TV Video

Down With Vertical Video

Televisions are horizontal.

Computer screens are horizontal.

Why do people with phones make vertical videos?

Please.   I beg of you.  Turn the phone sideways.  It’s much better.  Trust me.

casablanca vertical video


Photography Still images Travel

Krakow Notes – No 2

Well actually, it’s a few pictures, not notes.  We’ll have plenty of them when the time comes.








































Favourites Photography

The West of Ireland

The West of Ireland exploration continues.

Now we’ve moved from the land of limestone to the land of granite, a place fashioned and sculpted by ice and fire.

Conamara 001

Conamara 002

Conamara 003



Conamara 004

Conamara 005


Conamara 007


Conamara 008

Conamara 010

Conamara 009

Conamara 011


Conamara 012


Conamara 013

Images Technology

Increasing Web Site Speed

People were complaining to me about the speed of this site, but I ignored them, mostly because I didn’t have the time to bother with it.  Besides which, I’m not an internet professional.  I’m just a gobshite who writes stuff that might or might not interest anyone.

Still, it annoyed me that there should be such problems, and finally I decided to do something about it in the last few days.

My Google speed rating was something like 62 out of 100, which doesn’t look all that great, even to my untutored eye, but in the end it was a small matter to bring it up to a respectable level, even for an idiot like me.

Having performed various little tweaks, it currently stands at 95 out of 100, using the Google assessment tool, which is ok, comparing favourably with many local sites (and here, please forgive me for being parochial).

For example,, a site paid for and operated by the local authority, scores an abysmal 23 out of 100, yet I have no doubt in my my mind that this site is managed by the finest internet professionals known to mankind.

Likewise, only manages 87 out of 100.  Now, I’m not saying that this is a poor result, but compared to a snake-oil salesman such as myself, I would have thought that a highly-trained professional could surely do better.

What about the local rag?  Well, sadly, I’m sorry to report, fares slightly worse than Local Heroes, despite its access to keenly-honed killer professionals.   86/100. Sorry.

It’s time to look further afield, I fear.

RTE?  Now that’s better.  Their multimillion euro budget brings them to within one point of a website run on a shoestring by an unlettered gobshite from Limerick.  94/100.

Disappointingly, the BBC only scores 79/100, while the Google analyzer is likewise scathing of the Huffington Post at 90/100.

So there you have it.  Internet nonsense exposed in thirty seconds.   You can spend thousands on a website that’s still shit, you can pay more thousands to people who call themselves professionals and still end up with shit performance, or you can apply a little intelligence as an interested amateur and do better than the whole lot of them.

This is why the internet is so full of chancers and frauds.  Nobody understands a single thing about it, including, often enough, those who tout themselves as consultants and web professionals.

Just out of interest, I decided to check out Google’s own performance by its own standards, and guess what?

Google scores 99/100.  That leaves one percent room for improvement.

Must try harder.  Maybe they’d like a little advice.






Photography Technology

Lytro Light-Field Camera Released

Photo credit Eric Cheng /Lytro

Imagine being able to shoot a picture in three dimensions using a camera costing  €300.  That’s what a light-field camera can do, and Lytro has produced the cheapest one yet.  Using a microlens array, like a spider’s multiple eyes, the Lytro is able to capture light from numerous different angles, forming a composite image that sees the subject in enough microscopically varying angles to tell how far away it is.

To put it another way, this camera has depth vision.  It knows how far away everything in the picture is and it can work all that out after you save the image.  With this little gadget, you’ll never need to worry about getting your subject out of focus.  After you put the pictures on your computer, you can select whatever  part of the picture you want to be sharp, which I think is just great.  Play with them here and see what you think.

Of course, not everyone agrees.

Some people take the view that refocussing is an unnecessary and nerdy activity.  A camera should be designed so that everything is in focus, they say, but of course, that’s fine if all you want is holiday snaps.  Many pictures benefit from a very narrow depth of field, pulling a subject into sharp focus against a blurred background, or vice versa.  That’s why the likes of EDoF (Extended Depth of Field) lenses are great for general picture-taking, but won’t satisfy the needs of people who want to do a bit more with their images.

I’d probably bore most readers if I explained about the curvature of lenses and the reason why apertures are important to depth of field, so I won’t say anything more on the subject.  Instead, I’ll say that light-field technology is bringing us back to an era when the gifted photographer was the one who could visualise a picture with no camera in his hand.  The technology of photography became, in my opinion, a barrier to talented people and facilitated the rise of technicians, but before true photographic artists start to take offence, let me say this.  There are many talented people working with cameras, and even a few artists, but none of these people need fancy gadgets to prove their gift.

I’m sure there were medieval scribes who became just as sniffy as modern professional photographers at the thought of the common man using a quill.

Therefore, anything that takes the complexity out of picture-taking is good with me.  More artists, fewer geeks.

Admittedly, at this stage the Lytro pictures are still very small, but the technology is young.  It’s still a bit clumsy, involving all sorts of secondary processing and it won’t appeal to the mass market yet, but it’s getting there.  People shouldn’t have to put up with complications when taking pictures and at the moment, anyone who buys a Lytro will have to do exactly that until they iron out the glitches.

I won’t be getting one of these yet.  At the moment, it’s strictly for the tech addict, but I can imagine owning one three, four or five years from now and who knows how it will have evolved by then?  Maybe it will be capable of shooting video, maybe a microlens array will be standard issue in all high-end SLR cameras, or it could be dead and buried, overtaken by another technology.

Who can tell?



Out and About in the Countryside

It was a nice day, and I just happened to be out in the Tipperary countryside, so I thought you might like a few pictures instead of the usual ranting.

Favourites Photography

Waterford Tall Ships Photography

Here’s a big welcome to our friend the Bolted Nut, who finally came on board and sent this collection of photos from the Waterford Tall Ships weekend.


Click on the picture for the full gallery

And by popular demand, a few shots from last year.


























































Bock's People Favourites Photography

Tom Collins’s 3 — Nancy Blakes 2

The game of the century.

No.  The game of the millennium.

A clash of Titans.

A veritable — STOP!!!  Scratch that shit.

A hard-fought match between middle-aged heroes and aspiring young tyros ended in a narrow victory for the oldies, ably marshalled by extremely ancient athlete and impresario Nicky Woulfe, despite a last-minute super-sub intervention from world-renowned – sorry, well-known – pub-owner, Donal Mulcahy, who slotted home a heart-breakingly late goal that failed to save Nancy’s blushes.

The contest was notable for an outstanding chip of the keeper from the kick-off.  David Beckham is reported to have commented, Well I never!

Following his Maradona-like strike, Mr Mulcahy provided a heart-stopping celebration which the proprietor of this site fully expects to earn him a large amount of dosh to suppress.  In all fairness, however,  Mr Mulcahy made up for it by filling everyone with beer and burgers at his newly-acquired establishment, Tom Collins’s Oyster Bar.

Here’s a gallery from the match, which may or may not contain photos of Mr Mulcahy’s extravagant display.  Click on the pic.


Favourites Images Limerick Milk Market

Imelda May at Limerick Milk Market

Here’s a few shots from the Imelda May concert at Limerick’s Milk Market, a venue shaping up to be among the best in the country.

Imelda was outstanding, and full marks to Mick Dolan for putting on another hugely successful show.  This is the second gig under the big top, and the second time a band has left the stage grinning ear to ear.

Full marks also to Imelda’s security consultant for the best stand-up comedy of the year.   Keep talking into that sleeve, kid.