Sunday, 31 August 2008

Winner Not Announced

The non-caption competition ended (and cunningly, it also advertised Cameron's article to a few more people), and in order of what I find the funniest, the top 3 captions to the photo across here:

1. "I'm only just rehearsing for when I get my knighthood"

2. "Hmm. No, not eye-catching enough. Maybe some day-glo orange stripes...."

3. "B*gger! I'm not in Scotland now. And here come the rozzers"

Congratulations Roger. If you wish to drop me your snailmail address, my contact email is in a graphic in the sidebar.

Nokia 6220 Classic Menu

Software listing. Having followed the advice from SymbianGuru's 3-part article, I arranged software into various folders, and then re-arranged them on the screen of easy access. However, when I copied the supplied 1 gig SDHC on to the newly arrived (from 4 gig SDHC, some of the programs installed on the card refused to swap over. So this list is really for my benefit as I'll now have to go and re-install the files.


Search. Download. Web. Share Online. WidSets. My Nokia. Music Store. Opera Mini. Spodtronic


My Own (Empty). Recorder. Camera. Games (Marble). Translation ( Italian, Spanish, German, French). PanoMan. ScrnSnapS60. Location Tagger. CellSpin.


Maps. GoogleMaps. GPS Data. Landmarks. Sports Tracker.


Converter. Calendar. Quickoffice. Calculator. Active Notes. Dictionary. Adobe PDF. Notes. WorldMate. Enhanced Calculator.


Podcasting. Radio. RealPlayer. Msg Reader. Nokia Audiobook Player.


Help (Tutorial. Welcome. Help). Archive (Print Online. PTT). Y-Browser. Log.


Sett Wizard. Profiles. Voice Comm. Themes. Phone Sett. Connectivity. Speed Dial. Data Mgr. Speech. Call mailbox. Conn Mgr.

6220 Menu

I like the phone, and think I might actually buy the Opera browser when the trial period ends. Unless FireFox port a version to the S60 Symbian language before then. I was out with relatives last night, and used the BBC Sports live feed to keep them informed of the Andy Murray tennis match. It was gibberish to me, but meant something to them. Until a cousin found there was a 5 minute delay in the report, and got round it by nipping to the pub next-door to the restaurant. Sneaker-net is alive and well.

And finally, I switched the camera's location detector off on Wednesday, even though I had left it with only the option of picking up the location of the phone from the network rather than the battery-draining GPS system. By Saturday night, I was down to 3 bars of energy (from 7), despite 'normal' usage plus Internet. A more reasonable battery life than I had experience on Monday and Tuesday. Signal strength has been good, far better than the returned Sony Ericsson c902.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

First Tai chi lesson

I finished off the work day with a tai chi lesson in the works gym. My first ever, Also the first time in my 10 or so years that i've been go this gym. Time flew by and i enjoyed it. I don't know if i will be able to remember all the stages of the 'form' that we're being taught, but i'm keen to give it a go.

Now back to the mundane matter of replumbing the washing machine and getting the messages.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A veritable goldmine

The US Geological Survey is scanning and posting some of their old photos. It might not sound exciting, but …

Even the opening page has a photo of Main street in Cheyenne. Laramie County, Wyoming. 1869.

The section on pioneer photographers lists some of the expeditions, not only photographing landscape features, but locals too. E.g., Apache Lake in 1873, with 2 Apache scouts in the foreground (I love the look on their faces):,%20%203

Use of a tarp in 1868

Devil's Den, Gettysburg

Fort Ruby, Nevada

I picked up this site from the Goat's newsfeed. Thanks.

No doubt there are more hidden gems in there, but I must get on with some paperwork.

cellspin2 test

I am sending this via cellspin.A couple of carriage returns and i might get a blank line. As it is text only, i can't append a photo, but vince posted to say i can cancel posts and send them when i get a signal later. Needs some more exploring.

test via cellspin

I am sending this via cellspin.A couple of carriage returns and i might get a blank line. As it is text only, i can't append a photo, but vince posted to say i can cancel posts and send them when i get a signal later. Needs some more exploring.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

This is not a caption competition

I don't think I can run a caption competition with someone else's photo.

But if I did, I'd offer a goody bag of Scottish foods to the value of a fiver (cos I'm a tight Scottish git).  Macaroons, Tunnock Caramel Wafers, and oatcakes - maybe even get to some fudge. All unhealthy food, high in sugar content and what makes us prone to heart disease. So, some people couldn't eat the prize even if I was running a caption competition. Which I amn't.

The closing date would be Sunday 31st August, 9pm, Eastern Scottish time. No sweary words.

But I amn't running a competition.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Don't be a div, wild camp responsibly

There's a good article by TGO's Cameron McNeish across on his blog: Wild Camping in Scotland

There is still confusion in Scotland about wild camping. The law is clear on the matter. If you do not follow the "leave no trace" rules, you have given up the right to access. If you are not lightweight, you have given up the right to access. Further information posted earlier (epetition-scotland).

Many of the car campers that I have seen (eg outside Braemar) have taken a huge family tent out of the car and pitched it by the road. Sometimes large open fires are started. This is not wild camping. I have heard second-hand of the police going out to move them on, and a couple of people who were hiking got caught up in the sweep.

Outdoor-Access: Be a responsible camper and poster (290kb, pdf download)

We have all heard of landowners dragging their heels about access legislation, and the bias of the media on recent tv. So, don't be a div, make sure you wild camp in a responsible manner (even if you don't use an Akto, and the tent is red).

Sunday, 24 August 2008

At beach with 6220

At beach with 6220, originally uploaded by dimacleod.

Took some comparative photos with the nokia 6220 classic and figured out some focussing issues with the zoom.
I switched the geotagging feature on flickr and downloaded the additional program from nokia last night, but the phone comes with the feature anyway. Back at the car, i switched off the gps before closing the tagging program and locked the applications running. I had to switch the phone off and on again. Still, it is fun to learn there idiocyncracies.

--added later--

The focus on the camera requires a gentle touch, especially when zoomed in. After an experiment, it seems that the focus when in "landscape" mode doesn't kick in as the focus is set on infinity, but I'll need to experiment more. Two photos below, one with the full optical zoom. I didn't bother with the digital zoom, as I can do that with the software.

Aberdeen beach Aberdeen beach (optical zoom)

And if you go to the Flickr pages (click on the image), there's a geotag been added by the system for the latter two images. I wonder if it was because they weren't edited. Personally, I'd be happy (or happier) with the data being picked up off the network instead of the GPS. The system was useful in that it backdated the images when the satellites had locked in to my phone. Sadly, there is no easy kill-switch for the GPS ... and now the "positioning" menu (where the options are) has disappeared from the easy to remember Settings -> Phone Settings -> General.

Test sending active note

Test sending active note

Attachment includes the note and its objects

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Snaps with Nokia 6220 Classic

I still have the Nokia 6220's camera to get to grips with, having just found more settings in the extended camera toolbar (white balance, ISO, etc). Here's a couple of shots taken on my way to the shops.

Entertainment, Enlightenment & Education

Outside HMT.


Looking back at the once Triple Kirk.

Full sized images are up on Flickr if anyone wants to see them. I have switched on the geotagging feature, which meant that every time the camera was used, the GPS system fired up to source the location. It seems to stay on too. Also, no location information was uploaded to Flickr. Having to manually switch off the GPS became a nuisance, so I've switched it back to using the phone's network to obtain the location.

I'll leave the GPS system for when I need detailed satnav.

The guns of august

The guns of august, originally uploaded by dimacleod.

Macro setting on nokia 6220 camera. 28mm ww1 late war german figures. I'm still not good at painting, but it is relaxing.

Nokia 6220 "classic"

I spent last night downloading software from Nokia's "app store" and then finding that most was demo ("free to try" means just that). I found's mobile software better for finding appropriate software for the Symbian s60 (the operating system used).

This morning I went through software uninstalling most as the programs wouldn't run on my phone.

I can't find decent blogging software. Tried "CellSpin" this morning (having seen it last night), but I'm not keen on it. It requires a Net connection when writing. Think I'll stick with emailing to the blog and Flickr. The screen can be rotated (it doesn't do this automatically) and so the web can be read easily, and easier than I did on the c902.

Nokia 6220 blog

Official Nokia site

Cnet's review of Nokia 6220 "classic"

I have downloaded Google Maps and changed the customisable side "my own key" to open that. Photo shows GoogleMaps, the location is picked up from the cell's network (the GPS didn't work indoors), so has an accuracy of 1.8km.

Nokia 6220 gMaps

A 4gig SDHC is on order, and I'll need to get a new case for the phone (though it fits into the K800 bodyglove with some extra space). All sounds and photos from Sony Ericsson's phone ported across last night.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Test from nokia 6220

Test from nokia 6220, originally uploaded by dimacleod.

Test message From newly arrived nokia 6220 handset. Getting used to the different keyboard layout. Photo resized on phone before emailed out to flickr.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Trench model continues

Having added filler to the polystyrene blocks, it was then a case of spraying with car paint (filer primer first, then Rover russet brown) to get the basic brown appearance. I'll apply a wash and drybrush later. The aim is to match the same muddy brown of the figures' bases.

25/28mm Trenches (stage 3 n 4)

I decided to use matchstick for the duck-boards instead of coffee-stirrers as the latter looked too wide at this scale.

25/28mm Trenches (stage 3 n 4)

A flesh wash over the matchsticks stains them, and raises the figures up, doubling as a fire step. Still a lot of work to do to make them look more realistic.

Figures, 25mm Wargames Foundry WW1 French.

Akto, an II

At the beginning of July, 2006, my Hilleberg Akto arrived. Last year I marked this with a post called: A Year With An Akto. So, what has happened in Year II? The only maintenance on the tent was the repair of a hole that appeared.


I pack the night before an early start, and find that laying my kit on the bed is a great aide memoir. I make piles of clothing to wear, carry and so-forth. Unlike what follows, which doesn't go into each nook and cranny of every pocket.



My preference is still for the Scarpa ZG65 boots. I had swapped out the footbeds with the moulded superfeet. I use Nikwax cleaning products after brushing or washing off excess mud.

Recently I have tried the TNF Hedgehog XCR trail shoes, swapping out the laces with those from my old Inov8 Terrocs. I picked up some blisters in Dartmoor and tightened up the lace fittings on return, no problem walking in last week, but picked up 1 1/2 blisters on the return as I had forgot to change out of the Sealskinz socks I was using as camp shoes.

My favourite pair of socks are a black & grey pair labelled "Ultimax", and have a spare pair of socks in my kit. I find that the Air Force X-socks make my feet smell.


I am still using the Osprey Atmos as pack of choice. In fact, for overnights to longer, it is a comfortable pack that handles what I throw at it. I could shave some weight off by using a smaller pack for short trips, but I can't afford it and just tighten the straps on the pack.

I bought a new Camelbak hydration sack during the year, and now use the insulated one. I might be imagining that it keeps the cold water colder.

Poles are still the PacerPoles. They are good at doing the job, and I break them down after hikes, and sometimes at night too, to stop the mechanism seizing.


On my last two trips, I took the MiniBullDesign Blackfly 3 meths stove. I never liked the open fire meths stoves as they seemed too uncontrollable to me. This small stove uses two ends of a wick to boil enough cold water for a brew in about 10 minutes. Slower than my Primus Micron, but I can merely refill the fuel bottle at the end of a trip. I cannot do that with gas. After about 4 days, the size of a gas canister starts making it viable again.

The mug/bowl combo from GSI is great, and I've been using the folding spoon instead of the folding spork (photos). I still have food to sort, and haven't had a serious attempt at freezer bag cooking. I have a cupboard of supplies, and just grab what I need.

Bob kindly sent me an AquaGear water filter to test (and I've still got the write-up to complete). This lives in the side pocket of a pack, and I use it to drink at a packs-off stop. I also fill the hydration bag from it.

Sleep Kit

My bag is still the Cumulus Ultralight 350. It does the job. I can unzip it and use it as a duvet. I slide the Insul Mat Max Thermo Lite down the inside of the pack. It is full length and I didn't find it cold when out in the low temperature. Having failed to replace it with an Exped, I might try next year's Thermarest release.

After seeing an Ajungilak Air Pillow in use, I upgraded from rolling up clothing into and around a stuff sack. Mine now lives in a small waterproof Exped stuffsack.

From the washing line I have rigged from ties in my tent, I can hang a small torch, as well as the more Alpkit powerful headtorch (I've not used the e+lite since the meet at Brecon last year). My pack stays at the foot end of the tent, kitchen outside in the porch, and fragile things safely up at the head end.


With Sunday's purchase, my base layer is all merino wool. Shreddies, long-johns and longsleeve t-shirt.

Beyond that, my trousers are Paramo, meaning I can leave the waterproof overtrousers at home. Above that is a TNF fleece, and Montane primoloft lined windshirt. Buff and maybe a bonnet live in the pockets, along with liner gloves and Garmin Geko 201. In the top of my pack is a Montane Quickfire waterproof jacket.

I replaced my 'Ultimate' hat with a cammo one from Mackays, and sprayed it a couple of times with Nikwax waterproofing. The brim keeps the sun and rain off, and it folds into my pocket.


The first aid kit, toilet bag and lotion & potions make up most of the rest of the kit. The small containers that I got this year allowed me to take various items like germolene and soap in smaller bottles.


Last year finished with illness outside Killin, the pain returned and I got little hiking done as I was concerned that whatever it was would return. A trip to the physiotherapist ruled out a hernia. I got some short walks in, and bagged no further Munros until late Spring. In early summer, I was signed off with cellulitis. As it was still itchy and swollen, I wanted to keep pressure off it, so used that as an excuse not to get much done before a trip to Dartmoor in the summer.

So, in the last year, despite illness, I have hiked 132km (80 miles), spent 7 nights in my Akto, and bagged 1 Munro. Not as good as I could have been, but my motivation has been hit by concerns about another bout of pains. The main lesson this has raised is, whatever you do, don't say you go hiking, as the medicos seem to jump on that as the causes of illness. For the pain in my side, it was caused by my rucksack. I tried to explain to the doc that the pains started in my flat, before I went near my pack. And the infection in my leg was due to a tick (there weren't any) or a midge (ditto).

Some pitches

And now, some pitches with the best all-round solo tent in existence. I store the fabric in its carry bag, and then put that inside an Exped compression bag. This lies across the rucksack, near the top. The peg bag and pole all fit into the supplied bag, and that goes inside the rucksack on the side opposite the hydration tube exit. When I pitch the tent, I make sure that no gust of wind can lift empty bags, so clip the compression bag to my rucksack, and put the empty tent bags into it as I am pitching the tent.

Night-time brew IMG_0890s IMG_0857s IMG_0725 DSC04191 Nodden Gate ford IMG_1586f

Happy trails.

Cairn a' Mhaim (1037m/3402ft) [Munro 46]

Saturday, 16 August 2008


I was never a Kate Bush fan, but this song came to mind when I was writing about last Sunday's trip out and realised I had lots of photos of clouds left over. Like on the trip to Lewis to see the folks, I seem to become fixated by the weather when it is important to the day's plans.

IMG_1561f IMG_1575f IMG_1576f IMG_1578f IMG_1581f IMG_1593f IMG_1592f IMG_1591f IMG_1590f

The photos are just taken with the point-and-click Canon Ixus 950 IS, and the only filters were the 'scenes' I played around with on the camera. The "Underwater" one does weird things with the light.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Cold Turkey

I've been away from the computer for over 24 hours. Though not exciting, I've been focusing on a wargames project that I said I'd get done during the holidays. A few of us at the wargames club are looking at recreating the horrific reality of the Great War trench warfare phase.

25/28mm Trenches (stage 1)

Stage One. Trimmed and glued polystyrene sections to 600 x 150mm MDF (nicely cut to size in B&Q). The sections will be at the end of the 600mm wide base-boards.

25/28mm Trenches (stage 2)

Stage Two. Coated polystyrene with filler.

They won't be as good as these ones, but the aim is to create a modular system of trenches for tense night-time raids across no-man's land.

Dealing in Smak

Dealing in Smak, originally uploaded by dimacleod.

I got some Smak yesterday from Asda. Better tasting than twiglets. Ztota jakosc wypieku.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Return to Sender

With a song in my heart, I'm just off the phone to my provider, and I'll be returning the Sony Ericsson c902 tomorrow.

After a couple of days of mediocrity, customising menus and a software upgrade, I gave up on reasons to keep it after it kept dropping signal strength when Darren called me earlier. A call that the K800i had handled with no problem was cracking up, and we were both in our respective urban abodes too, and not mobile. I'd seen the signal strength bars fluctuate from full to nothing when sitting on my desk.

So, I went to the local O2 shoppe and looked at some handsets. My needs were:

  • keyboard visible for hot text action.
  • 5mp camera with good reviews.
  • lens cover to protect lens from scratches.

Amazingly, very few phones met that spec. Of the phones available to me, the Nokia 6220 was the only one. I went home, and looked at the writeup. Apart from build quality and a slightly weaker battery, it compared well with the c902 (here). Plus it is loaded with extras.

Aberdeen sky

This is the last photo I will be taking with the phone as I decant back to the K800 for a few days. I have been with SE for my last 3 phones and my relatives seem to enjoy the cast-offs.

28mm with c902

28mm with c902, originally uploaded by dimacleod.

Despite being told by phone that no new update was looking available, i installed the Sony Ericsson update suite on my pc and found, yup, an update ready to install. Photo cropped and saved at 800x600 on phone. Shame about my painting.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Birds down at the beach

Birds down at the beach, originally uploaded by dimacleod.

By late last night i had finished setting up the newly arrived Sony Ericsson c902. I took some photos indoors. I couldn't read the names of books on the shelves across the room. Hmm, i thought.

So i took some more, played around with the settings and generally lost an early night playing with the new kit.

This one is of a selection down at the beach. I've zoomed in and cropped the photo on the phone, saved as medium size and emailed to Flickr. I'll take some comparison shots with my Canon pnc. Except a dog just chased away the gulls.

Test from c902

This is the voice of the oystermnos ...mysterons ... blox ... New dictionary to train ... Not sure about camera on c902. Arrived on monday n been routeshog ... pottering during day. Finally set up email connection. Then sleep. Got some business to attend to on tuesday but may try some snaps with camera and write about Sunday's jaunt.

Monday, 11 August 2008


Or... Didn't get there, so came back again. Or... Nature gets Napoleonic. --- update later ... updated


On Saturday the forecast was for intermittent showers. It looked variable, and had not changed when I looked again on Sunday morning. I packed for three days and headed out, stopping in Braemar for a shop and breakfast. In the gear shop, I bought a Patagonia merino wool long sleeved base layer in their sale (35 quid off) and wore it for the rest of the day: unlike the bacon roll from the Hungry Highlander, which lasted until the Linn of Dee car park.

IMG_1544f IMG_1552f IMG_1559ff

Walking out, a bird of prey landed on a solitary tree, and young deer bounced around on their own in the valley and the plants shone in the cloud-focused sun. But these clouds came in and the 'shower' of heavy rain set the tone for the rest of the day. Plan H was to walk until the weather closed in. (maplink)

IMG_1546f IMG_1547f IMG_1555f

I sheltered at the Derry Lodge ford, and carried on, watching the clouds and not really wanting to spend three wet days in the Cairngorms. An hour later, I was further north up Glen Derry, and the rain came on as I reached the bridge. "Soddit", I thought, "there's a cracking pitch here, I may as well sit out the weather"

IMG_1564f IMG_1574f

The rain stopped, the midges rose and I dosed the late afternoon away in my tent. I heard voices on the path and fought back my guilt, listening to the limited radio reception and reading about the poet William Cowper in the wee book of his poems I had grabbed as reading material.

IMG_1572f IMG_1585f

A brew with my Blackfly3 meths stove, some more midge-spray, and I swapped one of the TNF Hedgehog laces with one of the laces that I had taken from my Inov8 Terrocs (in case you really, really want to know, it is the right shoe).

IMG_1586f IMG_1587f IMG_1583f

Up hill, along slope, down hill, and I was satisfied enough to swap out the other TNF shoe lace. At least I had achieved something. As the sun set below the mountains, I had my second "sod it" moment, and now with the midge-netting over my head, I broke camp and walked back to the car.


I had walked about 15km, spent about 6 hours in my tent and 4 hours walking. But more, I had reached the nadir where my head knows I can do something, so thinks it doesn't need to prove it by forcing the body to achieve the task. I think I am doing this for other people and not myself. I need to stop thinking about this.


Walking in the failing light, I stop thinking of these things as the trees closed in amongst me, and the primal fears of predator attack kicks in. My inbuilt jukebox starts to play a Creedence Clearwater Revival track, and I hum it back to the car and civilisation (speeding cars, pedestrians staggering in the road and news from Georgia).