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Classic car – Jaguar Mk2

Thought for the day…” The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions”

“Happiness is always an inside job”.

The GoPro saga continues.     Customers can forgive a lot if they see that a company is trying, but when a company tries to avoid admitting an obvious problem, then customers rapidly lose confidence.    So far, customer services at GoPro have been far from brilliant and also far from helpful.   There are already a lot of unhappy GoPro 4 Hero Black users on the internet, many of whom have had issues with the camera overheating when recording 4K video (which was the sole reason that I bought that particular camera).   So what would you or I do if you had a product that you knew had a problem??   Continue to sell it?    No.    Offer to refund the money?    Yes.    But so far, GoPro have not offered anything.      The user manual acknowledges the problem, and suggests recording only short video clips at 4K.  Not practical if you are doing action sports, as you can hardly pause the action just to wait for the camera to cool down.     So the emails to GoPro customer service go back and forth.   The GoPro camera sits in its case, no longer used due to the overheating issue.   I would like very much for GoPro to refund my NZD 732 that I paid for it.    My action sports continue, but will be unrecorded !!   Come on GoPro.   You have admitted in the user manual that there is an issue, now do the right thing.

Two photos of an immaculate 1961 Jaguar Mk2 car, seen here in Alexandra, New Zealand.  These cars were built in Coventry, England between 1959 and 1967.   Engine sizes ranged between 2.4L and 3.7L, with up to 220 bhp.     Top speed for the 3.7L engined version was about 201 km/h, although with a high fuel consumption of around 14L/100 km.  The TV detective, Inspector Morse drove a Jaguar Mk 2.

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Go Pro 4 Black – unhappy experience

Thought for the day…” Genius is 1 % inspiration and 99 % perspiration”.

“You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take”.

They say that hindsight is always 20/20, and with hindsight I would not have bought the GoPro Hero 4 Black.    There are lots of brilliant videos on Youtube and the net made by GoPro cameras, but I guess that the new GoPro Hero 4 Black is not going to be producing so many of them.

I purchased the latest version of the camera recently, but was dismayed to find that it has a problem.   Not just a problem but a serious one.   After a short time, it gets hot and cuts out automatically (to save further damage to itself).   The user manual warns you about this, and I have now read a good number of reports on the internet about problems caused by overheating.   And of course, the plastic case that you use most of the time just makes matters worse, as it stops airflow around the camera, resulting in an even hotter camera.  So GoPro have produced an action camera that does record in 4K (as the advertising says) but a camera that gets so hot that it cuts out after a few minutes recording.

An email to customer services at GoPro got a useless reply, which just restated what the user manual said.    GoPro are suggesting that users take short video clips, and then let the camera cool down between filming.  Hardly practical if you are doing action sports, as you cannot really pause your action sport for a couple of minutes just to let the camera cool !!   That is a guarantee that the action moment will be missed.

But what is sad is that GoPro know of the problem, (even describing it in the user manual) and must be aware of all the complaints on the internet about it.   That said, it seems that the GoPro 4 SILVER is fine, and works well, just that the top of the range Hero 4 BLACK has the overheating issue.

What would I do now if I was running the GoPro company?    Admit that the units have a serious problem and recall them and offer a full refund.  Customers can forgive a lot if they see that a company is trying.  Mistakes do happen, but to keep selling items with a known problem is just not on.   Probably bad for business in the long-term too, as selling a product with a known fault is not going to encourage loyalty or improve your company image.

So I will send more emails to GoPro in the hope that they will do the honourable thing and offer a full refund.  I do not intend to limit my action sports to just a few minutes !!

No problems with the Fuji X-E1 camera, which continues to produce fantastic still photos (with no overheating problems!!).   Two examples below to show how good the camera is.   First photo was taken recently in Pembroke (Wanaka), New Zealand.

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And another photo from the archives…early morning in autumn in the hills of Norway…..another Fuji X-E1 photo….

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Madeira, Funchal airport

Thought for the day…” Work for a cause, not for applause.   Live life to express, not to impress”

“Ham and eggs.  A day’s work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig”.

Two photos from Funchal airport, Madeira.   Blessed by a great year-round climate, Madeira is popular with tourists, many of whom travel from Scandinavia, Germany and the UK.  About 1 million tourists visit each year, including a large number of cruise ships.   About 265 000 people live on the islands, most of them on the main island of Madeira itself.  Mountains rise to 1862m on these volcanic islands.  The islands are part of Portugal, although are semi-autonomous.   Despite its small size, the airport has direct flights to a surprising number of cities.  The airport is also famous for aircraft spotting, due to the excellent viewing opportunities on the side of the single runway.    Infamous for the turbulent winds, watching a few arrivals normally produces a few interesting landings.  No problems on this calm day though, as TAP arrives from Portugal.

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And another photo from the archives…..a backpacker on the Annapurna circuit in Nepal talks to a local.

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Early one morning…..sunrise in Pembroke, New Zealand

Thought for the day…” Strong is what happens when you run out of weak”.

“If you want something that you never had, then you have to do something that you have never done”.

Currently in New Zealand waters, and at present in Auckland, is a 134m superyacht, ‘Serene’.    One of the world’s largest private yachts, owned by a Russian vodka company boss, the boat is said to have cost some USD 330 million.   Crewed by 52 staff, it boasts 7 decks, 2 helipads, an indoor salt water swimming pool, movie theatre, nightclub, climbing wall, gym, underwater viewing room, and several jacuzzis.   When the Russian owner is not using Serene, it is available for charter.  Not cheap though, as rumor has it that when Bill Gates rented it, the cost was some USD 5 million a week.    No doubt that the price includes a good selection of vodkas in the bars though.

Today’s photo is a lucky shot.   Suddenly one morning for about 5 minutes the clouds parted during the sunrise, and just for a very short time, I was able to get some great photos of a dramatic sunrise.    Another occasion when it was good to have the camera there and ready……..Lots of photos of sunSETS on the internet, but not so many of sunRISES.      Taken in Pembroke, New Zealand, with the Fuji X-E1 camera.

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And another photo from the archives…window cleaners in Ljublana, Slovenia

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Challenge Wanaka – cycle leg

Thought for the day…” If you cannot do great things, then do small things in a great way”.

”  Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines”.

Four photos from the cycle stage of the Challenge Wanaka traithlon.  Coming around the final turn before the transition to the running leg, these competitors will have already completed the swimming leg and are almost at the end of the cycling stage.   Those doing the full triathlon will have swum 3.8 km and will have cycled 180 km, with ‘just’ the 42.2 km (marathon) to complete.   Some competitors enter the 1/2 challenge, with about 1500 people taking part in Challenge Wanaka this year.   The Dutch cyclist Fred Rompelberg holds the speed record for cycling, having achieved 268 km/h on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA.   The next Challenge Wanaka will be on 21st February 2016.   Book now !

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Paraguayian pair – two from Paraguay

Thought for the day…”Falling down is how we grow, staying down is how we die”.

“Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success”.

Did you know that “to google’ officially became a verb in 2006, when it was recognized by the Oxford English dictionary.     And did you know that as well as more than 35 non-English languages that can be used for searches on Google, that it also has a klingon interface, just in case of a request from outer space?   And did you know that you cannot create a folder called ‘con’ on a Windows computer (try it!!).    And did you know that when Google assembled their first server, that the box that they used to hold the drives was made from Lego?  And apparently, Bill Gates of Microsoft fame, whilst in school wrote a class scheduling program for the adminstrators.   By design, this program was coded so that he ended up in classes with mostly female students!!!!

Two photos from the capital of Paraguay, Asuncion for the photos today.   Surprisingly, both were taken in the city centre, and both show that the city has lost its former glory.  About 6.8 million people live in Paraguay, with about one third of them living in Asuncion.  Around 35% of the population are said to be poor, easily visible in the streets of the capital where you can see shacks and temporary shelters in the middle of the once grand avenues.  Sadly for tourists, there is little of interest left to see, unless you have in interest in decay.   Paraguay is one of the two landlocked countries in South America (the other is Bolivia).  Both photos were taken with the Fuji X-E1 camera.

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and another photo from the archives… a happy woman in Gambia.

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New Zealand, now very much discovered.

Thought for the day…” Light travels faster than sound.  Therefore, some people appear to be bright until they speak”

” A bad attitude is like a flat tyre.  You cannot go anywhere until you change it”.

Travelling around the South Island of New Zealand, it is very clear that New Zealand now has more tourists than is comfortable.  Many buses are fully booked, some with waiting lists of passengers, accommodation is very heavily booked and in some towns (like Queenstown) it is now necessary to book so far ahead.      Same story with rental cars and domestic flights, all extremely heavily booked.   Feedback from tourists is also not as positive as before, due to overcrowding and the national parks and attractions being so busy.     Latest statistics show that in the year ended January 2015, that the number of international arrivals into NZ was 2.86 million visitors.   When you relate this to the number of people in New Zealand (about 4.5 million) then the effects of tourism become clear.   And the tourism numbers are growing by about 4% a year.    Not quite as bad as Dubai yet, where visitors outnumber locals by a factor of 4.8 to 1, but still high.  Also well behind  France though, which gets around 84 million foreign visitors a year.    But New Zealand is now well on the tourist route, and the strain is beginning to show.  No longer cheap, and also no longer so relaxed as before.    Book your place now !

Another photo from the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition, held at the weekend.   Looks like this competitor was enjoying herself, about 40km into the cycle leg on stage 2.

 

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and another photo from the archives…street scene in Korea.

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Challenge Wanaka Triathlon

Thought for the day…” With great power comes great electricity bills”.

” Some people are like clouds.  When they disappear then it is a beautiful day”.

Said to be one of the most scenic triathlon competitions in the world, the annual Wanaka Challenge was held at the weekend.    During this day, which stretches from 7am until 1130 pm (so almost 16 hours), competitors will start by swimming 3.8km in the lake, then cycle 180 km through the mountains and after that run the 42.2km marathon.   226km in some of New Zealand’s best scenery…….   The winning time this year was 8 hours and 37 minutes, won by Dylan Mcneice from Christchurch, NZ.   And if you think that doing 226km and 3 sports in a day is impossible, the size, shape and age of people taking part in the Challenge proves otherwise.    The world record for a course of this length stands at 7 hours 41 (by Andrea Raelert at Challenge Roth in Germany).  Spare a thought for the 70 year old Brian Boyle, who managed the 226km race in a very respectable time of 14 hours and 31 minutes.  Perfect weather and great conditions made for a fun day out for the spectators and the 1500 competitors

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and another photo from the cycle leg of the competition…LOW RES cycle

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New Zealand – Discovered

Thought for the day….” Well done is better than well said”.

” When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.”

It is sad to see some of the changes in New Zealand now.   Up to a few years ago, it was cheap destination and was the sort of place where you could arrive in a place and decide where to stay and for how long.   Now that has changed.   Huge numbers of tourists (many of them from China) mean that accommodation and buses are booked out, even now which was traditionally a ‘low’ season.    There were 402 518 international visitor arrivals in December 2014, a  new record, with Chinese tourists being the big growth area.     Compare that figure to the total number of people in NZ (just over 4.5 million) and you can see that over a year, that the number of tourists is huge.      Over 3/4 of the population of NZ live in the North Island.    But the problem now is that most of the tourists want to see the most popular places such as Queenstown, which is leading to overcrowding and booked out buses and accommodation.      This season it is hard to travel with advance reservations, and tourist activities are heavily booked, even this late in the season.    Prices have gone up a lot too, and NZ is no longer the bargain destination that it was.   Prices for accommodation have risen sharply, tourist activity prices have reached European levels, and eating out has also reached European price levels too    New Zealand has been discovered !    So if you are going to visit New Zealand, reserve in advance and come with a lot more money !!   And the photo today is from New Zealand, Lake Wanaka early morning…

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and another photo out of the archives….sunset at Ometepe, Nicaragua.

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Another stunning morning in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Thought for the day….”Marriage is the main cause of divorce”.

“There is no elevator to success.  You have to take the stairs”.

Another beautiful morning in Wanaka in the south part of the South Island of New Zealand.     This popular summer and winter resort is expanding fast, with a population of over 7000 now and 1600 new houses about to be built.     Until 1940 it was called Pembroke but was renamed.   Wanaka receives only half the national average of rainfall, as it is in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps, which also means that it gets over 2000 hours of sunshine a year.   Despite the calm appearance of the lake in the photo (taken a few days ago) the lake has flooded the town previously, the most recent being in 1999.  New Zealand has become considerably more expensive recently, with prices rising fast for food, accommodation and tourist activities.  It is no longer the bargain destination that it once was, and with record numbers of tourist arrivals (409 000 for the month of December alone) then accommodation and buses are still very heavily booked.    Early morning in the photo, and two tourists admire the views…….

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