Archive for August 2007

Down the pan?

Posted by on August 31st 2007 in Name and Shame, Rambling on...

Here's another thread about Gear Zone.


It’s the migration season

Posted by on August 29th 2007 in Blog on Blog, Just for fun

Just like in those epic documentaries by Sir David, we can see a mass migration taking place. Vast herds of bloggers are moving across the landscape, leaving behind the featureless wastes of WLS and Blogger, heading for the fertile land of WordPress. Only one pair of migrants hasn't made it so far, it's possible that the crocs got them at the river-crossing.

Here's to Darren and Ali & Lay (if they get a move on)!

All my own work

Posted by on August 27th 2007 in Blog on Blog

This link says it all.


A different sort of map

Posted by on August 27th 2007 in Maps

I found this interesting map while surfing:

Cooh, eh?

The source site is


Posted by on August 26th 2007 in Just for fun

According to, this blog is rated "G" - acceptable for general consumption.

That just goes to prove that this blog really isn't a proper hard-core outdoors blog at all, thus confirming the previously-stated opinions of various self-appointed online experts... but it is cleaner than OM's Bennachie thread! 🙂

Maps on pages

Posted by on August 23rd 2007 in Maps, Projects, Site update

I've been playing in my sandbox, mucking around with Google Maps and My Maps + so that I can ditch the boring lists in the "been there, done that" pages, and replace them with maps with markers and information.

Have a look and tell me what you think - I'm using FF on W2000, I've no idea what it looks like with other browsers/operating systems. I'm open to suggestions as to how I could improve things, but I'm not very techie, so don't expect miracles!

Anthony Dyer’s new site

Posted by on August 19th 2007 in Blog on Site

At long last, Anthony has finished his new site, it's so much better than his old one. Click your way there and have a look around, you won't regret it. Here's a screengrab:


At last – the refund arrives

Posted by on August 16th 2007 in A bit of a rant

Just checked the bank balance - the refund from Gear Zone is there, so my bank can now claim it back to cover the credit that they gave to me last week.

I'll wait for things to settle down a bit before I start taking any further action.

Communication from Gear Zone

Posted by on August 15th 2007 in A bit of a rant, Thanks

Last week my bank's Debit Card Services decided to credit my account with the money that GZ owe me, while they sort the matter with GZ's bank. My thanks go out to Lloyds TSB Bank plc. and their good customer service, nice one!

There was no word from GZ until yesterday, when they sent me an email, details as follows:


Dear Gear-Zone Customer

We have processed your refund as requested. We apologise for any delay and any inconvenience that you may have experienced with your order. We have had some severe technological issues which we have now resolved. We are also recruiting a new customer services team to ensure that your future transactions with Gear-Zone will be to the highest standard.

Again, please accept our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience caused.


Gear-Zone Ltd

I wonder how many other disgruntled folk have been given the same lame excuses... just what are these "severe technological issues"? FFS, their computers must be up and running, or they wouldn't be able to take orders. And what's with "recruiting a new customer services team"? You mean they had a whole team that was trained to ignore the phone? Sorry, but it just won't wash. I've been bullshitted by experts, these paltry excuses are so lightweight that I could stitch them together to make a tarp. As for "... to ensure that your future transactions with Gear-Zone will be to the highest standard" - ROFLMFAO... it doesn't take a genius to work out that there will be no future transactions originating from me. Those "sincerest apologies" are not accepted.

A quick check of my account reveals that no such refund has been received yet.

Ho hum.

Watching the Perseid Meteors

Posted by on August 14th 2007 in Astrostuff

I spent Sunday night and Monday morning outside watching the skies. The weather conditions were good (plenty of cloud-free sky until 03:00) but there was a fair amount of light-pollution to contend with, and the local bat population was out in force too.

Visually, my count (of meteors, not bats) was 124 in about 5 hours, but I could only see about a quarter of the sky from my place. This works out to approx 100/hour, in line with the IMO predictions. They were mostly standard trails that just fade out, but there were some fireballs that were bright enough to cast shadows and which ended their existences with audible bangs. Cool stuff.

I ran off about 200 shots with the Nikon D50, trying various settings, managed to catch a few but the photo quality isn’t too hot, and I didn't catch any of the fireballs. I shot most of the pics in RAW mode, so I was able to enhance/butcher them. Samples are below.

I reckon I'll have to play about with the camera settings a bit more before the next meteor shower. I got my best pics with a manual 30s exposure at max aperture whatever focal length I used (18-55mm zoom, the standard kit lens), ISO 200, all other settings were as per the camera defaults. The main pitfall, I found, is that the camera takes about 25s to save the RAW image after the shutter closes, this takes up nearly half of the available viewing time, and typically the best meteors fizz past while the camera is in save-mode... it's as if the damned things know what's going on, and are determined to be unrecorded. Next time, I'll try using shorter exposures and rely on post-processing to get the image right.

On the bright side (pardon the pun), the ultra-cheapo tripod (given to me by a workmate a few years ago) worked a treat, no shake at all, it's just a tad fiddly to set up with the camera pointing straight up, but that's nothing that I can't fix by knocking up an extension/spacer. The only other thing that would make life easier is a 90-degree viewfinder adapter... I'll try eBay for that, I reckon.




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