Sunday, 31 March 2019

who listens to music anymore

I mean really, HiFi is dead.

Most people have $1500 phones, but nothing more than a cheap set of headphones. Nobody sits down and listens to good speakers, quiet rooms and good (genuine) bass development ...

Even decent Book Shelf speakers seems rare

even these small ones in a mid sized room give a musical quality that headphones done (especially cheap ear style buds I see everyone using via their smartphones).

Its all too often just in the car.


Monday, 18 March 2019

normal options on full frame

Well the addition of the Canon RP to the full frame mix in digial has (in my view) thrown the cat among the pidgeons, for while (without doubt) the A7Riii is a shit hot camera I think we've passed "enough" back with the A7 (ask any A7s user who isn't suffering from megapixel madness). So while the Sony simply represents the pinnacle (if you don't mind crunching 42MPix images on your PC) as a happy 12MPix user in m43 I'm more than satisfied with the A7 (mark 1) for image quality.

But cases must be made for lenses (you know, you don't just Wang on about cameras without lenses right?) So unless you're the Sultan of Brunei or Bill Gates you may need to think about the prices of lenses. With the A7 series there are precious few native lenses, few of which are small fewer that are well priced. If one values Mirrorless because of its valued improvements in size and weight then (I can assure you) having to carry brick sized lenses hurts that.

So lets look at something, the "newly discovered normal" of 40mm. On Sony A7 series that will be the Zeiss Batis f2, and as a Panasonic 20f1.7 lens owner I can say its a lovely focal length. So what will that set you back on A7

well ... cover my arse butt fuck that's expensive.

Cos for about the same money you can get the Canon RP and a free adapter for EOS lenses

opening up access to the huge EF range of lenses.

If you already had a Nifty Fifty then sweet, but if you don't then you could look at a more modern (and compact) version of that lens in the 40f2.8 STM

and well bugger me but that's only 1 stop darker.

Now while owners of Sony A7 cameras can use EF lenses if they want to (as long as they have a Metabones adapter (adding $400) and are willing to deal with less than sharp AF as is widely discussed), the above Canon RP mirrorless option will give you a brand new body and the adapter and a 40f2.8STM for nearly that same amount as the Batis (oh, and new price at BHPhoto is also pretty darn good too)

tempting isn't it ....

Now sure ... this is the Batis 25mm on the A7 (because Camera Size doesn't yet have the 40f2) but you know that the 40 is simply bigger (go read the specs)

I gotta tell ya, when it comes time to move up from my A7 I'm going to be looking very closely at what the EOS range is ... because even though my Samyang 35f2.8 is sweet and light ...

... and makes nice images

The Canon is starting to really make some sense in every other area except that Samyang lens on the A7 ... With the entire EF range behind it (and what ever native mirrorless lenses come from now forward).

Oh, and for all you guys out there dreaming of buying the Batis 40 for taking a picture of your Super Mario Brothers toy on your keyboard (because you never seem to take actual photographs right) you may want to read this: problem. I understand that its been largely rectumfied to bring you to f2.8 when close focusing ..

Starting to feel like its time ...

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

camera metering mode confusions (tips to avoid them)

Someone asked the question:

Just say someone (obviously not me!!) went out to take pictures in London for a weekend and took every single photo in center spot metering mode...
What would the effect be on the images taken ?

Answering this requires you to think about the cameras light meter and what it does. The meter just doesn't know what its looking at, you know what you're looking at but the meter just sees intensity. You know that its white, black or grey, the meter doesn't.

So where to meter? The whole scene? Just a bit? Some balance? Well it all depends...

If you put a white piece of paper on a black wall and meter off the white paper, will it be white? Nope, the camera will turn it grey (try it with your cameras spotmeter mode). This is the reason so many snowy scenes are turned grey by the camera (and why we have scene modes like snow or beach so that people don't have to think ... well except think to engage a mode ... so like that's not going to happen).

This is why in some ways we tend towards giving students grey cards.

Now, if you want the wall black or the paper white you can do one of two things: meter off the wall and adjust exposure (compensation) down to make it blacker meter off the paper and adjust exposure up to make it whiter (without blowing the sheet, put some light HB pencil marks on the paper and look for them) So if you were taking a stage shot with the stage in darkness (mostly) and an actor in the spotlight, then "spot metering" would make sense, mostly because the actor and costume will not be "white black or grey" but a balance.

So thinking about this walking around London with yoru meter set on spot will achieve what? On an overcast day the spot you select will be no different to the rest of the scene, or if it is (say a black london cab) then it will result in making that black thing grey over exposing the rest of the scene.

So in my view, when you don't have anything specific to meter off and any specific reasons. In the image below would I have got this result with spot metering where the red square is?

Probably not

I tend to work in this sort of situation in Manual and put metering on average (just for some sort of base line) and then once I've evaluated a few test shots tend to leave it just like that (unless what I see in the EVF in the post capture makes me change my mind. For instance the stage lights below would send a meter into confusion (although here spot on that 1 guy would probably work better).

Its hard to be certain because it could make some mistakes too (reflections of the instruments, the blackness behind), but stage work like this is where spot metering works better. Of course your exposures will all be rather different from each other compared to manual setting, and really the light of the stage didn't change that much (but when it does, keep looking at your EVF (or chimping if you're still using an optical DSLR finder).

Its likely that any automated metering would have just made my shots too dark or too bright, losing subtle textures and lighting which the artist desired.

So next time you go to a gig with your camera, think about this and consider having a go at manual.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • modern stage lights are often LED and pulse very fast (so that your eye can't see it), but your shutter if too fast will occasionally capture frames which are inexplicably black ... this is why you see some movement of the artist in my shots because my shutter was set to 30th to always capture some of the "lights on" time.
  • take manual shots and evaluate. Check for "blinking highlights"
  • use manual light balance (not AWB) and check the screen till you get a result you like

I haven't seen "That 1 Guy" for a while now...

I like his earlier stuff better ...

Monday, 11 March 2019

burnt out wire

I went to start the bike the other day and it barely turned and then made that "I give up" metallic grinding whir of the starter motor not having enough power.

Oh bugger I thought

So off to get the multi-meter I measured the battery was down significantly and so as I ride it regularly about 60km of highway riding every few days I immediately thought "oh no, the charging system"

This wouldn't be the first time I've had problems with a charging system on a T-Max (see the thread that starts here).

I put the battery on charge and waited about half an hour, I made use of the time and (naturally assuming the worst (its got 120,000km on the odo right)) and started pulling all the tupperware off the bike to expose everything I needed to test, which is:

  • charging voltage with engine running (fail, so continue)
  • resistance of all the coils in the white wires (I measure over on the left hand side where they emerge directly from the stator) passed
  • the possibility of short to ground (alternater death which occured last time)  passed
  • test diodes in rectifier - regulator
it was at this point I saw the culprit: one of the wires from the stator (the AC lines) was charred at the connection to the plug and pulling the plug I could see it had tried to melt its way to "freedom"

but looking from the front there was no obvious corrosion on the spade connector...

nor on any of the spade terminals in the regulator connection.  

Happily I found this sooner than later or it would have been worse. Already it had started to melt the plastic of the regulator where it connects to the spade terminal.

So the cause remains a little bit of a mystery and its either a coincidence or was related to a test I did some weeks back in assisting another fellow to diagnose a problem with his charging.

(for those on mobile click this url:

Now as I said, this could be a coincidence because I'm a bit at a loss as to why doing this would cause a problem with the alternator inlet wires to the regulator. Because after the engine is running the alternator (via the regulator) has to power all the accessories of the engine anyway (or the battery will go flat right?), so there would be no more or less demand on those wires carrying power from the alternator to the regulator.

If there was any power spike it would be very short and I'd have thought that the ECU or other electronic parts of the dash (fuck, the whole dash is electronic) would have been screwed before a copper wired designed to take high loads would fry ...

Anyway its weird that it happened and I conclude that I must insert this bit.

Back to the repair

In the above shot of the plug you can see there is a small locking plastic tab (in the unoccupied hole) that is designed to allow you to insert and remove a spade connector ... sadly that was melted (think hot melt glue) to my connector and I had to get "violent" on it to get it out.

you can see there is a little raised bit at the back which would also act to prevent it falling back out ...

you can see that the wire shows discoloration on the copper (and a dent in the plastic where heat has assisted the insulation into melting close to the other conductors) and so I suspect this is all a coincidence and what has happened is the result of

  1. age working against the connection between the crimped spade connector and the copper, resulting in resistance buildup
  2. resistance build up generates heat
  3. heat changes the wire to a greater resistance
  4. repeat as a cycle from #2 until thermal runaway causes connector death
So when I re-crimped a new spade connector on I also soldered it (and to my American readers that's got an L in it ... so its not soddered its sold-er-d like when you sell something its sold not sod)

Also worth noting is that despite inspecting a number of spade connectors, while they were all a perfect fit for the spade terminal, they were all a fraction of a mm too wide to fit into that (probably only Yamaha) connector ... so further destruction was warranted to get the bloody thing in...

which is it as shown above. I simply trimmed that one wire, but if future surgery is warranted then I'll have to revise how that plug is going to look. For a start its (to me) important that the wires don't just fall out from vibration, and so the multiple levels of locking plastic connections are important. Now I have one wire which doesn't have that.

so here it is all trimmed an dput back (not shown is that I've added a cable tie just to the left to hold that cable run against the other, hopefully that will prevent any pull on the spade connector (as well as its internal friction ...).

All going well now and behaving as expected ... I'll have another look at it when I do my next belt service whereupon that side cover needs to come off and I'll have ready access to have a peek.

So, all in all about 5 hours work (including a break for a coffee and custard tart (which I'd picked up cheap the day before when I'd made my last 60km run into town before this debarcle)

So there you go ... like the old saying says and engineer can fix for a dollar what can be replaced for hundreds.

This is also why I don't mind owning an older bike, which is simple enough that I can fix because if I'd taken it to a dealer it'd be hundreds (and man, if you see what Yamaha did to the model after this its a technicians nightmare ... almost making certain that they are scrapped when a tiny thing like this halts them).

Thursday, 7 March 2019


seems unusual to find it here ... but in the spirit of Daily Life


Monday, 4 March 2019

Another Blade Runner blooper?

I was watching Blade Runner last night and observed a weird thing on the side of Roy Batty while he was in the phone booth having a little "turn" at the beginning of the movie.

Who's thumb is this?

I've literally never seen it before, despite the number of times I've seen the movie.

I can only think it was edited in (this is the theatrical release) because they didn't have an appropriate "Joiner" between him being in there and the rap at the glass from Leon outside...

I can't find any other reference to it on the net

Friday, 1 March 2019

A Post Anniversary Post

Ten years ago yesterday Anita and I made public before friends and relatives the commitment to our love and our relationship. A relationship which began in Korea in 2005 and crossed a few continents.

Its been over 6 years since I've held her hand (or hers mine), enjoyed her baking or had her direct influence in my life. So many holes created by her departure will never be filled, to remain permanent infarctions in my life (see here).

It has been a hard time reconciling everything these last years, and while in our time together before and after marriage there were surely conflicts and disagreements I enjoyed learning how to come together with Anita to live in harmony. I know we were evolving together and becoming a great team with a common sense of humor.

I can't say I've enjoyed the (soon to be more) years of learning how to be apart.

In those years I have come to see at least one thing clearly: there is no God who is like the Churches teach (although there may be a creator), its just lies and deceit to keep people turning up, preying upon something deep inside our makeup. A need, a want.

I hope that there is more to Life than just Death, but in this life I will never know. Perhaps I will never see Anita again, perhaps I may. However I must live my life as if I will not and can only in good faith keep the love for her in my heart and respect all I learned while we were together.

So if you have the good fortune to be in love ... cherish it for its value is not to be underestimated.

The purpose of this post is not to seek sympathy (or express those desires) but to encourage anyone out there who is in a state of love to not take that for granted. Express how you feel, stop sweating the small stuff and enjoy the life you live together, for there is nothing surer than that you will be apart one day (well unless you both die simultaneously). I would like to quote a poignant part of a well scripted video (and then provide a link to that).

Our emotions are a combination of two elements: an affective movement within the body and a judgement. Suffering arises when we attach judgements to these affective movements that are beyond our control. For example to love someone is within your control, the judgement that this love should be returned and should be so forever is not.

I like the teachings of Stoicism because it is a philosophy to help you to make your own life better. It teaches you outlooks and views upon whch you can build your own strength (and not place you in a dependence relationship with a parasitic organisational organism, which has found a weakness in human minds and preys upon it.

I hope that your life is made just that tiny bit better by this.