Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Posts tagged “Quality Spa Resort

Think before you install……that app may not be so innocent

Thought for the day…”What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.”

“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”

It is amazing that so many people install apps on their mobile phones without any regard for just how much information those apps may collect. I recently wanted to install an app to control the flashlight on my mobile phone, but refused to install it when I discovered that it wanted access to my camera, email contacts and microphone. Absolutely no need for a glorified light switch to need access to my emails or the microphone on my telephone. And a second flashlight program proved just as bad.

Now there is the news on the internet about Amazon, and their plans to open physical stores in the USA. Apparently, they are going to monitor shoppers mobile phones, and will block their internet access if they attempt to check prices at other stores or online. So not only will Amazon be able to see what you are interested in, they will also be able to stop you comparing prices, and presumably, will also be able to see other sites on the internet that you are interested in. No doubt many people will quickly install a new Amazon app, without thinking about the loss of privacy. 50 years ago, people would have demonstrated against the idea of carrying something that gave authorities the power to see where they were within a few metres, and also what they were reading/eating/shopping/listening to. Even installing a flashlight app may now mean that somebody is listening to your conversations. Privacy is important, yet many people are now readily giving it up.

A photo from Spitsbergen of the Artic poppy flower, braving the cold weather…

and another photo….early morning in Riverton, in the far south of New Zealand.  At one time, this port received freight boats from Australia before the estuary silted up.  Now the railway and the larger boats have long since gone, leaving just the small fishing boats and a few tourists who pass through Riverton whilst driving the Southern Scenic Route.

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RESPECT,CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


Colour in minature at the top of Norway

Thought for the day….”You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough”  (Mae West)

“Ladies who play with fire must remember that smoke gets in their eyes”  (Mae West)

Up to the top of Norway and the border with Russia for the photo today.   Traders from Russia come across into Norway to trade and shop (despite the prices in Norway !).   Some warm sunshine and good light helped to make a very colourful photo of a very typical Russian item, nesting dolls.

Nesting dolls (called Matryoshkas)  were originally a Japanese idea, but are now a common souvenir from Russia.  Sergei Maliutin is thought to have been the first Russian to produce the dolls, with the first sets representing a Russian peasant family of a mother and her 7 children.  The world record is for a 51 piece set, with the largest doll being over 51 cm tall.

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and another photo from the archives…Arrowtown on the South Island of New Zealand, a former gold mining town that is now a popular daytrip from nearby Queenstown.

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Last light of the day – sunset

Thought for the day….”Success is more aptitude than attitude”

“Heaven on Earth is a choice that you must make, not a place that you must find.”

As part of my job, I get to travel a lot, and you tend to notice the differences between countries.  At Singapore Changi (code SIN, and possibly the best airport in the world) recently the drinking fountains were closed for maintenance.  Being Singapore, with its fantastically well run services, the airport managers had thought to provide bottled drinking water at the water fountains so that passengers were not inconvenienced.   Travel further up to Norway, which you would expect would also be a well run country and things are the opposite.   In the Scandic hotel in Bergen, the orange juice machine was out of order, but nobody had thought to provide juice in jugs next to it.  Next hotel (again a Scandic hotel) and the coffee machine was out of order.   Just a handwritten sign on the machine saying that it was out of order.  Again, nobody had thought to provide a thermos of coffee to make up for the failure.   And as part of the ‘improvements’ to standard rooms, they do not now provide tea/coffee facilities in the standard rooms.  Gone also are tissues in the rooms, individual shampoo and conditioner and soaps.

And as if that was not enough, the Scandic hotels in Bergen (not cheap, as nothing in Norway is cheap) have decided that they will not put cutlery, cups or serviettes on the tables.   It is the same as the airlines, customer service is disappearing.   Scandic hotels may be happy to ask high prices in order to stay in their hotels.  The prices rise, but the service levels fall.   There comes a point when you say that enough is enough.   Why pay high prices for less service??     Perhaps they should let Singaporeans run the hotels in Norway??

And to end the day, a photo of the sunset near Alesund on the 18th July 2016….wonderful end to the day..

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and another photo from the archives…..happy boys in Albania

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Queen of the Skies – the Boeing 747 400

Thought for the day….”Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

A photo that is history now….a Singapore Airlines 747-400 taking off from Zurich airport in Switzerland.  Known as the Queen of the Skies, almost 400 tons lifting off for the 11 hour flight to Singapore.    Zurich (code ZRH) is a great place to take aircraft photos, as the authorities there actually encourage people to take photos, and even organize special photo tours.    Great that the managers there have seen the value of photographers, and make it easy to take photos, rather than trying to prevent it like so many airports do today.  Not only that, but Zurich is actually a good airport to fly into or transit, run with the usual Swiss efficiency.     The photo below was taken during one of the organized photo tours, although even from the normal viewing decks, it is easy to get some great photos.

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and some faces from the harbour market in Helsinki, Finland……

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Where are the ‘experts’????

Thought for the day…”Don’t live the same year 90 times and call it a life”

“When life gives you a rainy day, play in the puddles”.

Computers have been around for a long time now, since the last century indeed.  Some of us grew up with them, starting with the famous Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the says of loading programs with tapes.   But despite computers having been around for decades, they still do not work as they should.  Why is it that there are still so many problems with things that by now should be simple, like logging into wifi??    Why do computers seem to have endless problems and need endless updates?   And where are the ‘experts’??   Surely by now they could have sorted out all the teething problems and have produced computers that do work without needing constant attention.     I would love to sit next to Bill Gates on a long flight and pass him my laptop and ask him to make it work properly.    It seems that the so-called ‘experts’ are not so expert.  How often have you heard the advice to restart the computer (ie. pull the plug out)??    And why have these ‘experts’ not managed to sort out the problems after all these years.  I just want a computer that works as it should and does not need constant attention.   Is that too much to ask???

Off to Norway for the photo today…and to the harbour port of Kristiansund, seen here on a beautiful summer’s day.

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and another photo from the archives…..fishermen returning home in Croatia….

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Some red faces somewhere…..a big error.

Thought for the day….”What the mind can concieve, it can achieve”

“You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind”

No doubt that there were some red faces at the Nabors Demolition company in Texas, USA.   They recently demolished the WRONG house, and have blamed Google maps for the error.   The house that they demolished was one block from the house that they should have knocked down.   Needless to say, the owners of the now-demolished house were none too happy, although the Nabors Demolition company  described it as ‘no big deal’.    The demolition company’s motto is ” We Could Wreck The World” certainly had a good try.   Apparently, Google maps has now amended the map to show the correct location of the house that should have been knocked down.   Some red faces somwhere??

People photos are always fascinating, so here is another one…fisherman in the park…Fuji X-E1 camera together with the Fuji 55-230mm lens.

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and another photo from the archives…Kandersteg in Switzerland….

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Addiction

Thought for the day….” Shadows cannot see themselves in the mirror of the sun”

“There are many ways of going forward but only one way of standing still”.

Addiction is the ‘persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance’.   I recently observed a group of foreign tourists come into a popular local cafe.   The father sat at a table and immediately whipped out his mobile phone, and asked his wife to find out the password for the internet.   Then once they had got the password (and some coffee), they spent the entire time heads down engrossed in their mobile phones.   No awareness of where there were or what was going on, apart from their mobile phones, which were the centre of their attention.    No conversation between them or their children, just the mobile phones.     There is even a medical term now for this, internet addiction disorder, also known as problematic internet use (PIU).  One of the factors not helping this is the fact that we are rarely out of contact now, with internet access almost everywhere.     Even when we go on holiday and sit on a beach or climb a mountain, we often still have internet coverage.  We are never really out of touch.  Traditionally, holidays were times when you DID leave the everyday behind.   Holidays were times when you were AWAY and where you were uncontactable.    But for many people now, just a few minutes out of contact can cause panic symptons.     And it is sad to see people sitting in cafes and restaurants concentrating on their mobile phones, not on those who are with them.    Technological advance or a backward step  ???

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And another photo from the archives…the Stockholm marathon….

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Out of the camera -JPEG photos

Thought for the day…”Dreams do not work unless you do”                 “Do not wish for it, work for it”.

One of the great bonuses of the Fuji X-E1 camera is that the photos straight out of the camera are so good, even in jpeg form.    Previously I would spend many hours with RAW files, adjusting and ‘developing’ the RAW image into finished JPEG photo, but now things are so much easier (and quicker).   The standard jpegs straight out of the camera are so good…..have a look at the 2 photos below.   Great colours, great sharpness and great contrast.  Not quite ‘point and shoot’  but certainly much faster and much easier than previous digital cameras.    And having been so impressed by the quality of the glass in the Fuji lenses, then another lens purchase might just be on the horizon..but will I be able to bring myself to pay the 2000 euros for the new zoom lens??????   Quality costs.

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and another photo from the archives…night train to Oslo from Trondheim….

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Jack of all trades, master of none

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

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score”

Just been watching some people using a drone to capture photos, something else that I would like to try.   Recently I was using TWO cameras at the same time, one for stills and one for video.    Had I had an action camera then I would have probably used that as well.    And there is an idea in my head to try underwater photography too, and the wonderful macro photos that I see in the magazines have fired my imagination too.     But I am wondering now if I should SPECIALIZE, instead of trying so many areas.     Video is a different matter, needing tripods, more editing and also a lot more preparation, no doubt drone photography and underwater would not be so easy either.     So the question is, should I just concentrate on getting good still photos with one camera.   Jack of all trades and master of none????

And some street colour from the Slovenian capital of Ljublana for the photo today….

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and another photo from the archives….before the storm, Longyearbyen, Svalbard Spitsbergen.

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Two sides of Oslo, Norway

Thought for the day….”Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it”

“Be nice to people on the way up because you will meet them again on the way down”

Today’s photo is of the Opera House in the Norwegian capital city of Oslo.  Opened in 2008, the shape is supposed to resemble an iceberg.   The cost was a staggering 4.1 billion NOK, or about USD 720 million.    A new public library is to be built nearby as well as several office blocks.  Despite the wealth, the streets nearby have many beggars and drug addicts, as well as rubbish and grafitti.   Even nearby the Opera House, there are parts of the city that are run-down and are dirty, a fact that often surprises visitors to Oslo.    It is known as the heroin capital of Europe, with 248 deaths from drugs in 2010.   Again, visitors are often surprised by how obvious drug use and drug dealing on the streets is, something which does not fit in with the image of clean, well-run Norway.     Reality is sometimes very different.

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and another photo from the archives…a dramatic sunrise in Pembroke, New Zealand.

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Lofoten Islands & Hurtigruten boats.

Thought for the day….” When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not with your brain”   (Mark Twain).

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”  (Thomas Edison).

Two photos from the Lofoten Islands in artic Norway…both with the Hurtigruten ships in them.  One of these boats leaves Bergen every day of the year for the 5.5 day journey up the coast all the way to Kirkenes, near the Russian border.    Lofoten Islands are about half way up Norway, at about 67 degrees north (so north of the Artic circle).  Fishing has been important here for over 1000 years, now tourism is also important during the very short summer season.   The islands have the midnight sun from 25th May until 17th July.    In the photos, the Hurtigruten boat ms Trollfjord passes another Hurtigruten boat,  ms Finnmarken.  Fuji X-E1 camera again, and the 18-55mm kit lens, a great combination.    As others have said, the Fuji X-E1 camera makes you want to take photos again.

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Rice terraces in China

Thought for the day…” Do not make excuses, make improvements”.

“Expecting and accepting are two sides of life.  Expecting can end in tears, but accepting will bring you cheers”.

A photo from the south west part of China for the photo today, from Yunnan province.   Around 45 million people live in this province, which borders Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.   The western part is mountainous, with the peaks reaching over 5000m.    Ethnic groups make up about 1/3 of the population, so local dialects and colourful local costumes are very much evident in the towns and markets here.    The hills in the west border the Tibet autonomous region, with deep valleys and hillside farming.   It is also very rich in minerals, so mining is very important, as is agriculture.    Seen here are some rich terraces not far from the border with Tibet.

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and another photo from Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands……

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Squeezed all ways

Thought for the day…”A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”.

” Those who do not learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them”.

I was sad to see that one of my favourite airlines, SWISS Airlines, is falling into the trap that some other airlines have already slipped into.    Swiss Airlines, who are normally very good, have announced details of their new cabin layout for the 777 W aircraft.    As one of those people who travel economy, I was sad to see that they are going to squeeze in 10 abreast economy seating (3+4+4).    Airlines such as Emirates had already done this, but now Swiss are going to as well.  Not only are economy class passengers squeezed for leg room, but now they are also going to be squeezed for shoulder space too.    Add to this the fact that Swiss (part of the Lufthansa group) also charge for selecting a seat in advance (25 euros approximately for each long haul flight), then the benefits of paying more for this airline disappear.    I have so far avoided airlines which squeeze 10 abreast seating on the 777, and it will certainly influence my choice of Swiss in future.   10 abreast is just not pleasant for a long haul flight, and a charge of about 25 euros to reserve a seat is just another nail in the coffin.

Two photos in black and white showing the city centre in Bergen, Norway.    As it was a dull day, then switching to BW was the answer..

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Colour at the top of Europe (almost).

Thought for the day…” A fool and his money are soon elected”   (Will Rogers)

“It is better to regret something you did, rather than something that you did NOT do”.

Work has taken me up to the top of Norway and the top of Europe, but I took some time off to get out and about with the camera.      Despite several very grey and dull days, a burst of sunshine made all the difference for a photo of these houses at Honningsvag, Norway.   Officially, to be classed as a city in Norway, a place has to have over 5000 people, but Honningsvag, poplulation about 2500, was exempted from this rule.   Fishing and tourism are the many industries here, with cruise ships visiting in summer to allow passengers to travel to the nearby Nordkapp.   The mean average temperature here is just +2 degrees, as it is at almost 71 degrees north.      Taken with the Fuji X-E1 camera and 18-55mm standard kit lens.

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and another photo from the archives….a serene scene from the Seychelles.

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Plastic or Paper? No choice in Rwanda.

Thought for the day…”Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

” Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

It is estimated that at least 1 TRILLION plastic bags are used each year, and that China alone uses more than 3 billion everyday (3 per person).     If you consider that it takes around 1000 years for a non-biodegradeable bag to completely disappear, then it is bad news for the environment.    The bad news goes further, many of these bags end up in the sea, creating even more problems.     One big surprise (but a good one) is that Rwanda banned plastic bags completely, no manufacturing, importing or selling of plastic bags.   And the results of this are VERY easy to see when you travel around the country.   The Rwandans decided that charging for plastic bags in shops was not an option, as the bags would still be dumped around the countryside, so there would still be a problem.   Medical use is one of the few exceptions in Rwanda.   The results of the plastic bag ban are very clear to see when you visit the country, is is surprisingly clean.    Rwanda also has a monthly community cleaning morning, called “Umuganda”.  This is compulsory for every citizen aged between 18 and 65 who is able to work.   On the last Saturday of every month, citizens carry out public works to clean and tidy the country.   Things like cutting hedges, mowing grass and clearing paths to keep the country clean and tidy.   Tourists often are surprised that Rwanda is so clean, and the frequently-heard comment is that Kigali is the cleanest capital that they have been in.   Some other cities around the world are following this idea of banning plastic bags, but the Rwandans have shown that it can be done and that it works.   Full marks to them !!!

Copenhagen for the photo today, and a cruise ship competes with apartment blocks for the views.

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and another photo from the archives…..Caribbean sunset in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia…..

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Handy new invention for photography

Thought for the day….” Learn to appreciate what you HAVE before time makes you appreciate what you HAD”

“To err is human, to arrrh is pirate”

The current craze of selfie photos is sure to get a boost with the latest invention, the arm selfie stick.   Instead of a basic pole or stick, users now have the chance of a friendly arm reaching out to them…just right for the photo…..

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I assume that you can purchase these from an armoury, or perhaps from a second-hand shop !!!  No ‘arm in asking though.

And for the photo today, Spring sunshine in Hankø, southern Norway.  Taken a few days ago, still quiet there before the summer rush in July.

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and another photo from the archives….a Cuban man ponders the future…..

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Disappearing down the corridor

Thought for the day…..” Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

” A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station”

No doubt there are many of us who will sympathise with the man from Colorado, USA who is being prosecuted for shooting his computer, which had gone wrong.   Probably anybody who has experienced Windows Vista or Windows 8 will especially sympathize with him.    Lucas Hinch, aged 37,  became so frustrated with his non-functioning computer that he took it outside and shot it 8 times.   A Colorado judge will decide his fate, although the computer is now definitely not working.    Revenge is sweet !!

Down the corridor for the photo today, something a little different with the camera…..and another triumph for the Fuji X-E1

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and another photo from the archives…..lakeside on Lake Malawi, Malawi…..

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Colourful Copenhagen

Thought for the day…” Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if you remember to turn on the light”.

” A negative mind will never give you a positive life”.

Today’s photo comes from the Danish capital, Copenhagen.   Around 474 islands make up Denmark, but there are also the islands of the Faroes and Greenland, which also belong to Denmark (although are autonomous).  The highest point in Denmark is only 170m (Mollehoj).   Some Danes joke that summer in Denmark is different to winter in Denmark because the rain is warmer.     And did you know that the fairy tale books from the author Hans Christian Anderson have been translated into more languages than any other author? And more Danish trivia….Walt Disney, after visiting the amusement park Tivoli in Copenhagen, gained the inspiration to start his own park, Disneyland?  The famous Sydney opera house was designed by a Danish architech too.   And that famous children’s toy, LEGO comes from the Danish words ‘leg gott’  which means ‘play well’.     As an estimated 320 BILLION Lego bricks have been sold then it works out that every human being in the world owns/has owned 56 Lego bricks.   According to the Lego website, it would take around 40 billion lego bricks to make a column tall enough to reach the moon.   Not made of lego bricks are these colourful buildings in the city centre of Copenhagen…..

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and another photo from the archives….arriving at Nadi, Fiji.  Early morning sunshine, but before it got too hot…..

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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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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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