Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Wetland Centre: peace in West London

Surprising how much you can feel you have got away from it all if you visit the Wetland Centre in Barnes just before it closes (at 6pm). We hardly saw another visitor. It was just us and the birds (OK, and the odd plane on its way to Heathrow).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic cyclists in Richmond Park

It was quick, free, and there was a great atmosphere. The police motorbike riders got plenty of cheers as they came along ahead of the cyclists - and entered into the spirit by bowing, waving etc.

It was a great 'morning after' (the opening ceremony) outing. But I couldn't say who was in the lead, or even who was cycling. Somehow that didn't matter.

You could always watch it on TV later if you were interested in that sort of thing. The rumour was that they had to go up and down Box Hill nine times after this. By the time they were there, most of us were having a nice cup of coffee back home.

See also: Olympic torch floats past Barnes

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic torch floats past Barnes

It was the biggest thing to happen in Barnes and Mortlake since, well, the last flotilla. And that was only in June, for the Jubilee.

You can wait centuries for a flotilla, and then two of them come along at once.

Yesterday the torch was at the BBC in White City with Brucie, and sunshine!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Inside Television Centre

The BBC is selling Television Centre, but part of it will be leased back to the Corporation. Programmes will continue to be made, but there will also be other companies working on the site.

Here are a few pictures I took recently on my own errands around TC (as we called it) - to record its closing BBC-owned days. It looks pretty weird and gloomy. But it's a place to get things done, even if it is a bit Kafkaesque when you stop and look.

Welcome to TC, through the Frithville Gardens entrance (above).

Inside the donut.

Temporary tape storage (above), for Current Ops (below). This is where you take your finished programme to get it "into the system". Once there, if all the paperwork has been done right, it should get transmitted at the appointed hour. 

This button looks as though it would work, but the escalator hasn't for years. 

Goodbye, and back out to Frithville Gardens. 

I've got more pics of the deepest recesses of Television Centre here

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Barnes Fair - rather unfair

It would be nice to say that 'wet weather didn't dampen the spirits...', but probably not true. It didn't stop people turning up though, and comparisons with Glastonbury were heard more than once. The highlight for me was the excellent jazz band in the churchyard. Not loud enough to wake the dead but good enough to cheer them up perhaps.

Friday, July 13, 2012

My news feeds on Twitter

I started with six Twitter accounts about tech companies I wanted to keep tabs on:

Apple News: @ap_today
Amazon News: @az_today
Facebook News: @fb_today
Google News: @gg_today
Twitter News: @tw_today
Microsoft News: @ms_today

This is what they used to look like:

After a bit of a redesign, this is what they look like now:

The new design is a relaunch of an experiment I began more than a year ago. Here, in reverse chronological order, are a few things I've written about what I've been up to: 

- Setting up local Twitter accounts, more promising than tech feeds? (5 June 2012)

- First year of the six tech accounts, with less than spectacular results (13 May 2012)

- Growth of my Twitter empire, a report seven weeks into the experiment (9 July 2011)

- First signs of slowing growth, three weeks in (17 June 2011)

- The experiment explained, a few days in (31 May 2011)


I've been playing with the logos and design, and have a new style that makes them a different shape from the default Twitter square with rounded edges. Now they look like this: 

Next job is to improve the feeds, so what the accounts actually tweet will be more worth having. 

LATEST UPDATE (Sept 2nd 2012): 

I use Twitterfeed to create the tweets, but am changing from an RSS from Yahoo News, to one from Google News. I have a feeling it produces more and better results. So far, I have made the change on the Amazon, Twitter and Google accounts, but will gradually get round to doing them all. For instance, the Google News RSS is this: 


If you paste that into your browser, you can see the various 'ands' and 'ors' I have selected. It's a pretty arbitrary choice, but I think the results are pretty good.

I'm monitoring the effects on follower numbers. The redesign didn't seem to do much, but the improved feed shows signs of increasing numbers.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Through Tolstoy's eyes

Some of the most beautiful colour pictures you'll ever see were taken by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, who developed colour photography. 

They were mostly taken in Russia over 100 years ago, though to look at them, you might think it was yesterday - apart from the clothes of course. If you look at the some of the pictures of peasants, it's almost as if Tolstoy had a camera.

There are also nice pictures of Italy and other European countries. 

I tried to find a book of his pictures, but they all seem to be out of print. 

There's a collection of some of the best on Flickr too (below): 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Does Tesco think we're stupid?

I really have nothing against Tesco. The people who deliver our online food shopping are cheerful beyond the call of duty.

But I'm not so keen on the 'offers' on the website. I mean, look at this:

Yes, the "Price Drop" brings the four tins of tuna down to the same price as the individual tins (above). But only if you buy them before July 3rd.

After that, you'll be giving Tesco an extra £2.99 for the privilege of buying four of them wrapped in a plastic wrapper with the words "Bigger Value" on it.

They didn't take any notice of my previous offering on this kind of thing either...