Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sarah's father is in hospital tonight - in intensive care. Too many
hospital visits this year.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, March 18, 2013

Decent work by the director couldn't overcome a pedestrian script. 4 out 10.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, March 11, 2013

I like them,.honest I do :-)
http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21699305

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, March 02, 2013

This might be the most attractive Wetherpoons in the country. Some are
dire indeed: the George is Croydon is utterly dreadful. The Opera House
in Tonbridge Wells though is on a different class and preserves a
magnificent interior. The equivalent in Croydon was torn down years
ago. Very sad. We lost so much heritage in the 60s and 80s.

We are sat up on the stage.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, December 08, 2012

I moaned about my HTC HD7 the whole time I had it.  But it served me faithfully for two years until I sold it six weeks ago. And the software did get much better over time.  I think the problem was that Microsoft shipped Windows 7 for phones about a year too soon. 

I was replaced by a Galaxy S2 Android phone.  That was sat beside the bed this evening and died.  Not a chirp even when plugged in.  The main faults with the Windows phone were having to have a Live account to do anything.  Same with Android I suppose but I have a Google account so that made more sense.  An Android phone is also great with all the apps.

But Android phones are poor at being phones.  So if I end up replacing the S2 - and I suspect I will - then I think I will be back to a Windows Phone.

PS In the meantime I am back on my Motorola V66e

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, August 02, 2012

I have no home phone until 10th August.  Who is my home phone with?  O2.  Is such a delay acceptable?  No way.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, July 31, 2012

So a BT engineer was working in the block's line cabinet today.  This evening my phone has died and my broadband is now running at a fraction of the speed.  Coincidence?

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kate Phizackerley, July 2012
Me again.  It was taken by Sarah Preece who was trying out her new Nikon D5100.  I was just there as something to take - so not at my best at all, but hey, it has a certain naturalness to it.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, June 21, 2012


I don't often upload photos to this blog but I thought this one I took in Bushy Park today is quite colourful to brighten up the page. A foxglove obviously.  Taken on the little point and shoot in manual mode.  It's a slow lens so it's not possible to blur out the background but it has a manual mode so I slightly under-exposed it to capture the foreground but keep the background quite dark.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, June 08, 2012

For the first time in ages I've no backlog in Google Reader and my email is mostly up to date too. Yay

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, May 20, 2012

Over the past couple of weeks I have picked up two lenses for the camera -  both second hand.  One was very cheap and the other an OKish price.  The truth is I don't really need both and if I keep one I ought to sell a lens I already have.

The cheap one, and the first acquisition was a big Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 shown on the right.  The second was a 30mm fl1.4 prime shown below.  I'd not got any other Sigma lenses.  The only one I had I gave to my brother.  I am not a huge fan of Sigma lenses and they can be hard to sell second hand.  Ordinarilly I wouldn't touch these two but they are EX lenses - that's Sigma better lenses.  So why two lenses? Well the thing it is is not clear which one is best for me and in some ways the easiest is to own both for a time and then sell whichever doesn't work out. I should be able to make a profit if I sell the 24-70 and maybe a small loss if I sell the 30mm.   

They have different virtues.  The 24-70mm as a zoom is very flexible but it is big and heavy, really quite heavy.  It's not a lens to take on holiday.  In contrast the 30mm is much lighter, although as a durable, metal-cased lens its not as light as some of the cheap plastic ones.  As a prime it is, of course, less flexible because it doesn't zoom.  It sits within the range of the 24-70mm so is somewhat redundant.  Apart from the fact that it is light enough to take on holiday (it will be coming to Spain with me soon I think) and it is fast.  Fast in that it is f1.4 so it can be used in very dark places without a flash and I take a lot of photographs in museums so I need something fast - or something with VR.  (Something fast and with VR would be ideal but that is not something which yet exists in a wide-angle lens and, even if one is produced, it would probably be unaffordable.) 

The 24-70 is also a decent option for macros and I didn't have a good macro lens.  The 30mm might not be too bad either.

Both get mixed bad reviews.  Many people love them but Sigma quality control doesn't seem to be great at all so there are also a lot of poor copies floating around out there and the danger of buying second hand is that one might pick up one of those.  They will need trying out - and hopefully we will get some good weather over the next week or so to enable that.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, April 12, 2012

Now I have broadband I got the TV on the Internet.  It's a brilliant idea.  iPlayer is just an extra TV channel - just browse to the programme you want and press play and it just does it.  Properly television on demand.

If anybody is thinking about doing it you don't need anything other than standard broadband (preferably without a monthly bandwidth limit if you are likely to watch quite a bit) and a network ready TV.  I have a Sony I got some time ago.  There is no need to have a wifi module in the TV and certainly don't spend on an expensive proprieatary wifi dongle.  The Sony one is about £70.  Better to wire it directly over Ethernet.  If it won't reach use a pair of powerline adapters - you can get them for about £50 for a pair if you hunt.  Better still is to go for a Vonets WIFI bridge as I did for a much cheaper £15.  It's a great find. 

Tomorrow I need to get back to work. I have an article to sort out for Egyptological, a book to read and review and Andrea and I have started work on the business planning for our new company.  When we met yesterday we agreed the design concept for the new corporate web site - simple, modern and clean. 

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, April 09, 2012

Great song - terrible miming.  TOTP is missed.


Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, April 05, 2012

Sarah is staying with me again - a good time as one should do things and relax over Easter weekend.  The one thing is: there isn't that much to actually do.  Events listings turned up all sorts of "egg hunts" but not much else.  The weather is supposed to be rotten on Saturday so we will watch the boat race on TV - or I will. 

Weather is a problem.  The good weather days seem to be Friday and Sunday.  I wanted to go to communion on Sunday but I am not sure it will fit in - maybe evensong.  I will have a look.  I don't go often, but Easter Sunday is a special day.

We will probably go down to Brighton one day and to Richmond Park another, but otherwise not do much.  Get the flat straight and Sarah wants to bake.  That is good as it gives me all sorts of tasty morsels.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nice in the sun today.


Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I took the photos for this back in 2006 and have only just got around to stitching them into a panorama.  It hasn't merged perfectlt but it is good enough.  There is a larger one on Flickr.

It's the West Lake in Hangzhou, China, looking into Hangzhou itself.  Too wide to take in any other way.  The West Lake is very famous, the "Willow Pattern" I think is idealised images of the West Lake.  I do have more of the lake which one day I will get uploaded.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, March 02, 2012


I had forgotten how good some of the old 10CC tracks are.  Odd.  But good.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, March 02, 2012

Many of you will have alrready read it but for those who haven't, Andrea and I published our latest edition of Egyptological, our free online magazine about Ancient Egypt.  This is far and away our biggest and best edition.  For those who are not aware, a new tomb was found in the Valley of the Kings in January.  It's not one which will compare with Tutankhamun.  It is just a pit so it will never be a tourist attraction. The walls are plain.  One burial (unless it is robbed - we don't yet know) sits buried and smashed beneath rubble.  Above it is a plan burial.  I say plain - it is an elite burial all the same, properly mummified and in a wooden coffin, but that coffin is plain on the outside.  The only obvious grave good(s) is one small stella (stone slab).  The tomb is not decorated.

It is not what one thinks of as a tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.  It is even more unusual when one considers that the lady was not a member of the royal family, so far as is known at present.  That makes her the first lady outside the royal family whose tomb has been found in the Valley of the Kings.  That's pretty select.  Location, location, location and all that.  Her name is Nehemes Bastet and as usual the best spot to learn more is on News from the Valley of the Kings in the KV64 tag.  KV64 is the number assigned to the tomb.

Elsewhere I have been trying to get a mid-size upgrade done to one of my WordPress plugins.  It's called Taxonomy Picker and is the only one I have published so far.  The number of downloads is modest at about 5,000 but I hope that will grow because it is getting good ratings.  I need to start marketing it.  Now I know it sounds odd to market something I give away (it is open source) but I have plans ... That is a part of the present upgrade to move towards a lite and premium version so that I can charge for the latter.

So, I'm busy which is why it has been quiet around here!

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, February 10, 2012

All week I've had weirdo's coming up to me. Most have been abusive and intimidating. Today's weirdo was at least polite asking how I had grown so tall and slim since he last saw me ... which was never.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sunday Times suggests Jeffrey John is threatening to take legal action against the Church of England for discrimination.  John is a gay clergyman in a celibate relationship who has allegedly been blocked from promotional to the bishopric.

I am straight and as a Christian struggle with some gay rights but in this case I hope he does bring a case and succeeds.  It is right for the church to demand moral conduct according to its teachings.  It is thoroughly wrong both morally and legally to discriminate against someone because of how they were born. Should black bishops not be allowed?  John is celibate.

And yes, the same argument applies to women bishops. If John wins then presumably women bishops and lady Imams are inevitable.  At last religious institutions could be forced to stop discrimination. That's not secularism as some would claim but actually a flowering of greater spirituality.

For all religious people I hope John does mount a legal attack and is successful. It would take religion in this country to the next level.

I shall pray for his success not for gay rights but because it advances religious life.

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