Merry Christmas 2020

Seems we had to put up with Donald Trump, Brexit and Coronavirus all in one year! Here in Havant on the south coast of England, we are now in what our Government describes as a coronavirus Tier 4 area. Personally I don't mind staying at home. I have enough food, half a bottle of decent-is scotch and plenty of toys to play with, But for more gregarious folks, being stuck at home is not pleasant. Hence this year's card reflects the world in which we find ourselves. Hopefully things will improve in 2021 as coronavirus vaccines become more widely available.… Read More ►

Good riddance to Orange Blotus

At approximately 16:25 UTC today, 2020-11-07, the result of the 2020 US presidential election was finally called. Joe Biden is the 46th President elect of the United States. Apparently Orange Blotus is somewhat displeased and is threatening all sorts of court action and other nonsense. Seems Trump thinks he can bully the United States government with threats of court action, the same way he bullies his tenants and former minions. I rather doubt the US Supreme Court will be involved this time around. Biden actually has quite a substantial majority now. Furthermore, Trump announcing he would take it to court… Read More ►

Sliderule – the eco-friendly computer from days of old

Some of my favourite computers require no PSU, no batteries, no RAM, no disks, no upgrades and they are 100% resistant to all known malware. No, I'm not talking about some newfangled Linux. I'm talking about good old fashioned sliderules. :-) Sliderules top to bottom... Top: Darmstadt 304. Despite its German-sounding name, this sliderule was in fact British. 1970's. Middle: Beautifully engineered but rather faded, all-metal (except the cursor) Picket and Eckel N-500-T, from the United states, c/w original real-leather case. Early 1960's. Bottom: The schoolboy's favourite - a British Thornton AD150 log-log slide rule. This example is a bit… Read More ►

Working from home during the current crisis

Seems a lot of people are struggling working from home rather than going into the office. Some are suggesting that a daily routine helps them. Personally, I don't really have a daily routine - providing I can start the day with a strong black coffee and have my daily "number two's", then I'm sorted. :-) I'm lucky because I love my work, and I have worked mostly from home for almost three decades. I tend to work well into the night, and get my most creative ideas between about 23:00 and 02:00. I don't need any special motivation to do… Read More ►

Shattaf – a healthy solution to the toilet roll shortage

As the coronavirus crisis deepens, seems we also have the deeply undignified spectacle of fully grown adults publicly fighting each other as they snatch and hoard toilet rolls. At the risk of seeming crude, I'd rather wipe my bottom on a stinging nettle than squabble with strangers in a supermarket over who takes home the last packet of bog roll. However, I'm pleased to report that my dignity and my rear-end are both safe, since I dragged-out my "Happy Plumbers Tool Kit" and retrofitted a shattaf  to each of our toilets instead... Left: complete installation including toilet, cistern, isolating valve… Read More ►

Covid 19 “Honest Government Ad”

They say "many a true word spoken in jest". This seems particularly applicable to this short video produced by Australia's JuiceMedia... Background to the video JuiceMedia's "Honest Government Ad" started life as satire.  But its probably the most truthful representation where we are right now with COVID-19. This associated video podcast explains its background... Read More ►

Having a Gander

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="900"] Having a Gander 2013-09-08[/caption] I always enjoy photographing geese. They are curious creatures and they always seem so keen to pose for me. These particular geese live at the Weald and Downland Living Museum, a fascinating 16 hectare open air site, about 30 km east of my studio. The chap in the foreground seemed particularly keen - right up to the point where he tried to eat my camera. Fortunately it was only my old Fuji HS20 bridge and geese have no teeth! Read More ►

Cleaning a camera CCD with a vacuum cleaner and a Lens Pen

I had Fuji S1, S2 & S3, all of which had dust magnets for sensors! They would get dirty even if I did not remove the lenses, simply from the air that got sucked in by varying the focal length of the lens. However, I cleaned them quite successfully with a vacuum cleaner. However there are some important caveats. Most importantly,  do NOT use the cleaner to dislodge the dust. You are more likely to suck out the shutter mechanism. I never did this but a colleague did. Instead, use a fine carbon fibre brush such as a "Lens Pen"… Read More ►

Britain’s metrication fiasco

Britain has made a complete hash of metrication whilst failing to teach its young the basic numeracy skills to deal with the ridiculous anomalies that have arisen as a result. E.g... People who think 7.5 lbs is the same as 7 lb 5 oz. People who think of 0 as freezing 0 as boiling and yet think room temperature as 70. Local authorities such as Southampton City Council that insists building plans be submitted in metres but continue to rent allotments in rods! People who weigh themselves in stone or weigh cement etc. in hundredweight but have no idea of… Read More ►

Go Trabi Go!

Trabifest, Zwickau 2007-06-16 and 2007-06-17 [caption id="attachment_202" align="aligncenter" width="400"] DVD's of German-made "Go Trabi Go" moviesc/w Chinese-made model Tabant 601'sand a litre bottle of Jagermeister, mmm...[/caption] I found myself at the 50th Anniversary Trabifest in Zwickau in the former East Germany back in June 2007. Not sure I fully understand the enthusiasm for these funny little cars - though I did find myself becoming bitten by the bug.  I guess there is a large cultural element to this phenomenon. It seems the humble Trabi has become another cultural icon. One enthusiast I met described the Trabi as, "A smile rising… Read More ►

What is a “Lifestyle Business”?

Garf Technology is something of a 'lifestyle business'. This is where one is more concerned with doing things 'well' & enjoying it, rather than trying to make a 'fast buck'. Or as a more sceptical observer might put it: somehow I manage to get paid to do my various hobbies! I love it! Sometimes I feel as if I'm a kid who's been handed the keys to his favourite toy shop. More importantly, I get to work with some wonderful and very talented people too. The concept behind a lifestyle business is detailed in the English language edition of the… Read More ►