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Posts Tagged ‘UK

The Land Before I Understood Time (Part One).

This coming Sunday I’ll be leaving Swansea, Wales, for Hong Kong, China. For those who listen to the podcast, you know this already, but what I didn’t say, (or don’t remember saying on the podcast!) is that I use to live there when I was a baby. It pains me to say this, it was thirty years ago. I was living there as a baby from 1980-84.

My first memories are from Hong Kong. I wrote those memories down last year before I forgot anything else from that period of my life. I hope to explore those spaces that I do remember with a photography project at some point.

Anyway. This is supposedly life changing or so people keep telling me. Yes I will move to a different part of the world; which should induce a culture shock of sort and pining for friends whose company I will no longer share, but I don’t think it is really.

The internet won’t change; it’s not like TV where the programs will be be dubbed or spoken in another language and you’re stuck watching the one foreign channel because the comedies it airs  has humour you understand and it plays hollywood movies you recognise every night. The more I think about it, the more of an anchor the internet will become; it will fit around my new circumstances. I’m still going to update this blog, visit the same websites for the most part, I’m still going to reblog pretty pictures on tumblr and what I tweet won’t change that much either. That’s one of the beautiful things about the internet, it doesn’t care where you live.

But what about my friends and family, there’s upheaval and drama there, right?

I already live away from my family and while it has been of particular discussion within the family, we all get by. My parents live apart; in two different countries and I mostly see them online, on Skype. My younger sister has her own business and is starting her own family. Her anchor is a different one and this move on my part affects her more in a sense. The woman I’m interested in lives in another country already and look at who I podcast with, Adam lives in England and Alex is in Canada! My other friends live in London or are travelling as well. Everybody is doing what they want to do and importantly they are doing what makes them happy, but the internet ties us together whether they are conscious of it or not and isn’t life easier for it? That’s another beautiful thing about the internet, it makes life easier for us all.

I think back to the 80s and the early 90s and realise how cut off I was from friends even when they were a 20 minute bike ride away. You had to meet them at a set time or call round to their house, check if they were in, if they weren’t you’d cycle to the park to see if they were there or accidentally bump into them on the way home. Who needs to do that anymore?

Hey kids, you’re fucking spoiled with those time saving devices! :)

So basically because of the internet, distance for me, has been taken out of the equation. My dad sort of complained that I’m moving until my sister pointed out it’s only one plane journey compared to a car journey now, the difference is only a matter of a few hours if you break it down. He’s never visited me while I’ve lived in Swansea anyway!

Everything of importance to me is scattered around the world already and in this age of FaceTime and iMessage, I think it’s easier to take these steps and not have it feel that it’s dramatic. That’s basically the point of this blog post, I don’t believe it’s really that life changing anymore because of the internet.

I was at a house party recently (for some friends who are moving to Poland shortly) and I was talking with people who I probably won’t see in the flesh again. It was they, either telling me or asking me about the life changing status of this moving, These questions got me thinking and this blog post is here as a long-form retort.

While this post exists, it’s a reminder of how much the internet has gradually changed lives (which I’ve alluded to personally throughout this post) and that in itself is dramatic as I reflect on its enabling attributes, but ironically in very undramatic ways until there is that realisation. I wanted to share these thoughts with the readers of this site as I think the internet is something that turns a lot of negatives into positives through the accessibility and familiarity it offers.

Written by jonathanjk

July 11, 2012 at 19:42

“Iran: Paranoid or Under Siege?” – Al Jazeera asks

I came across this article (Iran Paranoid or under Siege?) from Al Jazeera. Recently I’ve wanted a less western perspective on issues that are happening around the world.

With tighter sanctions, talk of Iran shutting down the Strait of Hormuz and the assassination of yet another nuclear scientist in Iran, tensions are building on multiple fronts as a coalition of countries tries to stop Iran’s nuclear programme.

Ali Larijani, Iran’s parliamentary speaker, told the IRNA news agency on Thursday that UN nuclear inspectors would be welcome in the country and that issues with the nuclear programme can be resolved via negotiations. The path to diplomacy is, however, obscured by decades of ill will between Iran and the West.

It has been the west that has caused most of the problems in the Middle East, so I’m not surprised that Iran doesn’t trust the US or Europe. Sanctions are just amount to poking Iran in the eye.

So I don’t want to see war (I will protest any action against Iran [I live in the UK]). I would prefer it if Iran proved everybody wrong as towards their intentions and embarrass the US/Europe. They are the greater threat, inflicting greater injustice on the world than many countries combined with rendition, Guantanamo, supporting Israel no matter what and the killing of millions of civilians since the end of the Second War World. It’s sad the argument has shifted towards what Iran is supposedly doing vs what the US has been doing.

Having said that, the US will crush the current regime given a good enough excuse, it’s a no contest. They removed Saddam (yes for the wrong reasons), the Taliban and Gaddaffi (by proxy). All three talked smack before they were removed, I wouldn’t want it to happen a 4th time, don’t be so predictable.Just swallow some pride (Iran), stop acting paranoid; think rationally, don’t arrest and talk about killing western tourists; fuelling the fire and in turn gain outside support from other countries/interests.
It’s a more constructive way of getting the US off its back at least.
Also see this article ‘Washington’s crimes against Iran’.

Written by jonathanjk

January 14, 2012 at 14:17

On September the 1st and beyond

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This is the day of my MA exhibition in London. I am pretty busy at the moment finishing it off so this is the reason why this blog hasn’t been as busy in the last two months. I don’t see myself updating this blog till after the exhibition either. So for the time being this blog is in maintenance mode only.

In addition to that, I’m making plans to emigrate to Hong Kong in September. This of course leave little room for time in the way of updates. These updates that are overdue as well, but just so you know. By October though I hope to add to this blog:

  • A Zaggmate review
  • Updates for Viewbook, Xtrafolio & Foliobook portfolio presentation software for the iPad.
  • Any other software that gets updated between now and then.

My portfolio website is also due for an update. I will have completed three projects before starting anew in my new country. So interesting times ahead.

But wait! My exhibition, it’s barely 4 weeks away!

If you’re in London on September 1st please come and say hello. The full details can be found at the exhibition website here. Don’t just come for the free alcohol either! There is a ton of good work that is being exhibited from my classmates who have travelled the world to document their stories.

UPDATE: I was lucky enough to bag myself a discounted HP Touchpad 16GB from Carphone Warehouse today. This means for my exhibit, I can now show my work not only on a projection, with a book (printed via Blurb which looks real nice) and a wall mounted (but framed) iPad, but I will be able to discuss specific images with a second tablet hand held.

Everything you wanted to know about the NP-95 but were afraid to ask.

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This is actually Fuji X100 related. ‘Np-95′ refers to the model type of the battery being used in that camera. I was looking for some information about these batteries because the Fuji Lithium-ion ones are expensive for being ‘official’ batteries. As luck would have it, I found this discussion over at x100forum about 3rd party batteries.

A forum member wanted some feedback on 3rd party batteries and an interesting discussion evolved, debating the pro’s and con’s between buying the original and 3rd party variants.

At the moment, Amazon UK (other stores will slightly differ but this comparison still applies) sell four different variants of the NP-95 battery:

As far as I am concerned, these are all reasonably well know brand names, with Hähnel I guess being the least well known.(1)

This Flickr group discussion is about a variant made by Ricoh: Discussing the Ricoh DB-90. Ricoh, actually make the batteries for Fuji!

  • Ricoh – £6.79 (1800mah)

But on eBay they are even cheaper right? Before you tap in the URL I’ve included some light reading regarding battery technology below. This is to highlight potential problems with buying exceptionally cheap third party designs.

User ‘SLRist’ from the x100forum discussion, posted these great links to help others who were vague on the subject of battery technology.

I also want to share this quote from the same forum member, if you don’t click the links, this is probably the most important element of the forum discussion:

Those really cheapo batteries very likely don’t have any built in failsafe circuitry to stop them being completely drained to the point of not working or being charged beyond their design 4.2v maximum and potentially exploding or putting a voltage spike through your X100 electronics. Contamination inside the battery from tiny fragments of metal during manufacture can also cause them to leak, melt or explode during normal use. Use them at your peril. If you do use them, use them with a good quality charger and measure the voltage isn’t above 4.2v before you put them in your X100. Lithium Ion batteries are extremely combustable and should be treated with a great deal of respect and caution.

Personally I never use ‘unbranded’ generic Lithium Ion batteries. I’ve always used Hahnel Li-Ions, as they actually do have the capacity they’re rated for (1,500mAh in the case of their NP-95 equivalent), and they have protection circuitry built in. They’re £10 a pop, but at 1/3 the price of the Fuji items, they’re still a bargain.

Just like with restaurant wine, it’s generally not a good policy to go with the cheapest option on the menu. 

This is something else I want to share:

Amazon is the safer bet, that’s why I’ve listed them, forget eBay. Surprisingly a lot people consider them as being good enough. Those from eBay are to be avoided. Crazy prices for slightly higher capacities that they most likely can’t hold a charge to. In addition to that, if the battery malfunctions while inside your camera, well you’ve watched the above video by now right? Warranty voided indeed.

It’s obviously a toss up between the other three manufacturers I’ve listed. I’ll update this blog post when they are back in stock and I buy my new memory card.

(1) I owned two Hähnel batteries for my old 1Ds mk2 and they worked brilliantly, never had a problem.

UPDATE: It wasn’t that much of a toss up between the three, I actually found this battery. I did some research on it and while plenty of camera stores are selling it; I’ve done some research to see whether it has protection against short circuits and overcharging. It does and one is on its way right now to me. They are made by a UK company with a two year warranty. The amazon seller in the link provided, is selling them for £7.50 a pop but in my research I’ve seen them sold at prices that make them look like a legitimate alternative, in many cases being more expensive than the other options I’ve listed. Bristol cameras sell them for £22.

By the way if you’re looking for alternatives to the stock NP-95 charger then have a look at this previous blog post I wrote here.

Written by jonathanjk

May 7, 2011 at 10:23

Fuji X100 ~ Weekly Round Up 2

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Yesterday I placed my order for the Fuji X100. I’ve also ordered what some reckon should be included with the camera; the lens hood. Yes, if you didn’t already know, the lens hood or ring adapter isn’t included. Anyway, I have a 2-3 week wait on my hands. I ordered through Calumetphoto. Delivery is only £7 and Calumet are an official Fuji dealer but sell it for £899 like Amazon UK.

Anyway, with the amount of photography I’m waiting to do with this thing, I can’t wait. :-)

Until then, I’ve been doing some light reading and research with a collection of reviews, discussions and equipment alternatives to share with you all.

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Mifi (Wireless part 2)

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This is the second of two reviews.  Both reviews are being written because I recently purchased some cool pieces of electronics.  I’ve realised both products will enable me to live a more mobile life style.  Part One described the JayBird SB2 Bluetooth headphones.

3 Mifi – Introduction

Who remembers how cool it was to walk around the house for the first time using WiFi with their laptop?  It felt so liberating not being anchored to the desk anymore. Remember taking your laptop from one room to another; it became useful to show people something on your laptop rather than escort them to it. I recall having to buy an Airport wireless card to fit my iBook G3 in 2003 in order to upgrade it for wireless use. Now a wireless chip is standard.

Since 2003, the Internet has evolved considerably. It’s matured to a level in our computing experience where the Internet runs in the background, allowing us to work off and online without much fuss. Much more dynamic compared to dialling up with our 56k modems all those years ago. To me, computing offline seems like owning a house with no windows because of that feeling of being closed off from the world when you’re not connected.

I get frustrated if I’m out of the house and there are no WiFi networks available for my MacBook or iPad. Owning an iPhone has helped but owning an iPad has made things worse. The iPad is crying out for a constant Internet connection, unless you’re content with reading iBooks. I was a cheapskate and bought one without 3G.

Mifi with iPhone size comparison

The solution for me was a Mifi (mobile wifi). They started showing up on tech blogs after the MacBook Air originally debuted. It seems like coincidence (mobile Internet rates were becoming reasonable) but many people lamented the lack of a ‘True MacBook Air’ when it was first announced in 2008. Apple hadn’t taken their design philosophy far enough, they should have allowed for a 3G sim inside the ‘the thinnest notebook in the world’.*

We didn’t lament for long because of these new pocketable Internet hotspots. Once activated they can simply sit on your person or in your bag giving 4-5 hours of Internet use. Importantly, they allow for multiple devices to connect to them. On the road, my iPhone and iPad connect to it (as a bonus, the iPhone’s battery lasts longer if using the Mifi) at the same time.

The device 3 offers, is very easy to set up. 3 include a bunch of small instruction cards offering a step by step process for those intimidated. All you end up having to do after the initial setup is turn it on. I think it’s already a geek’s toy that has gone straight into the mainstream.**

I’m amazed now, as I was when I walked around my house with my laptop years ago. But this time I’m anywhere in the UK. Owning a Mifi has helped me live a more mobile lifestyle.

Speed Tests – from my iPhone.

I ran a number of speed tests using the O2 network. None of them could beat the speed test result I got using the Mifi.

3G on O2 with iPhone

Latency is lower with the 3G in the iPhone on O2. The fastest download speed I could gather on O2 was 1.03Mbps.  The fastest upload speed can be found in the image above.

3G score using Three's Mifi on iPhone

I ran this test once on the Mifi. I thought the time of day would be a factor but I re-ran the tests on O2’s 3G, after the Mifi test again but it made no difference. For me, Three’s network is faster by far.

Mifi – Advantages

  • iPhone 3GS battery lasts longer using Mifi Wifi instead of 3G.
  • Since the iPhone sees the device as a Wifi router, downloads ignore the 20 Megabyte rule imposed by Apple.
  • 3 has better coverage and faster 3G speeds than O2. (Importantly, full signal inside my house with Three unlike with O2).
  • All my devices can connect to the Mifi network at the same time.
  • When I move house, I don’t need to wait for a wireline provider. In time I’d like to exclusively use mobile Internet.
  • The Internet is a convenience again. I have it all the time with me now.
  • Did I mention faster?
  • I can use DisplayPad over the MiFi network.

Mifi – Disadvantages

  • I have another thing to charge, charging luckily only takes 2 hours.
  • An addition device to carry around
  • 30-40 delay with turning it on and making a connection.

*Another thing which puzzled me with Apple’s design philosophy is their lack of tethering; allowing the iPhone to serve as a mobile hotspot. I know there are many people who would want this capability.

**3 offer their Mifi for £70 with 3GB included in what they call a starter pack. This 3GB lasts up to 3 months. You can use it in a single day or in small chunks until the 90 day limit. After that you purchase another sim, on a contract or pay as you go.  The pay as you go is far more useful because you can cancel at any time. What’s better is 3 will allow you to purchase an iPad sim card. The iPad sim for some reason is cheaper than a normal sim, with more Gigabytes. Why I don’t know, but it’s good to take advantage of it.

Written by jonathanjk

December 21, 2010 at 14:21

Free Running: 25th September

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Tammi, the only female Free Runner I know was in town yesterday.  In fact individuals from three Free Running groups were practising yesterday.  While Tammi was taking a break eating, she mentioned something called the ‘Fuck it button’.  Interested by this I asked what she meant.

“It’s the button you press where you say fuck it and just go do it”.  It, being the trick she wanted to perform, but hadn’t developed the confidence for outside the gym even though she would be landing on the grass which is relatively soft.

Practising at the letters

Tammi, having pushed her 'Fuck It' button.

Ceiran in mid flip, with brothers Rhys and Elgan watching.

Images from the day are here.

Written by jonathanjk

September 26, 2010 at 13:04


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