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March 2009


By Arg, Rides No Comments

 crapsocksDropped the car off to the garage ths morning for it’s 12k service.

The guy called with a price…

it was big…


C R A P S O C K S !

Now We were expecting it to be about £200/300 and we had budgeted for £500 so tis was a bit of a shock. Ruth was upset when i called her – admitedly i was in shock too. That is a silly high figure.

So here i the list:

General Service charge: £155.62
Anti Freeze flush & replacment £32.80
Near side rear brake-hose £31.90
Near side Front Drop Link Ball joint £39.95
Tracking Alignment £26.38
Front Disc Brake Set £110.00
Front Disc Brake Pads £67.90
Front Wishbones £211.11
2 x Front Tyres £150.00
Rear Brake Pads £58.60

In actualfact the total came to £898ish because the mechanic had fporgotten to put someting on the lis hich attributed to the higher costing but as i spotted it he’s letting us off it.

I’ve dropped the tyres as they are within the legal limits and i did a bit of research to get some prioce comparrissons and as a result we now only have to pay around £716. But even that is still a huge amount. Dunno if the Robinsons will be goingon holiday to ireland this year after all… We will have to be faithful and hop that the Big Man provides!

The Fring – A Hijacked write-up

By Techie No Comments

The Fring

This article has been hi-jacked from : –  The article on that page did not have optimized images so the page was killing browsers accross the land. This article does not do that.


img1 - The FRING

This is a fibre-optic flash extension for your DSLR’s popup flash. Totally easy! Works great! Durable!

Designed specifically for K20D with 100 2.8 DFA lens but adaptable to other lenses (see Tamron Adaptall 90 2.5 example at the end.) Build your own!

Easy step-by-step Fring assembly instructions:

(Build and use at your OWN RISK. Don’t run with scissors. Pop-down flash before storing gear.)

Stuff  Needed

1. Go to your local dollar store (with $5 and probably a bit more for tax) and buy:


2. some balloons (black preferred)

Cable Ties

3. a bag of cable ties


4.  “groovy” fibre-optic novelty lights

toothpaste tube

5. Next, brush your teeth regularly and use up a 75 mL tube of toothpaste. Most tubes seem to be shiny inside (you need one that is shiny inside.)

6. Then go to your local bicycle shop and kindly ask for a scrap mountain bike inner-tube for a “craft” project. (Don’t try to explain – they will just give you confused looks.)

7. You need scissors and cellophane tape (other tape is likely also fine – I just had cello tape handy.)


  1. Start by taking two of the fibre-optic bundles out of their packages. Notice how there are different lengths of fibres.
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  3. For the Pentax DFA Macro 100 2.8 — the shortest fibres are too short to be useful. Tightly bind the other fibres with small cable ties.
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  5. Holding the fibre bundle tightly, cut off the plastic plugs at the ends of the bundles.
  6. Fan the bundle out and shake over a garbage can to remove the shortest fibres (too short for the DFA 100 Macro – may be fine to keep with a different lens.)
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  8. With the DFA Macro 100 2.8, the distance from the outer edge of the lens hood to the camera body – does not change during focusing. The hood does not rotate during focusing either. Both of these facts make this build a bit easier. I have suggestions for different lenses at the end of these instructions.
  9. Remove the Hood of the DFA Macro 100 2.8 (or other lens.) Cut a section of baloon to stretch over the hood (provides grip for the fibres.)
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  11. Stretch the balloon over the hood (you may want to roll it up and then roll it down – prophylactic style.)
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  13. Cut two more sections of balloon to have ready.
  14. Put the hood on the lens and the lens on the body.
  15. With the Pentax DFA 100, you will have no problem putting the base of the fibre bundle up against the pop-up flash – while fanning the ends of the fibres around the end of the hood. Try to fill in gaps. We will deal with the thinness of the fibre at the bottom of the lens later on.
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  17. Use a section of balloon to anchor the fanned-out fibres around the lens hood. (Roll it up from below.)
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  19. Using the grip provided by the outer and inner balloon ring – gently reposition fibres as needed. Perfection is not required and there may be a gap at the bottom of the hood. Fibres can cross over, it doesn’t matter. Live with some chaos. Don’t get hung-up on this part.
  20. Tape down the fibres along the edge of the balloon ring – with one layer of cello tape.
  21. Trim off excess fringe around the hood. Trim so fibres are flush with outer edge of hood. Put hood back on lens.
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  23. Get your last fresh fibre-optic bundle. Cable-tie the tip so that the longest fibres are kept.
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  25. Cut plastic plug off other end of bundle. Shake in garbage can to remove other fibres.
  26. We are going to use these long fibres to improve the coverage at the bottom of the hood (where there may be a small gap.)
  27. Fan out extra fibres at bottom of hood, align end of bundle with main bundle (ending at the pop-up flash.)
  28. Repeat rubber banding, taping, and trimming of these extra fibres.
  29. Cable-tie the new bundle to the old bundle. Remove old cable ties on original bundle. Merge fibres and re-tie. It should look like this:
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  31. The way it is now, it can sort-of work, but there will be stray light.
  32. Wash and clean your empty tooth-paste tube and bicycle inner-tube.
  33. Cut a section of toothpaste tube to extend from behind the flash to the beginning of the fanned-out fibres.
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  35. The reflective surface inside the tube directs the light into the fibres. A gentle curl of tube over and under the pop-up flash will hold it nicely in place.
  36. So that other photographers won’t laugh at you in the playground, finish “dressing” the Fring. Start by cutting a section of inner-tube that matches the toothpaste tube.
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  38. Fit toothpaste tube inside matching inner-tube cover. Fit over the main fibre bundle.
  39. Optional. Put a stitch right through the inner-tube and tooth paste tube covering, and the main bundle. This will prevent the covering from slipping off when you remove the lens hood. Stitch between the fanned-out part at the base of the hood and the cable ties holding the main bundle together.
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  41. Put lens hood back on. Gently curl the covering of the toothpaste tube and the inner-tube over and under the flash.
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  43. Stretch a section of (preferably black) balloon over the lens hood. You’re finished!
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  45. The focus ring should move freely. You can still reach the focus lock. If you want to use the flash without the Fring, just put the hood on with the fring bundle at the bottom and your pop-up flash will be unobstructed. Or buy a second hood (but that will blow the $5 budget.)
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You can modify this plan to work on other lenses. Here is a modified version for a classic Tamron Adaptall 90mm f2.5 with the 2x converter. The end of this lens does not rotate when focusing.


– bundle only the longest and second-longest fibres


– longest go to bottom left and right, second-longest to top left and right.


-instead of a toothpaste tube, use a more shiny and longer tube (or for greater precision, aluminized cardboard open-ended rectangular prism) – made from lid of take-out container.

– cover reflective tube with inner tube, leaving a “hood” to put over the pop-up flash.

– insert main fibre bundle into the reflective inner tube

– as you focus the lens, the fibre bundle slides inside the tube (with the Pentax 100 DFA – sliding isn’t necessary as the length of the lens doesn’t change when focused.)

I haven’t tried this – but if you are using a regular 50mm and close-up filters, or if you are using a macro lens with a lens-hood that turns during focus you could try this modification:

– use the same plan shown in step 34

– smash the glass out of an old polarizer filter (with the rotating double ring)

– thread the filter ring on your lens, put your hood on the ring, and your hood should be able to rotate as you focus (I expect you would need to do gentle manual focusing.)

– or make a contraption that allows an arm to extend below from the tripod thread and/or above from the hot-shoe to support a floating ring around the end of your lens

If the movement of the focus ring is impeded by the fibres of the Fring — build up a wider rim on your lens hood so that the fibres are further away from the barrel of the lens.

Here are some sample shots from the Classic TAMRON 90mm 2.5 lens (and the 2X dedicated converter) using the Fring:

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Nice even lighting. Above images are not cropped. This is a great lens (just manual focus and a bit heavy compared to the Pentax I replaced it with.) Here’s a cropped close-up of the fly picture:


Here is a small gallery of shots from the Pentax DFA Macro 100 2.8. Unless stated, no cropping has been done. Flash used in “P” mode at 200ASA equivalent setting. Hand-held (waiting for my macro rail to arrive – then will try focus-stacking.) At first glance, I think I may have had better resolution with the Tamron 90… aargh…

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Sample Images from Pentax SMC DFA 100mm 2.8 Using the Fring in the Shade

This how-to is dedicated to all the other poor souls with good intentions and too much time on their hands who have created similar DIY’s on the internet. (Many thanks to the guy who showed me how to rewire my old SF1 cable-release to work on my K20D, and to all the people sharing DIY digital projector projects. Thanks in advance to all of the people posting their macro-photography techniques — which I am looking forward to learning from.) I don’t claim that any of the ideas here are particularly original. I do think that this design is a good low-tech and low-cost macro flash solution that almost anyone can build without special tools beyond a pair of scissors. I particularly liked a brilliant “origami” cardboard ring-flash that I saw somewhere on the net. I made a more primitive version of it that worked – but was too bulky and fragile to store in my gadget bag. I think the designs on this page should have very good durability and are quite ‘crush-proof.’ This page was completed on 11 August 2008. Eventually, someone will probably make a commercial version of this plan – but I think I’ll stick with this $5 solution. This page is slow-to-load because it is one big page — I’m more interested in improving my photography than I am in improving my web-design. Hope it was worth the wait while it loaded.

work – floor – slamming

By WooYaa, Work No Comments

Work – This week has been intense! On [intlink id=”1444″ type=”post”]Paddy’s day[/intlink] I had BAA in to review an edit. The job in question had started out quite sternly as my bosses were originally managing it but now the job is mine and it’s all going smoothly. I think the client was pleasantly surprised to see how far along it is and that my suggestions on editorial changes made sense. There’s stll alot to do but it’s all good and its progressing well.

On Wed morning I had a meeting with some people at BTP (i know you are prolly wondering who they are but i am not sure if i should be stating more than the abbreviated names for confidentiality reasons). They asked us to come in for a briefing meeting and i was the lucky one to go give them our pitch which they seemed to have loved so far. Looks like next week will be another silly busy weel as a result. I then had to jump on a train to go back to Hemel to continue the finishing touches to a job we were doing for Vanderlande. The plan for the eve was to get a train back to london and tube it back to acton but i was worried about having to work really late and so i asked wifey if she’d be up for picking me up from Hemel. She was very very brave and did her first solo motorway drive and i was very proud of her. When she arrived we got a kebab and i finished up what i could then we left the office at 11:00pm.I could have just taken the camera car home but because i had the car booked in for a service in the morning i needed ruth to collect me so i could drive our car to hemel in the morning.

Friday morning had me up at 6:20am in order to get to the office to receive any later given comments from the client. At about 8:30 i went to drop the car off to the garage. When i got there they had no record of my booking!!! grrrrr! So the whole rigmarole of the previous night ended up being un-needed but it was good for Ruth to do it. The plan for the rest of this day was to upload the final versions of the programme to the web for the client and go home early. I didn’t leave till about 6pm and when i left i left the mac on uploading a couple of files and i brought home the macbook in order to upload some others from here. We did have a nice eve though. We had Dan and Suzie over for dinner. We had a really nice eve with them and ate CHILLI MMMMMM 17288

floor – Yesterday ruth and i went down to Henley with my folks. The plan was that my dad and I were going to put down the flooring for their caravan’s awning. (Rough muddy ground) + (odd bits of wood) – (appropriate tools) = a fun afternoon with my dad! It was actually all right. We had a good time doing it and we worked well together but it was knackering. I was glad to come home

slamming – We came home and i watched Ireland win the GRAND SLAM. That really was a great game of rugby. While wales were the favourites it was great to see Ireland finally pull it together for a victorious finale. Rock on IRELAND!

Tee’s – some of the best t-shirt sites out there

By Blog No Comments

Some really excellent tee-shirt sites – if you wanna buy me tshirts – these are where to begin:

Sack Wear


Yes No Maybe


A Better Tomorrow


Une boutique de T-shirts colorés qui met l’accent sur les visuels.


Turn Noctural




Assault Shirts


Snorg Tees


Here Itself


Wire & Twine


Tshirt HellWarning this is an extremeley offensive website wit Tshirts that are designed to offend. Why am i featuring it – Because even though its offensive there are spme that are down right funny. Only enter this site if you aren’t easily offended.

images thanks to fubiz

Paddys Day Woot

By WooYaa One Comment


And here is another Paddy’s day yet again. I have stuff on tonight which means celebrating today wont exactly be hugely fruitful. We may be going over to see my folks later this eve but we will see. The last few years have been difficult a i haven’t had the urge to celebrate it as much. It’s hard t celebrate your countries patron saint when you live in a different country…unless you live in New York.

As a christian its interesting looking at today. Christianity swarmed the globe when it started to spread. Ireland was a pagan country ruled by various different kingsman ships. The gods of that time were all about “do this & that or else!”. It’s sad to see that Christianity and Catholicism, especially in an Irish context have been twisted over the century’s to hold a similar stance in some points.

When St Pat returned to Ireland as a Bishop it was to spread the word of God because the message was and still is an amazing message of truth, freedom and love. It wasn’t a mission of oppression and taking over. It really is so sad that so many just don’t get it and have misunderstood it so much.

I’ve been reading DUBLIN by Edward Rutherfurd which hasbeen great. Its not supposed to be a fully  accurate historical account but the basics are there and its been a great read so far. Its making me remember my heritage and history. While the writing is ok, I wouldnt read another of his books in a hurry, i’m in it for the content.

This was my entry backin 2006 on Paddys day.

Have some random images from flickr related to St Pat.

St. PatrickSt.Patrick´s statue in some irish gardenColumns2008 Manhattan, Illinois Irish FestChinese Marching BandParadeTruckSt. Patrick´s day pepperoni pizzacrossTemple BarGuinness MascotHappy St. Patrick´s Day!Shamrock2008 Manhattan, Illinois Irish FestIrish WolfhoundGo Irish! Go Green!budweiser clydesdalesDia de San PatricioSkating, St Margaret´s Loch

Pooter demise…

By Sad No Comments

It seems that this week my PC at home has finally given up the ghost. This is the machine that served as my main work/edit machine during my freelancing days. This machine has been a real work horse. Its been amazing. Its been abused. I am sad. For the cost of it (i built if for bout £950) it was a very very powerful machine….

pooter demise

pooter demise

During the week we turned it on and it has just refused to boot. I brought a proper monitor home to see what was going on and then y’day spent half the morning taking the thing apart to clean it all out but when i put it all back together i started getting a graphics error beep.

Without being sure i dont wanna ago and buy a new graphics card so it may be the end of it. I am going to ask a guy at work who is a super brain on such things to see if he’ll tak a look at it.

The reality of the situation is that a laptop woould suite us much better. It is the way technology is going. we dont wanna end up buying a lead ballon though

We will see what happens. In the mean time i will be using the laptop from work.

What the Robinsons have been watching

By Blog, Film No Comments

Watchmen - Movie

Watchmen - Movie

Watchmen – We went to see this l night an it was very very good. Despite not having read the graphic novel i still really enjoyed it.

Reviews had said it i a complicated story in a “Twin Peaks” sort of way. While it was certainly not your run-of-the-mill superheroes story it was incredibly dark and more complex than your usual batman/spiderman story.

One of the things i loved about it was some of the accurate violence. while it was intensely violent some of the scenes were “super-hero” over the top but others were very raw nd real.  This film isn’t afraid to show bones breaking and piercing skin.

I loved how the Dr Manhattan’s use of tele-kenisis was effortless. There was no strain – just an understanding of the laws governing matter and an ability to manipulate that. a step up from Peter Patrellies forced effort to move objects of size-able mass.

All the characters were really strong and well played. It was a 2 hour film where i didnt get bored in the last 45mins. All in all-  a surprisingly brilliant film.

Go see it but know that there is very VERY graphic violence


Jack: 24 - Season 7

Jack: 24 - Season 7

24 – Season 7 – Firstly i need to pay due respects to my wifey type person who, up until lat august had never watched 24 at all. She has managed to watch all of seasons 1-6 since then. We have just recently started watching season 7.

Actually – we watched Redemption first. I thought that was a bit…..wet. Now I dont wanna give away spoilers so forgive me if i’m vague here.

Generally I’m feeling really let down. The best word i can give to season 7, especially when you compare it to previous seasons, is: DULL! . It jus doesn’t have the same edginess and Jack instead of being our Hero feels like a bit of a loser to be honest. I think its down to the idea that he seems to be so far gone from being in touch with humanity.

It is still worth watchin just t see who’s back and in what context – yadda  yadda but be prepared to be disappointed.


Lost Season 4

Lost Season 4

Lost – Season 4: We hae a lovefilm account and this was on our list. I think we put it thee out of interest but not a keen desire to see it. Lost had become such a ridiculous series where the random and obscure just became too much. As a result i wasnt expecting too much from this.

BUT……I’m loving it! It seems the writers have learnt their lesson and have come round to the fact that too much randomness IS a bad thing. It has picked up nicely and the new developments blend themselves well in beginning to explain the complexities of the previous seasons’ random occurrences.

I would even say to those who got fed up with it and gave up – give it another go.

So far so good

Go watch it.


Heroes Season 3

Heroes Season 3

Heroes -Season 3: Thanks to the joys of BBC iplayer we have been able to keep up with Heroes.

Its still good fun but am waiting to see what develops with plot.

I want i to be good. I  am remembering back t that evening a few years ago when i  first watched it online and i watched 6 episodes back to back – got to bed at 5am.

Because of that initial realisation of amazingness i think i’ll always be a fan.




ER – Last Series: Ruth has always been of ER – i think any woman is. Any show thats responsible for delivering a heart-throb will always end up lovin said show.

Anyway – i have always been fond of it but i was never one to run home for it – mind you, these days that concept is almost extinct.

Anyway, again, this lt series has been really great. It was good seeing Mark Green appear earlier in the series as a taster.Can yo believe it has been going since 1994 with a remarkable 14 Seasons! – 14

minority report, a step closer…

By Techie No Comments

This is absolutely amazing! They are calling it a sixth sense i like to call it gesticular reaction. – You can make up your own term for it but mine will always be funnier.

This really is a step into the future – providing the recession doesn’t force us all into cannibalism.

1 down 60 to go…i hope

By Family, WooYaa No Comments

That is 1 year of marriage.

Yesterday was our first anniversary.  Wow that’s another year that has flown by.  Having an anniversary as well is like having another benchmark for time. I usually have a good think about the past year on my birthday. I look at what i have achieved and what i have not. I think about what i wanna do better and what i did really well. Now i have anniversaries where i’m inclined to do the same thing.


So how’s it been? ………. AMAZING!

Being married is one of the best things. I cant believe people out there who things its bad. Ok fair enough we have on,ly been married a year but we have still had our trials and tribulations during that time and we have learnt alot about each other and about being married.

I have loved being married cause my wifey is the most amazing woman i have ever met. I love her dearly. I do really hope to have at least another 60 of these celebrations.

What did we do? Well on Sat we went to Oxford for the day. We went to a castle and wondered then went to dinner in the eve. it was really wonderful.

The cross in the road is “the cross in broad street” in Oxford town center.Between 1555 & 1556 three protestant bishops were burnt at the stake because they refused to become catholic. This is not a bash at catholicism. What is remarkable is that these men stood up for their faith and beliefs so strongly and wit such integrity that it cost them their lives. – That is amazing. It blows my mind.


By Work No Comments

I was thinking about my workspace bein tidy as we hada major clean up last week. my desk wight now is a bit of a mess- as usual! But then it struck me that i have alot of monitors on the go here. Is this too many monitors or is this ok?

my desk at work

my desk at work

driving school

By Rides No Comments

Yesterday i attended Naught Boy’s Driving School aka a speed awareness course. I was caught by a camera doing 38 in a 40 zone. I thought it wasa 40 zone and i remember seeing he van parked up. It doesn’t matter as i was an idiot not realising it was a 30zone in the first place.

(img source)

As a result i am now NOT the stig but a safer driver. The course was informative and fair. Some of the people on it were  determined to prove their innocence notably a woman driving an M5 BMW and a bloke who drove an Alpha Romeo Brera – no surprises thee then.

We had a 3 hour theory session in a board room with 2 guys giving the presentation and about 20 of us who had been speedsters. That part  was painful. The presentation was great but arguing with them as to the definition of a cross-roads didnt help th mood. Yup it was Mrs. M5Driver.

The practical session was cool. We Had an Irish guy so off the bat it was a good tempered event. He observed our driving habits and commented on the bad bits then showed us how its done following it up with us applying his pointers.

All in all – it was quite good actually.

Must Have WordPress Plugins

By WordPress No Comments

unpluggedI thoght i’d write up a post on my favorite plugins. I consider most of them to be must-haves but then I use the site i run in my own way where as others may use their sites in a differnet way.

Writing Tools

Media Tools

Making things easy Backend


General useful tools

Mobile / Email Blogging

Helpful Tools