26 Oct

Sheffield Coil Products to Close

Ah well, the coil products business in Sheffield is to close. Ann has worked there for 20 years, it was the place I got my first job and worked 12-13 years for the company myself. It was a bit galling to tune into the BBC News and see a report on how progressive and wonderful Finnish society is when it’s the Finns who are closing down Sheffield, but hey ho. We have many many friends who work or worked there, and now it’s going to end, well not the friendships! http://tinyurl.com/bb48v Sad, and I guess a new beginning.

23 Oct

Ah well, not blogged for a goodly while. Been travelling again this week. Had two great meetings, one with EPSRC at Swindon and one with the Exel crew at the Broadmead Consolidation Centre. I ran some Star Wars roleplaying for my son Matt and his friend Louis on Monday and Friday and it was fun to be playing a d6 game again. All in all not a bad week.

30 Sep

Kaposvár: Hungary: 2005.

From the 28th to 30th September 2005 I attended a workshop on urban freight solutions in Kaposvár in Hungary. This is my work and I shall not discuss it here, rather my impressions of the town and the opportunities for seeing new places and meeting new people. This is the second time I have been to Hungary, the first time was a couple of years ago and was based wholly in Budapest. My wife and son came out after the workshop then and we had a local guide give us a tour of the city. My impressions were of a ‘little brother’ to Vienna, which I know a little. I was also dismayed by the generally rude attitude of the Budapest people to me as a visitor, although our guide was charming and my Hugarian colleagues are great, the tourist trade in Budapest seems to be surly and greedy. It may well be that this is very untypical, as I have said those Hungarians I work with are great, so maybe it is to do with tourism and strangers, but I won’t be going back to Budapest again in a hurry. Kaposvár was quite the opposite. A small to medium city near the very long thin Lake Balaton, the place burns with intense pride. The town has been beautifully laid out around a welcoming and attractive Kossuth square (webcam). The people were very friendly, the hotel staff tried hard and the whole visit exuded small town hospitality and charm. My pictures are at: http://flickr.com/photos/tzunder/sets/1116997/

26 Sep

I visited Belgium last week for a DGTREN Open Day for the FP6 research programme. You don’t need to know more than that, it was a mixture of good and indifferent, leading to leads and gossip which is often so helpful in forming partnerships. It was also an opportunity to add to my collection of pictures of Belgium. I recently bought a VITO CL on ebay, for a tiny sum, and so I took it with me to see how a 1960s camera can perform, especially since my Leica is in the repair shop and I still don’t have a take up spool for my Zorki 4. Truth to tell the VITO CL is a lovely bit of small German engineering and would make a great street camera, but I was concerned since half the pictures were overexposed. I have since tested the camera at all shutter speeds and discovered that they work fine. The lightmeter has a tendency to overexpose a little but I can ue my handheld light meter. So I shall take with me to Hungary, if I ever can find a hotel. I did get some nice pictures in Belgium, so feel free to go and have a look at them: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tzunder/sets/1020211/

I just finished the Alegbraist by Iain M Banks which in an almost neo-Dune sense (but so much better) does the whole Galactic Baroque Empire bit so well, with the usual AIs, utopian anarcho types at the fringes.
This week, I am off to Hungary for a BESTUFS workshop in Kaposvár, which will be interesting in so many ways, but does now beg the question as to whether I have a working camera to take apart from the EOS300D, which is great and will work just fine but doesn’t fit my current retro jag. Ah well, blog later!

14 Sep

Ah, don’t you love technology? My ADSL router has been falling over and behaving badly for a while. So badly that I decided to replace it. It’s gone quite well, but with all sorts of incompatibility fun, not least with the existing bridge router I use to extend WiFi round the house. More cost, more ‘why don’t you say this when you sell it?’ Ah well. It is still satisfying when it largely works, and the new router is much faster, which says that the old one was actually throttling my connection, which is important when you have only 512Mb broadband to play with.

12 Sep


Well the sales on ebay still roll on, a steady trickle of money to convert my spare room’s junk into new spending money. No illusions here, the money will all be recycled into new junk. Junk that I like tho’ I started on Friday when I bought a 25mm Voigtlander lens for my Leica, only to realise that the rangefinder focusing on my Leica is out of alignment. So it’s off to Germany for a Leica service. Gonna cost me a bomb, but they convinced me it was worth paying for the real thing. In the meantime I have my Canon EOS300D to play with and my Fuji GA645zi. I got the pictures back from Plymouth and (given the crap weather) there are a few that are okay. I am going to have find a new place to scan my films thouigh, or do it myself, because the quality of scans from my local guys is dreadful. The tonal range and levels are almost random. If I hadn’t read some books I’d assume they were unrecoverable, but with a bit of work in Photoshop Elements I can tweak them back into shape..

That is a film pic from the Leica on 35mm lens, scanned and then brought back to something sensible on the PC. Nice innit? I might run it through my scanner later and see if my scans are better, they should be, but they take so long to do.. Lastly here is a nice pub picture from Plymouth, near the University, as you might guess from the name. The pic of the Skiving Scholar just wasnt up to much so I’ve binned it for now, might be worth rescanning.

Plenty of photography on Sunday, took pictures of the neighbours kids, my friend Neil’s grandson and some of Matthew and I. I won’t post the kids until/unless I have permission, but here’s one of Matthew that I like a lot.

I went mad Saturday and bought the new Stones album: abiggerbang. People have ben reviewing it and saying it’s a good album, maybe the best they’ve done in ages. I have to say that I agree, it’s a great deal of Stones goodness, varying from some in-your-face prancing through Delta blues to a Keith Richards ballad. All in all, if you like the Stones then IMHO you will enjoy the album.

I was going to go a conference in Bristol this week but frankly I think I’m better off staying at home and getting some work done, so that’s the new plan. I have a weekend meetup with my roleplaying friends next weekend and it’s Ann’s birthday on Monday, so that’s me sorted for a few days.

09 Sep

We are all French now..

I love this picture, I want to use it whenever I meet a gung ho Yank. Mind you most Yanks I meet are terribly nice and balanced, then I find out they’re Canadian!

Picture was taken by the excellent street photographer Alan Wilson in Glasgow, February 2003: Alan’s Site

I am at the LRN Conference 2005 in Plymouth. Small turnout and rainy weather, but nice to catch up with many people. No great photo opportunities and the rangefinder on my Leica has gone out of alignment so it’ll need a service.

On the gaming front my Zombies meets Planet of the Apes game moves on apace with some player fatalities and a dawning realisation that they are normal people caught up in an awful situation. It is a bit edgy since they are playing themselves and I don’t want to traumatise them too much, but they’re rising to it well as the consummate roleplayers I know them to be. I do occasionally feel a twing of guilt playing games when people are dead in New Orleans, but that’s just petty thinking there is any equivalence.

Anyhow, back to the conference.

06 Sep

Worcester Street Drummers 2005


Worcester Street Drummers 2005
Originally uploaded by tzunder.

This was taken back in May, three kids busking in Worcester. Worcester is odd in that busking is legal there, unlike most UK cities. My son used to busk, indeed I may find and post some pics I took of Mike doing just that. It allowed a fun festive atmosphere in the town all year, and other cities really should follow suit. Great for street photographers as well!

Off to the LRN (Logistics Research Network) Conference in Plymouth tomorrow. Should be an opportunity to network, and maybe take some pictures as well.