Welcome to my blog, Whats this about then?

This is a place where I will be posting all sorts of things not just things relating to Derby and Derbyshire. On here you will find details of any videos I’ve made of things in Derby and also Time-lapse, stop motion animation, Tutorials etc. If I find some useful software for PC or iPhone then I will feature it here.I’m sure that there will be something of interest to someone on my many posts.Please leave comments on any posts if you like them.
Don’t forget if you are new to my blog and would like to read through the previous posts then see the Blog Archive section on the left side of this page.
Also there is a Search box at the top left of the page if you are looking for something but cant remember where it was. I am a trustee member of "Friends of Friar Gate bridge", aiming to get this bridge restored.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Speaker Test Video (Left and Right Audio), Ensure that your left and right speakers are connected correctly.

The idea of this video is simple, it allows you to confirm that you have wired up your audio system the right way round. You may not think its important but imagine playing a fighting game and you hear the enemy to your right so you turn right to fire only to get shot because they were actually on your left side !
I discovered that my L & R cables were mixed up at the back of my computer desk and have been for months.

My speaker test video :

It may help if you play this video in Full screen mode.

When Left shows on screen there should be a voice in the LEFT speaker ONLY.
If you can hear "Left channel" in the right speaker only then this means your L & R cables are swapped over.
If you can hear "Left channel" in BOTH speakers then this means you have a short circuit OR you are using a MONO sound system.

If your system IS correct then no point in watching all 4 minutes of the video.

It will then play a voice in the left and right speakers alternating every 2 seconds from left to right, this will play for 4 minutes giving you plenty of time to fiddle around with cables etc.

The time-lapse clouds I have used as a background were filmed using my modified Canon Ixus 430 camera.

On my system the "line output" from the back of the PC soundcard was connected via a switchbox (A/B Input Source Switch Box TC-12 (Part #: 50-6220) that allows me to either send the sound to my Creative Labs speakers OR to my Hi-Fi.
The Red RCA female was connecting through to the white RCA Male that was on the end of this switch box in other words Right and Left audio were being swapped !

Hope this test video is of use to someone out there.


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Best software for converting video files (divx) to iPhone format (mp4)

Over the years I have tried several bits of software for converting video files into the format that is used by the iPhone and some are better than others. For the last few months I have found a program that is perfect and very reliable and quick on Windows 7.  The iPhone is great for watching videos on long train journeys so get converting.
Here you can see the main panel of the software. I have added quite a few video files for it to convert.
uRexsoft iPhone Video Converter main panel.
Preview panel during conversion.

It seems to cope with just about any video file you give it to convert.
It will convert MKV, AVI, MPEG, WMV, MOV, M2TS videos to iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS format.
Unlike most other programs I have tried this one uses multi-core processing and works on Windows 7 64 bit without crashing.
It will convert videos into files that are compatible with iPod, iPod classic, iPod touch, iPod Nano,iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4,iPhone 4S.
It supports these input video formats : AVI, MP4, DivX, MPEG, H264, WMV, MKV, MOV, VOB, ASF, DV, 3GP, HD VOB, HD MKV, HD TS, HD AVI, HD MPEG, HD MP4, HD ASF, HD WMV, HD MOV

The software is :
uRexsoft iPhone Video Converter.

uRexsoft Video Converter only costs £16.62 which is quite reasonable and you can pay using Paypal.

It really is very simple to use, Click on the "Output Profile" button and select your device, then add video files you want to convert then click the start button. that's it !

Adding the Videos to your iPhone via iTunes.
Once the program has completed converting the video files you should have the same files but with the following added to the end of each filename  "_(new).mp4".
To get these onto your iPhone, run iTunes and for a single video simply go to File and select "Add file to Library" (or add folder for multiple videos) then browse to the location of the converted video and add it. iTunes will then import the video and it will appear in your playlist. Now SYNC your phone to transfer the video over to your device.
If you are using an iPhone with ios 5.1 then your video can be found by clicking on the Videos icon, if your are using ios 4 then videos are in the iPod icon on the bottom bar of the iPhone.

By the way something worth pointing out is in iTunes there is a setting which can be changed which may make it better for you - goto the Edit dropdown menu - Preferences and click on the Advanced tab and add a tick to the option "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library". if you have this ticked then you never have to worry about missing videos and music. If you don't tick this then if your not careful files can be removed from iTunes simply because you have moved them around since you added them. So I think this is a much better option to avoid that issue (as long as you have the hard disk space!).

uRexsoft also make other converters if you are interested.

Hope you find this of use.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Great British Railway Journeys DVD featuring Derby, Cromford etc.

I recently watched something on BBC4 which I had never seen before.
Great British Railway Journeys - Series 1, Episode 17. "Cromford to Burton-on-Trent".
Michael Portillo at Cromford Pond as seen in Great British Railway Journeys, Series 1, Episode 17.

Great British Railway Journeys - Series 1 BBC [DVD] [2010]
If your are interested in local history and the railways then you are going to love this program. It would appear that it was originally broadcast back in 2010. But not to worry as you can buy it on DVD.
In this episode Michael Portillo travels to Cromford and Derby where he will tell you about the Midland Hotel, Derby's Arboretum, The Silk Mill etc.

This DVD is available from Amazon :

Episode 17 is available to view on the BBC iPlayer until 1st May so you can watch it if you hurry up by clicking the link here :
Great_British_Railway_Journeys_- Series_1_- Cromford_to_Burton on Trent

Series 3 of this series started in January 2012, the first two series are now available on DVD.

Hope you found this of interest.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Videos of the 2012 St George's Day celebrations in Sheffield. Morris Men and Giants

On Saturday 21st April 2012 while in Sheffield there were some celebrations to Commemorate St George's Day.
This took place in front of the Town Hall on Pinstone Street and in the Peace Gardens.
There were several sets of dancers including clog dancers, Morris Men and some Dancing Giants.
I filmed this on my iPhone 3GS so no HD footage on this one.

My videos of Sheffield's St George's Day celebrations

Dancing Giants


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Want to know how many times your shutter has been operated on your DSLR?, try this.

I've been having some problems recently with my DSLR Camera, A Nikon D70 relating to the shutter button. You press it down and the camera does not auto-focus at all and only takes a photograph sometimes, mainly if you press it near the front of the button. The same problem on all three lenses. Using the remote control does not auto-focus but does trigger the shutter. However pressing the AE-AF button does make it focus. Battery fully charged, flash card good, gold lens contacts cleaned but stil no luck.

I found this very handy website that tells you how many times your cameras shutter has been activated. Handy if you have bought your camera second hand and are wondering how many photographs have been taken with it.

All you do is visit the website www.myshuttercount.com and upload your latest photograph and seconds later it displays the following information about your camera. (you can upload Nikon's NEF, Pentax's DNG and PEF format or JPG).

As you can see below my Nikon D70 has only taken 7306 photographs so the shutter button should not really be faulty by now.
The results page after uploading an image.

If you are selling a DSLR on ebay then this website is very useful as it provides a weblink to the results so you can use this on your ebay listing as proof that your camera has a low shuter count.

Hope you find this of use.

Friday, 20 April 2012

TK Maxx opens new massive store at Kingsway Retail Park, Derby on Thursday 3rd May 2012.

The new TK Maxx store is set to open at Kingsway Retail Park Derby on Thursday 3rd May 2012.

The first 500 people through the door on opening day will receive a free £10 voucher to spend in the store.

Here is a photograph I took of Derby's new TK Maxx store being prepared for the opening day :
The new TK Maxx store at Kingsway Retail Park, Derby.
Its located in the former Best Buys store that closed in January 2012.
This new TK Maxx Derby store has floor space of 28,554sq ft. It will sell clothes, shoes and accessories for men, women and children as well as toys and homeware with a much larger range of items than the East Street store. The East Street TK Maxx store will close down on the 2nd May, All staff from that outlet transferring to the Kingsway retail park store.

360 degree view of this location,
Click here to view my 360 degree view from the middle of Kingsway Retail Park, Derby.
In my photograph you will be able to see where the new TK Maxx Store is located. Use the mouse to drag the view point around.

TK Maxx Map LocationClick here for a Smartphone Drop Pin <-- Tap this link on your iPhone.
When you tap the link above, it will launch your mapping application and place a "push pin" onto the map with the exact location of the new TK Maxx store. You can then use this marker to get driving, walking or bus directions from your current location.
For example on an iPhone you tap the Directions button at the bottom and this will pre-fill in the start and end locations so just tap the Route button at the bottom and it will show you either the driving route or the walking route.
Here is an example of what the iPhone mapping application looks like when you use my smartphone drop pin to work out the driving route to the new TK Maxx store at Kingsway from Normanton :

iPhone mapping route to TK Maxx store in Kingsway Derby.
Screengrab of iPhone using my smartphone drop pin.

If you wouldlike to see where Argos and Pets at Home stores are located relative to this store then see :
Pets at Home, Kingsway Retail Park, Derby.

Here is the full address for this new store in Derby
TK Maxx
Kingsway Retail Park
DE22 3FA

Website : www.tkmaxx.com

Opening Hours
Monday: 09:00 - 20:00
Tuesday: 09:00 - 20:00
Wednesday: 09:00 - 20:00
Thursday: 09:00 - 20:00
Friday: 09:00 - 20:00
Saturday: 09:00 - 19:00
Sunday: 09:30 - 17:30

Also located at this Retail park are these stores :
Marks & Spencer Simply Food, Halfords, Next, Boots, Harveys Furniture Store (Bensons for Beds), Currys, Comet, Argos Extra, Pets at Home,Sainsbury's, Homebase.
At the top of the entrance to Kingsway Retail park is The Kings Highway pub and a Travelodge Hotel.
You can see the exact locations of most of these stores in my Kingsway Retail Park 360 view.

Hope you found my information of use.
If there is anything you think I have missed then please let me know.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Video - The King of Rome by The Unthanks, The famous Derby Pigeon now even more famous!

In summer 2008 I was asked by Dave Sudbury and Derby Museums if I could create a video to help promote one of the more unusual exhibits that was in Derby Museum "The King of Rome", which you can now see on display in the natural history section of Derby Museum.

Now here I would like to share with you an amazing version of Dave's original song performed by The Unthanks with the The Brighouse and Rastrick Band, at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. This is a very moving warm version of the song which will I'm sure you will enjoy.

This version will be released on Monday 30th July .
You can even see them perform this song live on tour now.

In case you did now know. the owner of the "King of Rome" was from a Derby family of Pigeon fanciers, Charlie Hudson was born in the 1870s, in 1913 his short-distance racing pigeon won a race from Italy to Derby which made it a much sort after bird. Charlie lived at 56 Brook Street in the West end of Derby, next time you drive down that road spare a thought for him.

The Video:
The Unthanks perform live, along with the The Brighouse and Rastrick Band, at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Here is their version of Dave Sudburys song

Best viewed full screen by clicking the icon in the bottom right of the video.

Hope you enjoy it.

Here is a flight map that the King of Rome would have flown. Its over 1000 miles !
Click the markers for details on race times.

View Flight map for the King of Rome Pigeon. in a larger map

If you would like to learn more about this famous pigeon from Derby then try these websites where you can buy a CD of Dave Sudburys original version of this song :

Recent interview with Dave Sudbury :


Saturday, 14 April 2012

My favorite Ciders and Perries discovered.

This is more of a personal list for me but it may be of use to you if you are a fan of quality Ciders. Its a list of my favorite Ciders and Perries discovered at beer festivals and pubs and where I found them. If YOU like clear sweet quality ciders then you may enjoy the same as me.

You may be interested in my post here - How to buy a box of cider for home.

Pubs :

New Zealand Arms, Derby
Happy Dayz perry by Gwynt Y Ddraig (Pontypridd).
Midnight Special Perry
Mr Whitehead Strawberry Cider

Flower Pot (potfest 2012), Derby
Bumble Berry, Sandford Orchards

Babington Arms, Derby
Raspberry Twist by Weston's
Fanny’s Bramble, Sandford orchards
Plum cider, Mr Whiteheads (Cider Festival 2012)

The Brunswick inn, Derby
Sleigh Ride cider (Christmas) by Gwynt Y Ddraig (Pontypridd).

Bankers Draft, Sheffield.
Marcle Hill cider (Westons)

The Angel, Islington, London.
Raspberry Twist cider (Westons)

Beer Festivals 

Burton Beer Festival
Hartland Perry Gloucestershire

The Great British Beer Festival
Tutts Clump (Berkshire)

Derby Summer Beer Festival
Porkers Snout by Pickled Pig (Cambridgeshire)

Derby Winter Beer Festival
Rich Cider by Watchfield (Somerset)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Malware,Adware and browser problems fixed by "Spybot search and destroy" Free anti-malware software.

I have an old Windows XP machine that I have not used for a couple of years since getting Windows 7 and I noticed that once the copy of Norton Antivirus had expired on it, suddenly it seem to have lots of problems with Firefox crashing out. It was as though Norton had subdued some Malware that had been sitting and waiting to attack. Despite running Malwarebytes anti-malware and clearing problems it would always come back.
It affected all internet browsers Firfox, IE8, Safari and Opera. What ever was there was making them crash out as soon as you searched for anything.

Then I tried something called Spybot S&D, this is FREE software and it found problems and fixed them completely. The old XP machine now works perfectly !

If you would like this software then get it from their site :
Click on the Download link on the left menu, then the download link to download, then click the second "Download here" button on right "BN Fileforum - fast worldwide distribution" Then the link in the blue panel on right "Download Spybot S&D".
Install the software, update it and then click "Check for problems". This will find any problems that you may not be aware of and fix them for good.

Malware,Adware and browser problems fixed by "Spybot search and destroy" Free anti-malware software :
Spybot finds things other software can't see. (Click to see large version)

hope this helps someone.

Monday, 2 April 2012

How to download Youtube 1080p HD videos as mp4 file for use with Sumvision Cyclone Micro 2+ Media Player.

I recently bought a new Media Player that copes with mp4 files at 1080p and for a couple of years I have been using a great free plug-in on Firefox that allows you to download videos directly from YouTube and thought I would share details on how to do it.
The media player is a Cyclone Micro 2+ Full HD HDMI 1080p MultiMedia Player Adaptor and it pretty much plays any video files you try with it. These things really are very cheap but amazing.
You simply copy the video files you want to watch onto a USB memory stick and the media player plays them via the HDMI connection on your TV.

In my example below I am downloading a music video from YouTube which is 6min 19sec long, the .mp4 video file it downloads is 223Mb.

Installing the Add-on into Firefox
The Add-on for the Mozila Firefox web browser is free and extreamly simple to use, I will show you how here.

How to install the free Add-on to download YouTube videos.
These screenshots are from my PC running Windows 7 64bit and Firefox v11.0.
Note this plugin still working fine now Firefox is v20.0.1

1) In Firefox goto the Tools dropdown menu and select Add-ons.

2) In the search box of the Add-ons window type in Download Youtube Videos as MP4   and search.

3) This should show a list of Add-ons, The BEST one is this one. Click Install, only takes a few seconds.
Once installed, close Firefox and rerun Firefox and goto YouTube and find a HD video.

4) Notice that now we have a new button called Download. Click it to see what quality you can download.

5) On this video it is available at 1080p as an MP4 video, Click MP4.

6) Ensure that the "Save File" option is selected so it saves it instead of playing it and click OK.

7) Wait for the file to complete downloading and you should now have a .mp4 file of your video on your hard disk.
Now you have your .mp4 video file simply copy this file onto a USB Stick and insert it into the front of your Cyclone Micro 2+ Media Player and give it a go. Plays in glorious 1080p HD via HDMI.

Note : If you don't know where your file has been saved then in Firefox goto the Tools dropdown menu and select Options, Click on the General Tab. In the Downloads section there is a bit thats says "Save files to..". On my PC I like to use C:\My Downloads  but yours may be the default if you have never changed it.

There are a few different models of media player available, The one that plays anything is the 2+

I hope someone finds this information of use.