Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Adobe Dreamwever flv Clear Skin 2 DO NOT USE

WARNING: This brief note is of little interest for the casual reader. If you'd like to see pretty Russian women, click here instead.

A quick word of warning for all those flash flv fans out there who are trying to add videos with this file type onto their websites via Adobe Dreamweaver. This file type allows you to add your own play/sound/fast forward buttons through Dreamweaver.

However, the video will NOT work if you chose the Clear Skin 2 style of buttons. No reason for this. Clear Skin 1 and Clear Skin 3 work fine. I use Dreamweaver CS4.

You may find you don not have this problem – but if you do and can’t work out why the video won’t play, now you know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Donald Weber v Martin Parr. Things that make you go Hmmmm

Is it great minds thinking alike or just an attention-seeking, stoat-wearing, cigar-smoking Russian millionaire with a passion for pleasing documentary photographers?
Come to your own conclusions on that one. But I get a warm glow when I think of British photographer Martin Parr shooting his Luxury project and Canadian Donald Weber, working on In Moscow, elbowing each other out of the way as they attempt to get the defining shot at Moscow's Millionaire Fair.
And as these images show, the best documentary photography still embraces traditional journalism values - it's not the representative that gets reported it's the exceptionally unusual.
NOTE: Martin Parr's attention-seeking, stoat-wearing, cigar-smoking Russian millionaire is the top picture. Donald Weber's attention-seeking, stoat-wearing, cigar-smoking Russian millionaire is below.
NOTE TWO: And the attention-seeking, stoat-wearing, cigar-smoking Russian millionaire may be wearing an animal other than a stoat.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Humanity and hotel reviews

"We went to Italy for a week. We had a great time until our last night we stayed at this hotel because we were flying out of Rome the next morning. There was no air conditioning and we begged the manager to turn it on, at least in my mom's room. It was VERY hot in the hotel. He never did and she died at 4:30 a.m. on 10/4/10 in her sleep. She died of a heart attack brought on by excessive breathing difficulty due to lack of air conditioning. DO NOT STAY HERE!!!!"

If you are searching for a good hotel the best place to go is undoubtedly the tripadvisor website.

It is comprehensive, easily searchable and its independent rating system gives the best guidance on if a hotel, hostel or B&B is any good. I've unearthed some brilliant places to stay in London, Berlin, New York and Jerusalem.

Every once in a while you see a review whch stands out, that makes you wonder. This is one of those.

It's a review of the Grand Hotel Fleming in Rome. The reviewer, from Texas, goes on to give the hotel ratings for cleanliness, service and sleep quality. The ratings are not good. Nor are they good from other guests.

Obviously a catastrophic event, the review adds a new tragic element to the way the internet is used to pass on information and how we consume it. Would you stop in this hotel? It would not be my first choice but - at the right price - I might consider it. Don't think I would take mother with me though.

Having an eye test for photography

Having good eyesight is pretty much the most basic of basic demands for a photographer.
So you can imagine my unhappiness when I woke up with blurred vision in my right eye on Sunday morning.

A day out with the family at the Wild Boar Park in Lancashire was more frustrating than fun, such was my irritation at not being able to see properly. Looking through the viewfinder of my Nikon was an incredibly dissatisfying experience.

I've had similar blurriness previously, but only for an hour or so. Not for this length of time and not where trying to read from a computer screen was excruciating.

Three days later I was sitting in Boots having my first adult eye test. You can imagine my delight when they said, for £10, they would take photographs of my eyes. I only agreed when they promised to print me a copy. And here they are.

After a series of tests carried out by soothe talking graduate opthalmologist Olivia Ng it was discovered that my eyes are in fine working order. The opthalmologist said it would be pointless me getting glasses.

Apparently I had been suffering from something called an oscular migraine, a painless affliction related to changes in blood flow in the brain. They are common, harmless and I'd prefer not to have another one again soon.
Thanks and goodeye

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ryanair guarantee is guaranteed* (*guaranteed not to be a great travel experience)

Below are the edited highlights from Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary’s column in his in-flight Ryanair Magazine (16 February – 15 march 2011):


WELCOME ABOARD RYANAIR, The World’s Favourite Airline

…record breaking start… guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel surcharges… Europe’s lowest fares… 1,200 exciting routes… guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel charges… 1,200 routes…guaranteed… great fares… unbeatable prices… record breaking start… unbeatable fares… guarantee… guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel charges.



As you can tell O’Leary is big on boasts and repetition. While he could engage in a reasonable argument about his airline being cheap, his claim that Ryanair is the World’s Favourite Airline beggar’s belief.


I have flown with Jet2, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Sky Europe, Thomson Holidays, Continental Airlines, EgyptAir, MyTravel, Delta, Northwest Airlines, KLM, Thomas Cook, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, airBaltic and possibly others. And I can honestly say that Ryanair is my least favourite airline.


Why? Because the airline offers a thoroughly miserable experience from flight booking, with surcharges and extra fees hitting you from all angles, to the unseemingly scrum to get on its flights.


You can even argue that Ryanair is not even the cheapest airline around. The £9 flights – or 99p as they used to be – are incredibly hard to pin down. The reality of Ryanair is that your getting a great deal if the total cost of your booking is under £100 per person.


Anybody who uses Ryanair does so not because they are the cheapest but because they are flying to the destination you want to visit. I can guarantee that if Ryanair and one of it’s competitors ran flights to the same airport from the same destination that most people would go with the other one. Though I wouldn’t put it past O’Leary to offer mega cheap deals on that route until the competitor went out of business before hiking the prices back up the afternoon of the oppositions demise.


What can Ryanair do to make it’s travel experience more bearable? This question requires the depth of a PhD but to start they could offer seat numbers to stop the on-board scramble.


They could also stop ripping off customers with extra charges for booking with credit cards, booking on-line, or linking to bus services to take you into your destination city from the airport that are up to four times the actual cost from the bus company.


Ryanair could make a huge effort in stop trying to mislead their customers over prices (they have been fined and disciplined several times by the Advertising Standards Authority) and generally make travelers feel like they are offering a service and a helping hand towards an enjoyable break, rather than exacerbating the feeling that they are attempting to catch out their clients with a series of penalty charges.


NOTE: Ryanair Magazine is actually one of the best in-flight magazines around. It’s published by Ink Publishing.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Roaming round Roman Rome

Three beautiful images that capture the essence of a travel trip to Rome.

These pictures were taken (from top to bottom) outside the St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, inside the Vatican and at Piazza Navona.
Slideshow and video coming to the website soon.