Roamer Ten

I was 12 years old when I built my first multi-band shortwave radio - a Radio Exchange Roamer Ten kit - as pictured above. After many nights surreptitiously listing to it hidden under the bedclothes so my mum never found out, I soon realised just how insular and generally pisspoor most our media is in here the UK. Back in the day, at least we had a fairly "world class" BBC World Service - which of course has been severely downgraded in recent years since the FO decided not to fund it any more. Meantime, my father read the Daily… Read More ►

Sony ICF2001

The lovely Alexa Allure wearing a cheongsam dress and listening to the world on a 1981 vintage Sony ICF 2001 multiband receiver. Back in the day, Sony used to be one of the market leaders in shortwave radios. Its big selling feature was the continuous AM band that covered all the standard LF, MF and HF frequencies, 150kHz though to 30,000kHz. Thus it received conventional longwave, mediumwave and shortwave bands in a big single band. In addition to standard AM reception it would also handle SSB (single sideband) and CW (continuous wave) transmissions via the switch on the front. It… 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 ►

First day of National Lockdown

So here we are, first day of national lockdown here in the UK. How are things in your part of the world? Round here (Havant, South East Hampshire) things seem eerily quiet this morning. Our street is a sleepy little cul-de-sac and pretty quiet even at busy times. But we are 300 metres from the main Brighton line, 400m from the London Waterloo line and 600m from the main A/M27 Southampton-Brighton trunk road. Standing in the garden during working hours we can normally hear the rumble of trains and the woosh of distant traffic. Seems today there's hardly anything out… Read More ►

Coronavirus misinformation

Evil bastards exploit crisis in order to turn a fast buck Seems Facebook does not have a monopoly on coronavirus misinformation. Just checked a honeypot email account I keep active just to see what spam is currently doing the rounds. In addition to the usual plethora of luscious babes who are dying to have sex with me, and ads flogging pills to ensure it stays up long enough to do the business, it seems there's also plenty of disingenuous shite exploiting the coronavirus crisis too. The spelling mistakes in this particular example rather give the game away - and I… 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 ►

Reliable COVID-19 information

The World Health Organization is arguably one of the planet's foremost sources of accurate medical information. I have admired WHO for many years and its site is always worth a visit, even when there isn't a global public health crisis. But its Daily Situation Reports are superb. Lots of information presented in a clear and easily understood manner... You might also find its main COVID-19 page helpful. I certainly do... WHO Health Emergency Dashboard... Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation... Meantime the following simulation helps one to understand better how a disease such as COVID-19 can spread...… Read More ►

Batch processing in GIMP

In my early days of using GNU/Linux full time, we had an application called Gwenview. It was, and still is an excellent thumbnail viewer. But back then it also used to have an excellent set of plugins called KIPI. Sadly the really useful ones such as resizing and changing format completely disappeared when KDE 5 came along. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="690"] Screengrab showing BIMP plugin for GIMP. System uses KDE Neon Ubuntu-based OS c/w modified "Ghost" theme.[/caption] Alessandro Francesconi's BIMP plugin for GIMP is excellent for doing Gimpy things en-batch. It also allows sequences of multiple transformations which you can… Read More ►

Safer modelling lights for Chinese flash head units

An interesting question came up a little while back on one of the photography fora to which I belong "I'd be interested in knowing how you swapped the halogen bulbs for LEDs  because I have the same problem and as you say those bulbs are hotter than hell, makes using modelling lights with a grid or snoot very fraught?" Well, I had already been down that road in 2015, when I successfully converted all six of my generic Chinese flash heads from halogen to LED modelling bulbs. Firstly, one needs to do a little homework Determine what voltage modelling bulb… Read More ►

BREAKING: Brexit voters to be to pay extra “Brexit Tax” to pay for leaving the EU

It appeared on the AP this morning and hasn't hit the mainstream news yet, but the EU has just announced that ongoing Brexit negotiations have cost in excess of €1,500,000,000. Brussels has decided that the fairest way to recuperate this money is to tax those who actually voted for it. The current proposal is that Brexit voters will have €100 added to their Council Tax bill. Those who don't pay Council Tax will have it deducted from their benefits. Since the €1,740,000,000 is a little more than needed, it is proposed to spend the remaining €240,000,000 to give overworked politicians… Read More ►

What is a WebP image file, and how do I open one?

Seems there is quite a lot of buzz about a "new" image format called "WebP"  that is seeing increasing use on-line recently. Although it is attributed to Google, WebP was not strictly a Google invention. It was originally developed by On2 of New York as part of its VP* series "Truemotion" video codecs. Google acquired these technologies when it took over On2. VP8 went on to be the core of Google's WebM video format. WebP is not particularly new either. It was originally released in back in 2010. Whilst the libwebp code library has been freely available under a BSD… Read More ►
Joomla to Wordpress migration graphic

Joomla closedown

As you may have noticed, quite a lot has changed here on Garfnet over the last few weeks. Biggest change of all is the decision to dump Joomla as our main CMS in favour of Wordpress. I will go into more detail about the decision in another post. Suffice it to say that Wordpress is significantly less hassle to maintain than Joomla. And a migration of this sort, on a site this size, is no mean task. So it was not a decision that was made lightly. Anyway we have moved all the content from the old Joomla site and… Read More ►

Welcome to the New Look GarfNet

Welcome to Garfnet. This site is currently undergoing a fairly major re-design and upgrade and some parts currently don't work as well as they should. Sorry about that. I'm working on it as fast as I can. After many years of struggling with Joomla, I finally threw in the proverbial towel and migrated to Wordpress instead. Joomla is a good product. But the migration from one major version of Joomla to the next has proven an absolute nightmare. So, instead of migrating to a new Joomla, this time I decided to migrate to Wordpress instead. I have been using Wordpress… Read More ►

Temporary Shutdown

Due to a major upgrade to this site, it may be necessary to take GarfNet off line for a while. The business part of Garfnet is already handled by It may take some time to move/update all the legacy material here. Some projects may never reappear. However, we intend to reinstate as much as possible. Read More ►

Cheap but effective continuous studio lighting

For continuous lighting, one needs a light source that has good colour balance, uses power efficiently, is reasonably robust and does not present a health or fire risk. I am also a tightwad - interested primarily in "bangs per buck". Whilst I love new technology, I am not prepared to pay silly money for it. Choices Incandescent bulbs are power hungry and get very hot. Hot enough to set fire to soft-boxes or cause serious burn injury to one's models. CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) is better in terms of power efficiency but the big CFL's are flimsy, cumbersome and very… Read More ►

Setting up a home studio

When we moved home a few years back, one of the most significant parts of our specification was a detached property with enough space for a reasonable sized home studio. We were looking for a place with a rectangular downstairs room, with no internal obstructions, roughly 6.0m x 4.0m, c/w a cloakroom on the same floor with toilet, basin hot+cold water and sufficient room for models to change reasonably comfortably. I based my studio size requirement thus... Absolute minimum 5.0m x 3.0m (Calculation basis: paper rolls are 2.72metres wide; camera needs to be 2-3 metres from model; model needs to… Read More ►