Saturday, 29 March 2014

Seagate Silliness

The other day I was looking at hard drives because I'm going to need some more storage soon. You can buy an external 3GB Seagate drive, that comes in a case with USB 3 for about £80 (previously has been as low as £70, some people were getting them new for more like £60 through Flubit). The internal drive that uses costs £85 by itself. (You can see a teardown here showing the drive used in the external model: Seagate 3TB Expansion Desktop Drive Teardown).

So it costs £5 - £25 to have the drive without the external case! The annoying thing is that if you bought the external one, then removed the drive for use as an internal drive, it would void the warranty.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Looking for Android compatible GPS loggers

I spent quite a lot of today looking at GPS loggers. I was planning to buy the GlobalSat DG-200 GPS logger, until I realised that you need its windows specific software to download the tracklog from the device. It appears that it does not connect as a mass storage device. I looked at many other GPS models, such as the Garmin eTrex and Garmin eTrex h (reportedly the h is much better / more sensitive), and the i-gotU GT-600 and GT-120. But they all required specialist software / drivers to download data from the device, and all feature internal memory only, so you can't use a microSD card then remove it from the device to read it.

Eventually I found some software for Android that can read the tracklogs from bluetooth GPS loggers that use the MTK GPS chipset: AndroidMTK. But it only works via bluetooth. One GPS logger that uses the MTK chipset and bluetooth is the Holux M-241. But when I checked the Amazon reviews, they weren't great. A few people reported that it was unreliable to use, sometimes loosing tracklogs.

A couple of other bluetooth MTK chipset GPS loggers are the iBlue 747 and Qstarz BT-Q818XT, but these both cost around £50-60.

So it seems my best bet is probably going to be a Garmin eTrex 10. I'm pretty sure this can be used in USB mass storage mode, so it will work with my android tablet over USB. If not, it uses microSD, so that can be used to copy the tracklog via a USB card reader instead. Amazon reviews seem to be positive on the device's sensitivity and accuracy. If I'm patient I can hopefully pick one up for around £40. More than I wanted to spend, but not really expensive either.

The bad thing about the eTrex is that it is quite a bit larger than a simple logger, which is the main reason why I sold my Garmin 76CSx. Still, the eTrex 10 is smaller than the 76CSx. As a slight bonus, some of the reviewers stated that although the eTrex is no good for mapping, it can still be used for uploading a route and then checking that you are following the route.

I spent all of the morning (and some of the rest of the day) planning one thing to do when I'm in Japan (visit Mt Aso).

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Rusty's blog · Post

Flickr is well known for making changes to its site that users don't like, and keeping these changes despite thousands of complaints. The latest change has been the 'New Photo Experience', which thankfully I have been able to opt out of so far as I found it pretty unusable.

The interesting thing is that today I received a notification about some issues to do with the new photo experience that have been closed (not fixed). They linked to this thread: [Official Thread] Update on the New Photo Experience. In this thread, Flickr states that they have seen a 88% increase in page views on the page.

This makes sense as to why Flickr don't seem to listen their user's views - they are basing their decisions on testing and stats, not comments and user feedback. In my opinion this is actually extremely sensible.

I am very surprised that the new photo experience would result in an 88% increase in page views, given how much I and many others don't like it. But obviously the vast majority of people must like it, just they are not vocal in expressing their support for it.

On eBay there was a fraudulent listing for a 'Nikon 500 mm f/4.0G ED VR AF-S' lens, which eBay didn't remove and ended up selling for £3,801. Unlike most obviously fraudulent listings, this one didn't say contact me on before bidding or for buy it now price or anything like that. But it was obviously fake as it used the same product images as a few previous (also fraudulent) listings have.

I checked the seller's feedback today, and the buyer had left negative feedback with the comment Vendor failed to communicate. Fraud? Well, it's not really fraud if the seller doesn't actually try to defraud you. Very strange behaviour from the seller though, listing a fake item then just not communicating about it when someone tries to buy it.

Also on eBay, I noticed that a US based seller was selling Adobe Production Premium CS5 for a low price. The description was 'Adobe CS5 Production Premium 2x Volume License Includes After Effects CS5'. They stated:

Software and installation code will be delivered on a 16GB USB2.0 Flash Drive. Volume license is non-upgradeable since it is an 'end of life' product that Adobe no longer sells.

I can also supply you with a direct download link from the Adobe website so you can download the software directly from the Adobe site.

Sounds rather dodgy to me, but they had lots of positive feedback for selling these volume licences. I tried to find out a bit more info on volume licences, and found this helpful thread here: Did I just bought an OEM version of the Creative Suite? To quote from that thread:

there is a problem if some "vendor" tries to improperly sell you ... a copy using a serial number purchased under Adobe's Volume Licensing Program meant for many copies within a particular organization (such as a design company) and not for resale.

So it seems that if you buy a volume license copy from an eBay seller (or anyone else), the software will likely work, but it will not be legal. Considering that you could just download a crack / hack of the software, then I am not sure why you pay money to an eBay seller for a volume licence that is just as illegal.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cutting out images

Most of today I was preparing my weekly pog website update. When I was putting the washing out in the garden (first time this year) I saw a Brimstone butterfly and a smallish black bumblebee.

Yesterday I was digging out and re-claying the pond, today the water was still quite cloudy, but I did see a couple of frogs. (We fished most of the animals out of the pond before draining it, then added them back in after refilling it yesterday).

My Fuji X-M1 camera arrived today, though I didn't send the free lens form off yet as my X-A1 camera has been dispatched now according to Amazon. So hopefully that will arrive tomorrow and I can send both free lens claim forms off together in a single envelope.

On eBay I was considerably outbid for a Lensbaby Composer (which looks to include the standard double glass optic). It ended up going for £68.50, even though the listing gave no details of what mount it was for, and ending at 4:30pm, when you wouldn't of thought many people would be using eBay.

In the evening I did a little bit of website work.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Circling Sir Killing

This morning I was clearing out old items in my eBay watch list. One of the items was 'Adobe Photoshop CS5 for windows little white rabbit', which sold for £10.50. This is a beta version of Photoshop CS5, which you can download for free (illegally?) from the net. Given that the auction states 'SENT TO YOU ON A GOOD QUALITY PRINTED CD - ROM', I'm not sure why you'd pay £10.50 just to have some free software put on CD for you?

A 'SUN FM F3,8 / 21 mm' lens sold for £43.39, and from internet reports it sounds like this is not a very good lens.

An 'Olympus PEN E-PL5 16.1 MP Digital Camera - micro four thirds' with 14-42mm kit lens sold for £207.34 + £10 P&P, which is a good deal. The cover was missing from the shutter button, but this doesn't affect usability at all according to the listing. It's funny how much less people will pay if something has a few cosmetic issues. I could understand it with something that's meant for display, but not something like a camera.

A 'RARE TOKINA RMC OLYMPUS OM fit 17mm f3.5 LENS PRIME LENS' sold for £47.77 + £4 P&P. This lens normally goes for more like £100, but to be honest, even £50 seems a bit much to me. Image quality is reportedly good for the price when the lens is stopped down to f/8.

I got outbid by £1 on a 'i1 Display Pro (PC/Mac)', which ended up selling for £116.21. As always, if I'd bid £20 more, I might still have been outbid by £1 for all I know. They retail for around £160 new.

Some more Rodchenko books were listed that I don't have, but at very expensive prices. 'Alexander Rodchenko: Works on Paper, 1914-20 By Aleksandr Rodchenko, David Elli' and 'Alexander Rodchenko "Photography is an Art" russian Constructivism rare Book'. From the listings:

Book Details

Title: Alexander Rodchenko: Works on Paper, 1914-20 Item Condition:used item in a good condition
Author: Aleksandr Rodchenko, David Elliott, Aleksandr Lavrentiev ISBN 10:0856674184
Publisher:Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd ISBN 13:9780856674181
Published On:1993-06-30 SKU:AWE-0856674184
Binding:Hardcover Language:english
Edition:Reissue List Price:£57.38
"Alexander Rodchenko. Photography is an Art"

Weight: 3,1 kg

English language


480 pages

This book is to mark the 115th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Rodchenko. It consists of two parts, «Creative Experiment» and «Photo Reportage». This structure enables us to enter the artist’s laboratory and see how his ideas were embodied in the day-to-day work of one of the most productive photographers of the age.The quotations from Rodchenko’s articles, speeches and diary entries, his daughter’s reminiscences, his correspondence with contemporaries and the unusually rich illustrative material present a vivid and rounded picture of the personality of this great Constructivist and world famous reformer of twentieth-century photography. Much of the material is published for the first time.

A 'Canon EF 200mm f/2.0 L IS USM Lens' sold for £2,785, which is quite a good deal - it sells for over £4000 new.

A broken 'Fujifilm X series X-Pro1 16.3 MP Digital Camera - Black (Body Only)' (actually it appears to be one full camera and the top sections from 2 more cameras) failed to sell for £50. It looked as if the sensor had been hit with a hammer, with the glass in front of the sensor being shattered. If it was just the glass in front of the sensor that had been broken, then this would be a very good deal for me since I want a camera with the hot mirror glass replaced with clear / quartz glass for full spectrum photography anyway. But I can't help feeling that smashing the glass in front of the sensor like that without damaging the sensor would be almost impossible.

One 'NOVOFLEX NOFLEXAR 35mm 3,5 EXAKTA Mount Lens' sold for £93.55, while another sold for £62.59. Both in good condition, and both with similar postage. The more expensive one ended at 9am, while the cheaper one ended at 8pm on the same day. Around 8pm is generally considered the optimum time to end your listing for maximum bidders at the last minute, so quite a strange result. These lenses normally go for around £100 - £150.

A 'Samyang 14mm F2.8 Manual Focus Lens for Samsung NX' sold for £139.89, while the same lens for 4/3 mount sold for £132. The Samsung mount one was new, while the 4/3 mount one was untested and no returns. Typical selling price of this lens in Canon or Nikon mount is £200 - £250. The four thirds mount one may be able to be converted to Canon or Nikon mount, e.g. see this thread about converting a Samyang lens to Sony alpha mount: Rokinon (Samyang) mount conversion to Sony Alpha. Samsung NX has a much shorter Flange back distance. The lens doesn't look like it has a lot of extension added on the rear mount, so I'm not sure whether a Samyang NX mount lens could be converted to a DSLR mount.

A 'Sigma Apo Teleobjektiv 500 mm***1:4,5***für Nikon Vollformat***' sold for £796.92. I think this is probably quite a good price for this lens, though it is not the HSM model. Personally if I wanted to spend near £1000 on a telephoto lens I'd rather get the modern 'Tamron SP AF150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens' - good image quality, though AF tracking seems a bit dodgy.

I got outbid by about 10p for 'Creative Composition: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques by Harold Davis'. Oh well...

A 'Lensbaby Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic for Sony' sold for £46, RRP is $280. Like the Samyang lens, I believe you could probably remove the mount from this and replace it with a drilled M42 adapter and shims to use on a Canon or Nikon DSLR.

After finishing going through my eBay watch list, I made some Yorkshire Teacakes.

In the afternoon I went out on a short walk with a cheapo fisheye add-on lens. Then I did some work on the pond with Billy and Clare. We emptied it out, in order to get some more clay from the bottom and patch up the sides of the pond (plus remove all the excess plant life and blanket weed).

There were loads of frogs in the blanket weed, including 2 mating pairs. Also 2 adult newts. Of course, there was probably plenty of other stuff in it that we didn't see as well. Around the edge of the pond were loads of pond snails. I couldn't do any work in getting clay out of the bottom of the pond though, as the bottom was like quicksand (or should that be quickclay?)

So I'll have to do some more work on the pond tomorrow, trying to scoop up clay from the bottom without getting into the pond.

In the evening I went on Mario with Billy for a bit like I always do. Then I booked our hotel for Mauser's wedding.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Spleening my vent

When writing yesterday's blog, I forgot about something that happened. My computer screen started getting random pixel 'noise' all over the screen that was constantly changing.

After researching it, it sounded like it was probably the Graphics card. I decided to try installing the latest drivers, but when I got to the driver download page on the Nvidia website, it said I had to click an 'agree and download' button to download the drivers. Only problem was, this button was not there. I tried different browsers, but they were all the same. Eventually I managed to fix it by altering the URL from to Bit of a farce though.

Thankfully after cleaning my computer (I didn't take it apart but did spend about an hour or more with a duster and bulb blower) and updating the drivers I haven't had the same issue.

Today I updated my pog website, went to Church, then made some naan breads.

In the afternoon I watched some Youtube videos with Billy, sorted some photos, and commented on various photos.

In the evening I listed some more stuff on eBay.

Saturday, 1 March 2014


This morning was foggy so I went out on a short walk. It was really nice just standing still and listening to all the different birds singing.

For the rest of the morning I watched some photography videos on youtube.

After lunch I checked my emails and then spent quite a bit of the afternoon doing some gardening.

In the evening I went on Mario 3D World and Pikmin 3 with Billy. Then the rest of the evening I read some articles online and responded to some emails.