Canterbury

Moss growing on an old pub in Canterbury.

We spent a few pleasant days in Canterbury before Christmas last year. An historic town in the south-east of the United Kingdom.

The daylight hours we had were short. It was deep winter and the sun was setting around three in the afternoon. Something of a surprise arriving directly from a fairly sunny central France.

Cathedral by Day and Night

The cathedral was not our main destination in the city. We have seen plenty of cathedrals and the price made it difficult to justify another.

Of course, that did not stop us walking around the grounds and taking photos by both day and night.

Looking up at Canterbury cathedral at night.
Looking up at Canterbury cathedral at night.
Looking up at Canterbury cathedral at night.
Looking up at Canterbury cathedral at night.
Entrance to Canterbury cathedral.
Entrance to Canterbury cathedral.
Canterbury cathedral at night.
Canterbury cathedral at night.
Laneway leading to Canterbury cathedral.
Laneway leading to Canterbury cathedral.
Canterbury cathedral in the daytime.
Canterbury cathedral in the daytime.
Looking up at Canterbury cathedral in the day.
Looking up at Canterbury cathedral in the day.
Grand entrance to the cathedral lined with royalty.
Grand entrance to the cathedral lined with royalty.
The reigning queen and prince of the United Kingdom.
The reigning queen and prince of the United Kingdom.

Canterbury Castle

A ruined Norman era castle sits in a park within Canterbury. Visitors are free to wander in and around. There is a flight of spiral stairs to climb to reach a small look-out.

Old castle in Canterbury.
Old castle in Canterbury.
Inside a castle within Canterbury.
Inside a castle within Canterbury.
Stairwell within a ruined castle.
Stairwell within a ruined castle.

The town itself is full of old and not so old buildings. The small details of the buildings stood out to me; moss reclaiming a roof and use of sharp dark rock to cover the buildings.

Old house in Canterbury.
Old house in Canterbury.
Detail of an old house in Canterbury.
Detail of an old house in Canterbury.
Waterway passes through Canterbury.
Waterway passes through Canterbury.
Moss growing on an old pub in Canterbury.
Moss growing on an old pub in Canterbury.
Detail of a building in Canterbury.
Detail of a building in Canterbury.
Many buildings were lined with stone.
Many buildings were lined with stone.
Morning view down a shopping street in Canterbury.
Morning view down a shopping street in Canterbury.
Train crosses the street.
Train crosses the street.
Church near a gate to the city of Canterbury.
Church near a gate to the city of Canterbury.
Christmas decorations cross the street.
Christmas decorations cross the street.
Gate at the edge of Canterbury.
Gate at the edge of Canterbury.
Waterway passing through Canterbury.
Waterway passing through Canterbury.

The medieval walls surrounding Canterbury can be walked along. A good starting point is near the bus stop and the views are enjoyable. Modern life has placed a ring road around the walls, which takes away from the external views. Life goes on and such developments keep the city alive.

Medieval city walls of Canterbury.
Medieval city walls of Canterbury.

Secured: From Postcard to Letter

Wooden medieval door.

I have switched this site over to use only secure links. This will mean the site has become inaccessible to some older computers and devices. If you are reading this, then all is well and you have nothing to do but enjoy our updates.

Everything on this site is now served via an encrypted SSL/TLS connection.

Postcards to Letters

The shift is the equivalent of changing from sending postcards and to sending letters sealed within an envelope. Anyone can intercept and read a postcard but it takes a legal order or subterfuge to read a sealed letter.

So while not critical for a personal web site such as TheWorkLife, it is a step in the right direction. The more of the web that is encrypted, the better.

Sudden Failure of Joby GorillaPod Original

Side view of the broken Joby GorillaPod Original

I was about to film a clip as we boarded the high speed train that would take us from Lyon to Lille when my GorillaPod Original tripod broke. The top segment popped off as I was adjusting the position of the camera.

Broken GorillaPod Original tripod
Broken GorillaPod Original tripod

Popping the segment back on did not fix the tripod. Once restored, the segment had lost its grip and no longer resisted the weight of the camera. The design and purpose of the tripod was undermined.

Being less than a year old and thanks to living under European Union product warrantees, a replacement is in the post as I type this – without cost or quibble – direct from Amazon. I was relieved that I had bought from directly from Amazon; their handling of problems is what makes me continue buying from them.

As an aside, I have yet to have Amazon.fr deliver on the estimated date. The support is good but shipping requires patience.

Joby then Amazon

I first contacted Joby using their info@joby.com address and got a quick reply saying to contact another company in France. I had not dealt with this company before. It was a public holiday and the middle of the French holiday season. My heart sank at the idea of dealing with an unknown local French distributor. Rather than follow this run around, I contacted the organisation who sold me the item, Amazon.fr.

It transpires I am lucky. The failure happened while I was holding my camera and nothing more than the tripod broke. My camera was left unharmed. Reading reviews from others suffering this problem, many have trusted their camera to the GorillaPod only to watch it break and for their camera to fall catastrophically to the ground.

Filming and Night Photos

During our days in Lille, I borrowed Megan’s tripod. I discovered that my camera particularly benefits from a tripod when filming and when taking photos at night. Handheld filming is awkward and the mini-tripod makes sweeps and smooth motion easier. At night the tripod helps stabilise the camera for sharper photos.

Learning this, I am pleased to have a replacement on the way. I am however unnerved and wonder what alternatives exist incase this problem recurs. Are there other trustworthy flexible tripods?

Moving Platforms

The narrow stairs and often tiny elevators in French apartments make moving a harrowing task.

Summer is here and our apartment building is in flux. Our floor has largely emptied out. It seems the academic cycle is causing a refresh of tenants in our building.

A moving platform outside the apartment front door.
A moving platform outside the apartment front door.

Moving platforms are a great solution. I have mentioned them before but continue to be enthralled each time I see them in use.

I took some footage of one moving platform and the resulting No more stairs – apartment moves made easy with a moving platform short film is available on my YouTube channel.

Movie Splitter – Custom Splits

Skim to the start and end frame of movie to split.

Movie Splitter was created with a specific purpose in mind. It has been something of a joy to create an application that only had to do one thing and do it well.

Over time however, Movie Splitter has attracted users who want more. The most requested feature being the ability to split a movie into segments of custom lengths.

With the latest update, Movie Splitter v1.2, this most requested (too frequently demanded) feature is available.

Movie Splitter can halve, quarter, and custom split movies.
Movie Splitter can halve, quarter, and custom split movies.
Select a start and end frame of the movie to split.
Select a start and end frame of the movie to split.

As always, please read the full product description. Movie Splitter remains a specialised application and not a general movie editor.

New in Movie Splitter v1.2.0

  • Added ability to create custom sections.
  • Added ability to create new section from a selection of existing sections.
  • Added ability to merge existing sections into one.
  • Added contextual menu to section list.

Movie Splitter and Multilingual Chapter Markers

Miln Movie Splitter for Mac OS X

An update to my MPEG-4/.mp4 splitting application, Movie Splitter, is now available.

Yesterday Apple’s Mac App Store reviewers accepted my latest update to Movie Splitter. The update should be available worldwide in the next 24 hours.

Movie Splitter in the Mac App Store
Movie Splitter in the Mac App Store

This update adds support for multilingual chapters markers. This odd sounding improvement is as strange as you might imagine. It is possible for movie files to include different chapter markers for different languages. In practice this ability seems rarely used.

However, it is possible for chapter markers to be associated with languages you do not use or for an “undetermined” language context.

It is this latter undetermined, und, language context that this update really addresses.

The movie footage from our Canon cameras contains chapter information in the und context. That makes sense, the camera does not involve itself with the specifics of any spoken language being recorded.

Up until OS X 10.11.4, Apple’s AVFoundation framework happily returned und chapter markers when searching for a best match. With OS X 10.11.5, this behaviour changed and und chapters were no longer returned even when they were the only chapter markers available in the movie file. Is this a bug? I am not sure. If it is, waiting for Apple to fix it is not a game I am any longer willing to play.

With the original Movie Splitter, I searched for the chapters best matching your preferred languages – as determined by your locale. In almost every case this worked.

Then OS X 10.11.5 was released and suddenly Movie Splitter was frequently not being given any chapter markers for movies that previously had good results.

With today’s Movie Splitter, I search for chapter markers for every known ISO 639-2 language code known to OS X plus und. Preference is still given to your preferred languages.

This appears to restore the previous in almost every case this worked behaviour and it improves support for splitting movie files containing chapters markers in extraordinary languages.

My thanks to those who reported this problem via e-mail and for their patience as I found and worked around the underlying cause.

Happy movie splitting!

First Flight

The parents waited anxiously calling to their little one. Over the next minutes the calls increased back and forth, then a hop, leap, and flutter.

A little chick was learning to fly outside our window. We were lucky to be in the right place and right time to watch.

Little bird prepares to fly.
Little bird prepares to fly.
Little bird waits before learning to fly.
Little bird waits before learning to fly.
Parent beckons its little one over.
Parent beckons its little one over.

What S Numbers Mean For Safety Footwear

I wear boots and I prefer steel toe capped boots. Recently I bought my first pair online sight unseen.

While researching my choices, I noticed many pairs of boots advertised an S number. Here is what those S ratings mean:

SB
  • Basic safety
S1
  • Closed seat region
  • Antistatic properties
  • Energy absorption of seat region
S2
  • Closed seat region
  • Antistatic properties
  • Energy absorption of seat region
  • Water penetration and water absorption
S3
  • Closed seat region
  • Antistatic properties
  • Energy absorption of seat region
  • Water penetration and water absorption
  • Penetration resistance
  • Cleated outsole
S4
  • Antistatic properties
  • Energy absorption of seat region
S5
  • Antistatic properties
  • Energy absorption of seat region
  • Penetration resistance
  • Cleated outsole

YouTube Content ID Abuse

My latest short film hit the brick wall that is YouTube’s Content ID system. This was the first time I have had an utterly misapplied copyright violation notice.

Other copyright notices have been raised on my videos but those have been for incidental recordings of music playing during public performances. I do not know the legality of those claims but they appear raised by the appropriate licence holder. Those claims are not my focus today.

I published my latest short film with a track of free music provided by The Passion HiFi. The music is appropriately licensed for use on YouTube:

  • Use them for TV, radio, Internet and film productions FREE of charge
  • Use these beats as backing music for your videos on Youtube as long as you state that The Passion HiFi is the copyright holder and the content ID is linked to the same beat on the iTunes store.

Sadly, YouTube’s Content ID system disagreed. A music label called Audiam claim The Passion HiFi’s content as their own – and can collect advertising income on it.

Audiam (label) claim The Passion HiFi's music.
Audiam (label) claim The Passion HiFi’s music.

It is worth noting Audiam is not a music label. Audiam is a company that enforces music licences and collects royalties. They describe themselves as:

Audiam is a music royalty collection agency trusted by the world’s publishers and songwriters.

Who gets to keep the money earned on incorrectly enforced licences?

Is The Passion HiFi represented by Audiam? Maybe but how can I tell? I have tweeted The Passion HiFI and await a reply.

The reply would not have changed my next step.

  • If yes, then new music is needed.
  • If no, then YouTube is in error and new music is still needed.

But knowing would be useful for the future. Should I avoid using tracks from The Passion HiFi? Might Audiam claim everything they produce; I do not know.

Move on.

The original version of my short film is gone. I removed it immediately from YouTube. Better to not give Audiam control. Better to not accept their claim. Better to not have to lodge disputes and risk my YouTube account’s standing.

I am not fighting. There are other choices.

Today I replaced the music and a new version of my Pérouges short film is available to enjoy. This time, I hope, the Content ID system will leave my work alone.

YouTube has a problem. The Content ID system is unbalanced in the favour of the claimed licence holder. The dispute process is broken and high risk for content creators.

I have no solution and propose none. I simply needed somewhere to note this passing moment of frustration.

Back to creating.

Update: 15 August 2016 – I have had no response from @Passion_HiFi.