Monthly Archives: January 2015

January 2015 Round-up

Well, that’s the first month of the year out of the way, which means it must be time for the usual summary thingy.


Well, I started on a lower than usual weight, which is my excuse for this

January 1: 215.9 pounds (15 stone 5.9 pounds, 97.9 kg)
January 31 : 218.4 pounds (15 stone 8.4 pounds, 99.1 kg)

That’s an annoying rise of 2.5 pounds (1.1kg). Must do better, etc, etc


Yes, I’ve done some of that. The trip to Bristol and Wales may have involved a restaurant or two.


Some moderate walks, but could do better. No change there…


A very quiet month – just 37 posts including this one


One trip to Bristol, with another one planned…

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 January 2015

A negligible alteration today…

After the usual breakfast and shopping, I headed out to buy some bits, and possibly bobs. While I got the bits I’d planned to buy, I had a bit of a double fail in buying some things I hadn’t actually planned on.

First, the sad story of the dragon. I’d noticed the interesting Edge Sculpture items a few times, but while I liked the style very much, there hadn’t been any that really appealed to me as things I’d want to own, due to a combination of size, price and subject. But then I saw The Dragon. Not just any old dragon, but a proper red Welsh-style dragon  :wales:  A nice size to fit on a shelf, and reduced in price from a bit more than I’d really want to pay to a moderately tempting £55. To see its niceness, you’ll need to look on the Edge site, where there’s a large photo available.

Well, I was sufficiently tempted and decided that I should have it. I was thinking of what a lovely photographic subject it would make, quite apart from looking pretty cool. As it happened, the only one in the shop was the display model, but that was OK – it looked to be in perfect condition. But while they were putting it into its box, disaster struck – one of its wings broke  :wah:  So I didn’t get my dragon after all.

And talking of photography, I had a play with the Fujifilm X100T in Jessops. And as their price was just a wee bit cheaper than elsewhere, I persuaded myself that I should probably have one. But that didn’t work because they didn’t have stock of the all black one, which I wanted to match my X-T1 (it’s a minor thing, but if you’re spending that kind of money on a camera, getting the exact one you want seems reasonable to me). So I didn’t get my camera either.

So I came home, did the washing and defrosted the freezer before it developed serious icebergs…

Today’s photo is of part of Portcawl beach which has decided to take up residence on the promenade. It’s been generally mucked about with[2] to give it that tone.

Washed up

Washed up

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/2
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 320
Taken: 24 January, 2015

[1] Note: if you’re using AdBlock or similar, you probably won’t see it.
[2] Technical photography expression

Weight and Stuff Report – 30 January 2015

A negligible move downward today. Probably random wossnames again.

Here’s another view of those sandcastle seat thingies at Whitley Bay:



Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/200s
Focal length: 18.5mm
ISO: 320
Taken: 17 January, 2015

Weight and Stuff Report – 29 January 2015

Hmmmm, I think the scale is playing silly buggers again – that’s an unaccountably large rise today…

Here’s another view of the coast in the vicinity of Whitley Bay



Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/14
Shutter speed: 1/200s
Focal length: 27.9mm
ISO: 640
Taken: 17 January, 2015

Weight and Stuff Report – 28 January 2015

Hmmm, down a bit more today. Good stuff…

Here’s another view of St Mary’s Island:

St Mary's Island

St Mary’s Island

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/300s
Focal length: 46.6mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 17 January, 2015

Weight and Stuff Report – 27 January 2015

Today’s back form Bristol weight is nicely down. Will this last?

Here’s another photo from Whitley Bay:



Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/6.4
Shutter speed: 1/640s
Focal length: 110mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 17 January, 2015

MacID for iOS: Unlock your Mac without a password

Passwords: absolutely dreadful things. You want them to be complex and long enough to make it seriously difficult for anyone who gets hold of your toys from guessing them, but you’d also like to be able to remember them, and type them correctly the first time.

Newer iPhone models get around this with the Touch ID thingy, where using a fingerprint will unlock your phone (I like this, works well for me). But what about actual computers, eh? Well, some Windows PCs come with fingerprint readers – my work Dell has one, but I found the software to be intrusive, awkward and annoying. And I don’t mean Windows in this particular instance. But so far, Apple haven’t incorporated this into Macs. But there’s now a nicely cheap iPhone app that seems to do the job.

MacID for iOS by Kane Cheshire costs £2.99 or $3.99 (prices in other countries no doubt vary). Install it on your iPhone and download the free companion app to your Mac. The two talk to each other over Bluetooth. All you have to do is authorise the phone to unlock the Mac – you have to enter your password into the Mac app, where it’s stored in encrypted form, and not transmitted to the iPhone or anywhere else. The app hooks into the login screen so that when you’d normally enter your password (which you can still do if you’re so inclined), your iPhone will pop up a message stating that the Mac wants to be unlocked. Tap on the alert then press your registered finger on the button and your Mac will unlock.

I’ve got this working on my iMac and MacBook Air, and so far I’ve had no trouble at all. And I just noticed that you can also use the iOS app to lock your Mac.

Nice, and well worth a try – check out the developer’s site for more details:


Weightless Stuff Report – 26 January 2015

Another day of not doing a lot. Well, we[1] did go out earlier and took one of his daughters for lunch, but as this didn’t actually involve me walking very far, I won’t bother with the step count.

Here’s a boat from Porthcawl’s marina. It was a pleasant contrast to the shiny pleasure bots occupying most of it

Billy Joe

Billy Joe

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/800s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 800
Taken: 24 January, 2015

[1] My brother[2] and I
[2] Hi Geoff  :wave:

Ben Aaronovitch – the Peter Grant Series

Now this is a prime example of my tuit shortage issue. I read a few reviews of Rivers of London,[1] when it came out a few years back and mentally filed it as something I’d probably enjoy. Ben’s name was familiar to me – he wrote a couple of Doctor Who stories that I’m rather fond of – Remembrance of the Daleks and Battlefield. Rivers of London had an interesting premise – young police officer falls down a metaphorical rabbit hole and finds that contrary to all reasonable expectations, magic is real, as are ghosts and all manner of odd entities. And he finds himself becoming apprentice to the Metropolitan Police’s sole remaining wizard. And all this done with a fair dollop of humour. Now anyone who pays any attention to the kind of books I mutter about here would think that this is a Les sort of thing, and they’d be quite right.

But somehow, I didn’t quite get around to reading the book. It was followed by a sequel, Moon Over Soho, and still I didn’t find a tuit. And that was followed by Whispers Underground and Broken Homes, when I finally did something. I got the audiobook of Rivers of London from Audible, which was read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith in a delightfully deadpan manner. And I loved it so much, that I followed it by listening to the sequels, which developed the story nicely.

And when the latest book, Foxglove Summer, came out late last year, I got that from Audible too. And then I bought the lot for my Kindle…

Rather than go into detail about plots[2], I’ll just mention some of the background…

We first meet Peter Grant as a just-qualified Constable in London’s Metropolitan Police, about to be assigned to his first posting. Hoping for something at least moderately interesting, he’s initially assigned to the Case Progression Unit – an admin job. This changes quite rapidly after he encounters a ghost, closely followed by an actual wizard, or “Practitioner”, Chief Inspector Nightingale, a man with an interesting past who’s older than he appears to be. How much older remains to be seen. Peter finds himself assigned to Nightingale’s department, which up to that point, under the terms of an old agreement consisted of Nightingale and nobody else. But times are changing, and more magic is manifesting, and the Folly, as Nightingale’s operation has been known for a very long time, has to respond.

And much follows, involving the personifications of London’s rivers[3], malevolent entities and deeply nasty consequences for Peter’s close friend and colleague Lesley May[4], consequences which influence events as the series develops.

Which leads to one of the interesting things about the series – doing magic has consequences. Do too much of it and your brain will degenerate. Do any of it and any nearby computers or smartphones will have their processors turned to sand.

In the most recent book, Peter’s taken outside his comfort zone (London) and into rural Herefordshire, where he encounters some quite different threats.

Good stuff, highly recommended. If you’d like to get a flavour of the books, there’s a short story available on Ben’s blog:  Temporarily Significant: The Home Crowd Advantage.

You might also want to check out the official website for the series: The Folly

For anyone not AdBlocking, Amazon links follow:

[1] For reasons of something or other, this was titled Midnight Riot in the US
[2] Which would rely on my memory more than seems sensible
[3] Including all the covered over and generally lost ones like the Fleet….
[4] For reasons of publishing, her name was given the spelling Leslie in the first book

Weightless Stuff Report – 25 January 2015

Today’s plan is for a quiet day in, so I’ll do the usual daily post a bit early, as there will be even less to report than normal.

This is another photo I took at Porthcawl yesterday. Other than cropping slightly, this is a straight out of the camera JPG from the X100S. I was drawn by the colours and textures in the door:



Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/400s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 24 January, 2015