Daily Archives: Sunday, 4th Mar 2012

Weight and Stuff Report – 4 March 2012

Ho hum, back up a bit today.

After yesterday’s moderately long walk, I had a quiet day in today, in which, as you might have noticed, I did a bit more posting than I’ve got round to in a while. And if you think that’s bad, wait till I start watching that pile of classic Doctor Who DVDs that’s growing nicely in the corner. I’ll be needing to space those out, what with there being no new Doctor Who material until the autumn.

Today’s picture is a dragon.



I think he was curious about the Pentax Q…

Approaching a very big number

No, I’m not talking about my age, before any of my dear kind friends make any predictable comments. I’m talking about this:


For people who don’t scroll down much, those are the figures visible at the bottom of each Losing it page, which show that I have typed a lot of words over the last eight years. Now then, here’s the question:

When will I hit the million words mark?

Just think, if I was more focussed, I could have written a pile of novels instead of all this nonsense.

Matter – looks like an interesting project

I’ve just pledged a small amount of money to another Kickstarter project. No doubt at all in this case, as it’s already exceded its target by a huge margin.

Matter proposes a new weekly online publication. The idea is that each week there will be a single, long article. This will be a subscription publication, available on the web and on assorted devices. It will cover science and technology in more depth than most sites (and for that matter, most print publications) can manage, and as it’s to be funded by subscriptions, it won’t be designed for the benefit of advertisers.

They’ve got some experienced writers on board, and it looks like it’s worth investigating at the very least. I was interested enough to give them some money, anyway.

Here’s the pitch:

(If you’re using AdBlock, you probably won’t see that, so go direct to the Kickstarter page instead)

Ian McNabb – Little Episodes

As I mentioned recently, Ian McNabb has a new album out. It’s exclusively available from McNABBHQ, which either means Ian’s had enough of dealing with record companies, or that record companies are suffering from a complete inability to recognise proper bloody music when they hear it. Or both.

Being a McNabb fan, I ordered the CD within about 15 seconds of hearing about it, and it duly turned up (it would have been a day or two earlier, but as Ian tweeted, there were only two of them stuffing envelopes). And here it is:

Little Episodes

Little Episodes

And yes, that’s a nicely signed note from Ian. Cool.

It’s a funny thing about album prices. I mostly buy downloads rather than CDs these days, and it’s rare that I have to pay more than about £5 for a new release. Indeed, I’ve become so used to the low price that when something costs as much as £8, I find myself wondering if I really want to bother, which is odd, because that’s still a lot less than normal prices were ten years ago. But despite that, I had not the slightest disinclination to pay the full price of £11.99 for this. OK, that’s partly because it’s an new Ian McNabb album, which means I have to have it, but I think it’s more that the money is going direct to the artist rather than via a chain of suppliers. More money for Ian means he can keep making music, and that is a very Good Thing indeed.

Anyway, on to the music. I’ve already featured the video for lead track Ancient Energy, but I see no reason not to do it again, so here it is:

And that sets the scene for the album – it’s Ian in acoustic mode, with simple arrangements throughout, making it all about the songs and the voice. And his voice is sounding very fine indeed. But what about the songs?

Ancient Energy you can hear for yourself.

Other highlights include Abigail Rain, with Ian in storyteller mode

Winter came from the first
No one died of thirst
The lightning flashed and the water crashed
on the dry and dusty earth

Abigail rain, Abigail rain
She’s come to save the settler once again

Tiny Arrows seems to be about being able to stand anything except love. I think, assuming we’re talking about Cupid’s arrows. Doesn’t really matter, it’s good stuff.

I can take a cannonball, I can take a shell

But don’t shoot tiny arrows, please don’t put them in me

A heart that you can borrow is as good a “don’t hurt people” song as I’ve heard in a while:

Never steal a heart that you can borrow
Never take an item you can’t sell
Never put another into sorrow
Cos it all comes back one day
And you know you’ll have to pay
Nobody wants to be that way

And there’s more, of course, but you’ll just have to listen to the album. Buy it, you know you want to.

UNDFIND One Bag v2 and Waist Shooter

Camera bags. Over the last few years, I’ve tried several different kinds, and never found any of them to be quite right.

My first serious bag was the rather large Crumpler Daily XXL. Now this is a good bag which can hold outrageous amounts of stuff, but it’s just a bit too big to be the ideal go-everywhere bag, and can get in the way quite a lot. I still use it occasionally, but more as an overnight bag with laptop compartment than a photography bag.

Next came the backpacks – I’ve used a couple of different Lowepro bags, which are pretty good in that they have quick access to the camera, so long as it doesn’t have a very large lens attached – my 24-105mm is fine, but the 70-200mm won’t fit in the compartment. Now the backpack is actually pretty good for carrying kit to where you want to take pictures – it spreads the weight quite nicely, keeps your hands free, and generally protects everything. But when you get to where you’re going, it’s not so good. For a start, it sticks out behind you a lot further than you think it does, even if you already know that it sticks out a lot. This can make moving through crowds difficult (not to mention anti-social), and you need to shuffle it around to change lenses, which can be awkward.

So, when I saw something a bit different being promoted, I was interested.

Back in December, I mentioned that I’d signed up on a Kickstarter project for some new camera bags. Well, the project easily reached its funding target, and I did indeed get my bags. I got the set of two – the main One Bag v2, which I see as the general purpose go everywhere bag, and the smaller Waist Shooter, which I’ll probably use a lot less, but could come in handy.

Anyway, rather than describe them in detail, it’s probably easier to show you the official videos. This is all about the One Bag v2:

In the actual neoprene, the bag is as well-made as any I’ve seen, and the photo insert can be added or removed easily. It can also slide into the smaller rear compartment, where it makes a useful accessory divider if you’re using the bag in laptop configuration. This also saves you form finding somewhere to keep the insert where you won’t lose it.

I’ve been using this as my general-purpose bag[1] for the last couple of weeks. It’s comfortable to wear, and with the photo inset removed, can carry lots of random stuff in the main compartment. My little Pentax Q did look a bit lost in there, but never mind. The way the cover can fold back out of the way makes getting things in and out of the bag much easier.

Anyway, yesterday’s coast walk was my first time using the bag with the Canon 5D Mk II. I had the camera in one section, the 24-105mm lens in the next, and not a lot in the third. It is slightly less convenient having the camera in the bag without a lens already attached, but fitting a lens is a quick enough job, and with the aid of the Black Rapid strap, changing is somewhat easier, too.

I wore the bag on my left, with the strap on my right shoulder, and the camera crossing over from left to right, which felt quite comfortable – I was able to keep the camera to hand and the bag didn’t get in the way at all. So far, I like it a lot – whether I’m carrying a proper camera or not, this bag will do the job quite nicely.

But what if you want more than a couple of lenses with you, I hear you ask. Well, you could do worse than add the Waist Shooter. This is a smaller bag which is designed to securely wrap around a belt, but can also be worn over the shoulder. It could be the only bag you carry, with two lenses to supplement whatever you have on the camera, or you could double up – this would let you balance the weight of all that glass across your body and still have it all quickly accessible. Here’s the video:

I haven’t really used it yet, but I can see it following me to Wales in the summer.

I opted for the black leather covers for my bags, but as you’ll see from the UNDFIND site, there are lots of other options – you could even buy different covers for different occasions if you were so inclined.

I’m quite impressed with the bags – the design has been carefully thought out, and the quality is high. Good stuff, worth a look.

Full details, prices and ordering information can be found on the UNDFIND site.

[1] First commenter to call it a man-bag[2] will get a  :slap:
[2] I believe the US equivalent, which is actually funnier, is “murse”