Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

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Political correctness – something is wrong here.

Thought for the day…”Why does a round pizza come in a square box?”

“If electricity comes from electrons, then does morality come from morons”

If you have visited Sweden recently then you will have seen the large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in the cities and in the train and bus stations.    Whilst normal tourists need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter, it appears now that the borders to Europe are open to all, and without limit.     Swedish Television has now issued instructions to it’s staff that they are not to use the words ‘immigrant’, ‘black skinned’, ‘dark’ or ‘African origin’  for fear of  insulting people.   The use of words such as ‘white skinned’ is still allowed though.   Is that fair?  Is it not discrimination??  Even  worse is that anyone accused of racism by an immigrant is not going to be allowed time on TV or radio to defend themselves.  And whilst people in Sweden have had to put their names on waiting lists for sometimes several years in order to get public housing, asylum seekers are being put into housing quickly.  Across the border in Norway, asylum seekers are housed in hotels (at public expense) and are given a daily living allowance, whilst Norwegian people have to pay to stay in hotels and are taxed on the priviledge.    Is that fair?

The photo today comes from the lakeside town of Pembroke Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand.  A typical morning view of the lake from near the town centre.

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and another photo from the archives….window cleaning in Ljublana, Slovenia

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Making the same mistake again (and again)

Thought for the day…” We cannot control the wind  but we can direct the sail”.

” If you want a happy ending, that depends of course, on where you stop the story”  (Orson Welles)

I should have learned my lesson before.   Having suffered the fiasco of Windows Vista, I ‘upgraded’ to Windows 8, only to be caught again by all the bugs and problems of that system.   So you would think that an intelligent person would learn.  Once bitten, twice shy, as the saying goes.   But no, along comes an offer from Microsoft to ‘upgrade’ free to Windows 10, and I again fall into the same trap.  Not only are there serious privacy concerns about the new operating system, but Microsoft seems to want to take control of YOUR computer and decide for you how things will run and which programs will run.   Perhaps worst of all is that there is a clause in the user agreement which allows Microsoft to monitor in real time your activity and also which keys you are using (a keylogger).   Even if you want to you YOUR choice of music player, the Microsoft own music player (called Groove) tries to take over instead.    And Microsoft even made deleting its Groove player difficult, needing a user to go to a command line prompt just to delete a program.   The more that you read about the loss of privacy with Windows 10, then the worse it becomes.  Somehow I just cannot accept that they would be watching every key that I press on MY computer, every webpage that I look at, and every program/game/application that I use, all in real time.

So Windows 10 had to go, and gone it has.    I regretted installing W10, hopefully this time I will learn my lesson.   Experiments with the LINUX operating system have been far happier.  It is a much simpler system, it works as it should, and its privacy policy is far better.    Windows 10 be gone !

Lakefront in the South Island, New Zealand town of Pembroke Wanaka for the photo today…..

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and another photo from the archives…the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition, held each year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand.

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They deserve to go out of business……Norwegian Post

Thought for the day…” Make your life a mission, not an intermission”.

Customers can forgive a lot, IF they see that a company is trying.    Mistakes will be made, that is natural, and customers will generally forgive IF the company is seen to be trying to resolve the problem.   But not Posten.no   (Norway Post).   Not once, but TWICE they have messed up a delivery coming from New Zealand to Oslo.   They delivered the letter to the WRONG address, then sent it back to New Zealand for a second time.     But the worst thing is that they do not want to try to put matters right.   They will not even give out the email address of the customer manager.     Try emailing them…..and you will wait a long time for a pathetic reply.  Try asking them for compensation, and again you will wait and wait.   They really are hopeless.    They deserve to go out of business with staff like that working for them.    Bad enough that they messed up the delivery the first time, but to do it TWICE and then send the letter back to New Zealand AFTER I had emailed them to advise them of the problem is unforgiveable.   Guess who will be avoiding Norway Post in future??     I hope that bankruptcy comes soon.

The photo today is from rural Ethiopia……..not sure what they were looking at……..

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and another photo from the archives….autumn in Geilo, Norway

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I get that peaceful, easy morning feeling

Thought for the day…” Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker? ”

” The cure for insomnia is to get more sleep”.                  ” If a book about failure does not sell, then is it a success”.

Not the words from one of the hits of the Eagles music group but a peaceful scene from Norway for the photo today.  One of the early photos from the Fuji X-E1 camera here, taken whilst I was still trying the camera out.   Early morning in the hills of Norway, with some light mist starting to appear over the lake and the first signs of autumn on the trees.   Did you know that in the Swedish and Norwegian languages, that there is no word for ‘please’.   It always sounds very strange (and impolite)  to a non-Scandinavian to simply demand things (eg. give me a coffee.) instead of saying please.    Finnish is another language which does not have a direct word for please (although it does have some polite ways to ask for things, such as  Saisinko (=can I have).     And perhaps because of the long, dark winter and cold winter nights, Norway is number 2 in the world for coffee consumption per capita, around 142 litres (or about 9.5kg of coffee beans) a year for each Norwegian citizen.  Finland still tops the list.

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and a photo from Brazil, with a storm approaching Sao Paulo airport……

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Autumn colours at Glendu Bay, New Zealand

Thought for the day…”Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it”

”  Opportunity does not knock.  It presents itself when you beat down the door”.

Autumn at Glendu Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand for the photo today.  In the centre of the photo is the Bonar Glacier and Mount Aspiring (3033m) in the middle of the Mt. Aspiring National Park.  Glendu Bay is famous for its autumn colours, and often features on postcards and in brochures.  The nearby camping site is packed out over Christmas and New Year, a kiwi tradition to set up camp by the lakeside here.   The town of Pembroke Wanaka is a short drive away as is the small Treble Cone ski area, whilst further up the valley is the start of the national park, with fantastic nature and hiking possibilities.   The Canadian pop/country singer Shania Twain owned property near hear until recently, not hard to see why.

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and another photo from the archives…..the Sultan’s Palace in Muscat, Oman

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Idiot of the Week award goes to……GoPro Customer Service

Thought for the day…” Feed the mind a positive seed in the morning and harvest the reward all day”.

” Failure is just success postponed”.

Idiot of the week award goes to GoPro customer ‘service’.    I am not sure if ‘service’ is the word that should be used here, I can think of some alternative words that are more appropriate.    The story so far……bought a new GoPro Hero 4 Black only to find that it gets hot whilst filming in 4K then cuts off to save itself from burning out.   Not very convenient if you are trying to film action, as you can bet that the camera will have cut out just before the exciting part of the action.

The GoPro Hero 4 Black user manual warns you about the issue, and advises you to stop filming and let the camera cool down.  Again, not very practical if you are in the middle of an action sport.   Lots of emails to/from GoPro customer ‘service’ but they are now trying to deny the problem, even though their very own user manual, written by GoPro themselves, describes the issue.      The latest reply from GoPro customer ‘service’  (there is that word again), really takes the biscuit…..

“I apologize if our manual guide mislead you, that was certainly not our intention , anyway i would like to explain you that TEMPERATURE ICON is not a bug or a issue, like in most part of electronic devices or cars for instance this icon is present with the only intention of alerting the user the camera becomes too hot and needs to cool down.

I imagine if you were driving trough the desert on your car and the temperature icon come up you wouldn’t for sure ask for a refund of the vehicle, same thing apply s to our camera, Your camera was designed to identify conditions of overheating and is designed to respond accordingly.” (quote end)

Well I can tell GoPro that if I bought a new car which was designed for the desert, and it stopped working in the desert after only a few minutes due to overheating, then I most certainly WOULD ask for a refund. Remember that this is a brand new ‘action’ camera which was sold as a camera that would record in 4K. Indeed it does record in 4K, but only until it gets hot and cuts out. So the people at GoPro are still trying to deny what THEY wrote in their own user manual. My retailer has been fantastic about this matter, and I feel sorry for them, as they are caught in the middle of this whole mess. It is not their fault that the NEW GoPro Hero4 Black is bugged with this issue. The real fault lies with GoPro, whose customer ‘service’ are real idiots for trying to deny the situation.  They were the ones who described the issue in the user manual, and so were aware of it from the start.   So it becomes rather stupid for them to now try and deny the issue, even though it is written in black and white.   And the people at GoPro are either ignoring or are deliberately not acknowledging the other postings on the internet.    People have been testing this camera with infra-red cameras to record the overheating.   Same issue there too.

Yes GoPro customer support, I most certainly WOULD ask for a full refund on a NEW car that stopped working after only a few minutes, especially if that car was sold as a desert car.  Same with your camera, which turned out to be a useless piece of kit that I have lost money on.   Customers can forgive a lot IF they see that a company is trying, but not if that company is being like an ostrich, burying its head in the sand.

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and another photo from the archives….The Bosphorus and city centre, Istanbul, Turkey…..

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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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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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Beers of the world.

Thought for the day…” If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with the rain”   (Dolly Parton)

” No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.

Next time you feel like a beer, then spare a thought for beer drinkers in Iceland.    There the Stedji brewery is offering a special beer to quench your thirst, made from smoked whale’s testicles.     Apparently it is an ancient Icelandic tradition to cure, smoke and then salt these parts of whales.   Whale meat is found on the menu in Icelandic restaurants, and is claimed to be healthy due to its high protein content and low fat.  The beer, which is 5.2% alcohol, will only be sold in Iceland.

A perfect autumn day at Lake Wanaka, New Zealand for the photo today….clear air and still conditions made photos like these very easy…..

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And another photo out of the archives…snowmobile jumping in the centre of the Finnish capital, Helsinki

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