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Monday, 5 November 2018

Camera Choice

I'd been using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 for some years. It's got a 14.2Meg 1/2.33" sensor and a 16x zoom. I wanted to replace it because:

  • Fluff had got inside the lens and was visible at some focal lengths
  • The zoom tended to stick
  • I was underwhelmed by the low light performance - my Samsung A3 (2017) phone was better.
I selected a Canon G7x Mk II. for it's 1" sensor although I was worried that the 4.2x zoom might frustrate me.

So I took both cameras out to Cirencester park on a clear day. From the main track, you can see the tower of the church in Cirencester:
Shot with the Canon G7x Mk II
When I got home, I zoomed in on the church tower:

G7x Mk Ii    TZ20
I'm not quite sure how, but the Canon seems to have been much better at recording "distant detail". The Panasonic does have some advantages - when composing the shot, that church tower looks a lot bigger on the screen making it easier to frame the shot.

Comparing both cameras with my eyesight:

  • The TZ20  viewfinder is better than my eyes at distant detail but not as good in poor light
  • The G7X Mk II viewfinder is not quite as good as my eyes at distant detail but it's much better in than my eyes in poor light. The image you can extract is better in both respects.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Refreshingly Honest Halifax Manager

The Halifax counter service is abysmal and getting worse. A couple of times a year, I need to use it and today 10 of us were queuing up for one teller. So another member of staff goes up the line trying to persuade each person to transact their business some other way. All decline and someone tells her to stop messing around and jump on the till herself. Turns out she isn't till trained. Another customer announces their disgust and I tell her I'm fed up with this nonsense every time I come in and maybe I'm with the wrong bank? She withdraws.

When I get to the counter, the teller SCOLDS me for using counter service  because she feels it's OK to feed a large cheque into a machine!

I asked to speak to a manager and to my surprise he agreed with me 100% that it was terrible service BUT that's the way Halifax is going and pretty soon there would be NO counter service at all. He recommended that I move my account to one of the Building Societies! I think he was too young to remember when Halifax was a Building Society!

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Snipping tool won't save - possible solution

I've used the Windows "snipping tool" for years - it lets you grab a snapshot of part of the screen and then paste it or save it to a file. Great for grabbing copies of error messages to show to support people.

Just recently, I found I could capture the screen OK but when I hit the Save button or File->Save As, nothing happened. I Googled, found a few solutions but none of them worked. Then I found this somewhat complicated thread which gave me a clue.

The bottom line is that you get this problem if Windows can't access your "Pictures" library - even if you had no intention of saving to that library.

Try right clicking on Pictures in Windows Explorer and choose Properties - here's what I saw

My F drive is a portable drive and I'd disconnected it. Plugging it back in fixed it.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Encounter with the Gendarmes

Driving back from Le Grand Bal de l'Europe I diverted off into the village of Patay in Loiret searching for fuel when an oncoming motorist flashed at me. Now, I'd read up on French driving customs and wasn't too surprised to see two Gendarmes further down the road standing by a car talking to the driver.

I don't know about you but when I see the police talking to a driver, I resist the urge to join in the conversation. I did what I'd have done in the UK - and drove carefully round them.

This was not what they expected "Stop! Stop! Stop!" they yelled (It's the same word in French and English) So I did. As I opened my car door there was a more relaxed "Allez! Allez!" ("Go!") and I pulled away slowly and checked my mirrors. They'd lost interest in me.

I think they'd spotted my UK plates and decided whatever delights they inflicted on French drivers would be too difficult with someone from Britain.

I've still not worked out how drivers are meant to know when they have to stop for Gendarmes and when they may be passed UK-style.