Monthly Archives: November 2015

November 2015 Round-up

Wait, what? Has November had enough already? Can it really be the end of another month? If that’s the case, that means it’s time for this old thing: the essential monthly summary that saves you from reading the rest of the nonsense posted here. Though if you’re really into post avoidance, I’d wait a month and get the annual summary…


More ups and downs, with a bias towards the former:

November 1: 213.8 pounds (15 stone 3.8 pounds, 97 kg)
November 30: 215 pounds (15 stone 5 pounds, 97.5 kg)

That’s a moderate rise of 1.2 pounds (0.5kg). But as I’ve had daily variations bigger than that, I’m not reading anything into it.


I have done a bit of eating, yes. I may even have had a bacon sarnie last weekend.


Well, there was some Epic Walkage in London, but I’ve been remarkably inactive most days – I seem to lack the motivation to go far at lunchtimes most days.


A lowly 41 posts this month, but as the month is a whole day shorter than some, that probably accounts for it.


More toy reports need to be posted.


Fujifilm XF1.4X Teleconverter

You might recall me mentioning that the only thing that wasn’t quite perfect about the Fujifilm 50-140mm lens I bought earlier this year was that it could have done with being a wee bit longer.

Now there is a seriously long telephoto zoom on Fujifilm’s roadmap (100-400mm), but that’s got two problems. The first is that to keep the price in the area that might just be affordable and the weight below the level where you don’t so much need a tripod as a truck, it won’t share the 50-140mm lens’s lovely f/2.8 maximum aperture. Not a huge issue, just a point of information. The real problem is that its anticipated release date is now March next year, but as that date has shifted a few times already, I’m not holding my breath. Not that I could hold my breath until March, anyway.

But there was another possibility. Fujifilm announced this little beast a while ago – it’s a device that fits between the lens and the camera which increases the focal length by a factor of 1.4. So far, it’s only supported on the 50-140mm lens, but future lenses will also be able to use it. You’ll also need to update the camera and lens firmware before you can take advantage of the device.

Being a proper Fujifilm device, it’s been designed to do this without affecting image quality. The only downside is that it reduces the maximum aperture from f/2.8 to a still useful f/4. Ever since it was announced, I’ve been keeping an eye open for it actually being available. And yesterday, it appeared in stock at Wex Photographic, who I’m always happy to deal with. So, after hesitating for about a microsecond, I placed an order. (The image links to Amazon who currently have it listed as not being available until January).

And it arrived today (yes, they send stuff out on Sundays now…). It arrived too late for me to not take it out in the rain at lunchtime, but I took a few test shots after leaving work – the rain had actually paused by then.

Here’s one at the wide end:

Grey Street

Grey Street

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 78.8mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 30 November, 2015

And here’s my usual test of a long lens, which I’ll have to repeat in daylight:

Obligatory Earl Grey shot

Obligatory Earl Grey shot

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/7s
Focal length: 161mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 30 November, 2015

First impressions are that this will make my big zoom zoomier enough to be more useful.

Weight and Stuff Report – 30 November 2015

Dearie me, up again today. Must be all that inactivity yesterday.

Today wasn’t much more active, as the weather was nasty enough at lunchtime to put me off going further than the sarnie shop over the road.

Here’s another one from London, showing the ever popular advert display at Piccadilly Circus. Quite why adverts are so popular, I don’t know…

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus

Camera: XF1
Aperture: ƒ/6.4
Shutter speed: 1/40s
Focal length: 6.4mm
ISO: 800
Taken: 22 November, 2015

Weight and Stuff Report – 29 November 2015

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: 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

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: 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

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: 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

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: 22 November, 2015


Weight and Stuff Report – 25 November 2015

Down a bit more today, how exciting! Or not.

Here’s a detail from York Minster:

York Minster

York Minster

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/6.4
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 122.6mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 8 August, 2015
Location: 53° 57.7306′ 0″ N 1° 5.0251′ 0″ W