Ian's Home Page
Email: wibble436-web2DELETE_THIS_BIT@yahoo.co.uk (Delete the text "DELETE_THIS_BIT" from the address)

Hello, and welcome to my small part of the internet. It now looks like the search engines have finally managed to make it into the small nooks and crannies where my pages are hidden, so maybe some more people will find their way on here.

Interests

Photography

I got back into this after quite an absence. At the old house I used to have a darkroom set up in a small bedroom where I used to produce black and white prints. I began to get a little bored with it after a while. Partly due to the amount of effort required to produce each print, and partly because I didn't have any ventilation in the darkroom and the fumes were not very pleasant. When we moved house I never really had the inclination to set up another darkroom.

Now that digital cameras have come down in price somewhat, and since I received some extra money at work from some free shares, I decided to get one and restart my old hobby. I bought an Olympus 2040Z, which I'm quite impressed with. Of course the lens (40-120mm) is more limited than what I had before (28-200mm) on the old SLR but it will do for now. Click here for some more information about my 2040Z.

I've put together a couple of galleries containing some of my photos. Click on the following links to look at them.

Using JavaScript (to open new browser window) Non-JavaScript (normal link)
Various assortment Various assortment
Autumn 2001 Autumn 2001

I found lots of useful information about digital photography on this site: Digital Photography For What It's Worth (dpFWIW) Home Page.

EGG - Easy Gallery Generator

I've written a freeware gallery generating program, called EGG, which I used to create the galleries above. Click here to get more information about it.

Video Editing

I got a camcorder (8mm) ages ago, and found it very difficult to try to cut bits out by stopping and starting tapes. So I decided to get a video editor for my PC. I got the Studio DC10 Plus. Quite amazingly it worked pretty much out of the box (most of the time at least), although I have spent many hours since tearing my hair out trying to get it to do things that it is supposed to do. It seems I am lucky in that it does actually record video without crashing the PC (which seems to be a common complaint). But the software seems to "wear out" after a while and need reinstalling (seems very strange to me). I suspect there are many problems with all the other video editing kits around too. It seems to be one of the most temperamental pieces of hardware to try to fit in a PC.

I've since upgraded my motherboard, and now the DC10 thinks it's running in NTSC instead of PAL. I'm going to have to spend time fiddling and poking.

I've found a good site with lots of useful information:  Mike Shaw's Video Tips for Studio Software.

3D Animations

I quite fancied the idea of messing about with this but never really got into it. It always looked too complicated and difficult to learn. But then one day I stumbled onto Blender, a free 3D modelling and animation package (this was while looking at some pages on Video editing - someone had used Blender to do Star Wars style credits scrolling). When I first ran the program I hadn't got a clue what I was doing, and it was impossible to learn without actually reading up about it. But there were plenty of tutorials available which finally began to make some sense after a few hours.

Blender has now gone open source, and is being rapidly developed. There is an active community of Blender users (Blenderheads), on the site, http://blenderartists.org/forum/

I've had two goes at the Internet Ray Tracing Competition, and managed to get third place and fourth place with an "honorable mention" for Artistic Merit. To view my animations click on the pictures below (they are 5MB each).

To get to the competition home page click on the following link: IRTC.

Poems

I sometimes write poems. Not very often, though. I wrote most of them several years ago, but occasionally spurt out the odd one now and then. If you want to have a look at what I consider to be my better attempts (the worst ones will remain hidden for all time) click on the following link. Look at Ian's Poems.

Other Stuff

For a list of things that I like click here.

For a list of things that I dislike click here.

I have compiled a list of Amazing Facts - click on the link to view them.

Here is a little quiz entitled Identify Ian's Body Parts - why not have a go?

Bits and Bobs

I shall now lapse into various uncoordinated wibbling...

Did you know that there appears not to be a single mention of the word "pumfit" anywhere on the internet? In fact no one but my wife and I seem to know what one is. Maybe I'll get round to making a page about pumfits one day. Keep your eyes peeled. Actually, a few more pumfits have popped up in the years since I originally wrote this. There are now 11, mostly people's names, and a few odd looking ones.

In my days at Birmingham University I joined the paper plane society. The idea was to get a paper plane to fly from the stage at the front of the debating hall right to the far back wall, and hence earn the title of "Backwaller". I think it was on the first "meeting" or maybe the second, I managed to make a plane that did this no less than 14 times - an event hitherto unheard of. But my moment of glory was not to last very long. Soon after that the society folded (groan), and I was relegated back into the ranks of the great unknown one more.

I once saw a tree. I don't mean just looked at it, I mean really saw it. As I was being driven past it in a car, I looked out of the window as we went past it, and I saw it - the whole tree, complete.

Whilst on one of my many trips to CERN in Geneva I discovered some flying slugs. For some strange reason no one would believe that I had seen these odd little creatures, no matter now hard I tried to convince them. When I say slugs, I mean they looked like slugs. I think they were actually some kind of moth. They had a long brown slug shaped body and two antennas that stuck out eyes on stalks. Their wings beat so fast that you could not see them (like humming birds) so they just looked like a kind of furry flying slug. I've since found out that these things are actually Hummingbird Hawk Moths.

How come I've got so many odd socks? The last time I sorted them all out I had 14 odd ones. I have a theory about this. I reckon that socks breed. The chances are that two different socks will get it together and produce a cross-breed that doesn't match any others. Then after a while the parent socks get old and die. That just leaves me with an ever increasing pile of odd socks. It would also explain how some of the odd ones don't look like anything I've ever worn before. I have now given up trying to match up my socks into pairs after they have been washed - life is too short. So now I often end up wearing odd socks.

I've seen all traffic light colour combinations except for red and green. There's the normal everyday ones (red, green, amber, red and amber). Then I've seen all three colours on together - which seems to happen fairly often when they break down. I've seen all of them off, which happens even more often. Then I once saw green and amber together - something must have gone really wonky inside for that to happen. Now I'm just looking for red and green together and I'll have seen all possibilities, and will be able to die happy.

I once saw a car number plate that was almost the same as my own. At the time my car had the number plate E631 YRA, and the car in front of me had E631 YRM. Amazing, or what?

floopydoopyhoopy.

Links to interesting sites

A site about how to do things (like buying a ferret): Welcome to eHow.com How things get done.

The Internet Ray Tracing Competition - Still and animation competition for 3D artists (no prizes).

Useful reviews for hardware and software and other interesting stuff: Welcome to CNET! - CNET.com.

Multimap.com: Online Maps to Everywhere. (That says it all really).

My brother's site: http://www.btinternet.com/~neillysane/.

Northern Computer Markets - List of computer fairs in the north of England. Good for picking up those PC bargain bits.

Hatrack River - The Official Web Site of Orson Scott Card - One of my favourite author's sites.

http://sm6.sitemeter.com/default.asp - This seems quite a good web page counter. It gives a fair few statistics and you can get emailed reports of visits. You can't have an invisible one unless you pay for it, but the little logo isn't very obtrustive. You can have some different styles too.

http://guestbook.sparklit.com - Get a free guestbook from here. I used this for the one below. You can make the colours match your own pages, which is nice.

http://www.straightdope.com - Lots of answers to assorted questions - updated daily (ish).

Guestbook

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Last updated: 10 Mar 2007 23:14