Camera iPhone 6s
Aperture ƒ/2.2
Shutter speed 1/35s
Focal length 4.15mm
ISO 25
Taken 15:50, 3 November, 2015
Location 55° 57.0742′ 0″ N 3° 11.3058′ 0″ W


I’ve had my Virgin Media TiVo box for longer than I realised – over four and a half years, which is quite a long time for a thing with a hard disk that does a lot of large writes. Lately, I’d noticed occasional problems which made me wonder if the disk was beginning to suffer – it would randomly pause on playback, or there would be brief burst of odd digital blockiness. But as these were intermittent and infrequent, I just mentally filed them as something to think about later.

Then on Tuesday night, there was an overnight power cut. The TiVo has survived plenty of these in the past without any problem, but this must have been just enough to send it over the  edge. As it happened, I didn’t switch it on at all on Wednesday (wine club after work), but when I got home on Thursday, I noticed something odd. The TiVo doesn’t have much of a display – just a couple of rows of LEDs, which indicate things like “having a signal”, “being switched on” and “recording”. I’d never seen anything other than red or green lights, so I was a little surprised to see a blue one. I didn’t even know it had any…

So I switched it on and was greeted by this:

It's dead, Jim

It’s dead, Jim

Oh. I left it to reboot itself. Again. And again. At this point, I decided I wanted to watch some things, and used the built-in on demand services on my TV. Which worked nicely.

I left the TiVo to talk to itself overnight, and as it was doing the same thing on Friday morning, I did a bit of research and found that this display means pretty much what I suspected: the hard disk is an ex-hard disk. This means I’ve lost my recordings (not a major problem, as the only unwatched stuff can mostly be found in iPlayer and other such things) and my recording set up (numerous things set to record whenever they appear). Recreating that for current shows will be easy, and I’ll have to keep an eye on the listings for the rest.

Reading on the forums suggested that Virgin often just send out a replacement box rather than sending out a technician. I’d have been fine with that, but it would probably have left me TiVoless for a few days. So, I called the customer support number, where the automated wossnames took me though various steps before passing me to a human (their automated thingy is now actually pretty good, and can do useful things like checking your kit remotely). The human asked me to do the traditional business of turning the power off and on again, which made no difference, as I expected. He then said that the best thing would be to send someone out, which suited me fine. The first available time would be Saturday (that’s today, the day after placing the call) between 8am and 12 noon, and would that be OK? Well, that was ideal.

And the Virgin Media man arrived nice and early, only it seems he wasn’t given a proper report of the fault, so he had to go away again to pick up a replacement TiVo. He found one of his colleagues in the area rather than going back to base.

He then removed the old TiVo, hooked up the new one (the box looks identical other than having a Samsung[1] badge on it rather than a Cisco one), and did the setting up bit (basically, allocating the new box to my account, and letting it update itself. Everything worked the first time, and he was gone by just after 9:30.

I’ve set all current programmes to record, and I’ll just have to watch the TV listings for the rest. And I spent a few hours today watching the things I’d recorded on the old box using iPlayer and other services. The TiVo is good for that, as if you find a programme in the guide, or search for it, it helpfully offers a link to episodes available on catch up.

So, job done, problem solved, satisfied customer.

[1] This means that my AV setup – TV, soundbar, Blu-Ray player and TiVo are all Samsung. The only exception is the Apple TV. Oh, and the clever remote control thingy…

Weight and Stuff Report – 27 November 2015

Weight: 214.8 pounds (15 stone 4.8 pounds, 97.4 kg)
Steps taken: 3,706

Another small rise today, ho hum, never mind, etc.

Here’s another one from London. Currently occupying the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, this is called Gift Horse[1]. The bright ribbon is displaying a feed of stock prices…



Camera XF1
Aperture ƒ/4.5
Shutter speed 1/6s
Focal length 14.3mm
ISO 3200
Taken 17:12, 22 November, 2015

[1] Harry Potter fans may suspect it’s a Thestral that’s lost its wings, of course

Weight and Stuff Report – 26 November 2015

Weight: 214.6 pounds (15 stone 4.6 pounds, 97.3 kg)
Steps taken: 3,398

A small rise today, but as it’s a very small one, I’ll ignore it.

In my London walk last weekend, I managed to get a few interesting photos (would have been better with the X-T1, but never mind). This is a part of the Horses of Helios sculpture at the junction of Piccadilly Circus and Haymarket, and a rare instance of me using camera flash:

Wild Horses

Wild Horses

Camera XF1
Aperture ƒ/6.4
Shutter speed 1/20s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 1600
Taken 17:01, 22 November, 2015


This is not a test

Oh no, nothing like that.

Just having a play with the new WordPress app…



Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/500s
Focal length 98.6mm
ISO 1000
Taken 11:26, 3 October, 2015
Credit Les Bessant
Copyright © 2014 Les Bessant
Exposure bias +67/100EV
Flash fired no
Keywords Fuji X-T1, Photowalk
Title Blow

Weight and Stuff Report – 24 November 2015

Weight: 215 pounds (15 stone 5 pounds, 97.5 kg)
Steps taken: 2,465

After all that walking in London, it was back to less activity today, but my weight’s slightly down.

This shiny bird can be found in Edinburgh (most odd, must have randomly clicked, as WordPress added the wrong picture the first time):



Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/6.4
Shutter speed 1/500s
Focal length 55.6mm
ISO 3200
Taken 12:27, 3 November, 2015
Location 55° 56.9583′ 0″ N 3° 11.5899′ 0″ W

Weight and Stuff Report – 23 November 2015

Weight: 215.5 pounds (15 stone 5.5 pounds, 97.8 kg)
Steps taken: 6,177

All that walking in London seems to have made me heavier…

Anyway, back home after an uneventful and even punctual journey.

This guys’s got his eye on you:

Watching you, watching me...

Watching you, watching me…

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/5.6
Shutter speed 1/500s
Focal length 122.6mm
ISO 800
Taken 12:00, 3 October, 2015