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Wrong for the right reasons 
Greetings from the garden bar...
It’s too late for me to make a fool out of you. If you know what I mean.
I’ve had little time to prepare for this particular dispatch. Normally I’ll have bookmarked a bunch of stuff to chat about. But after a chunk of the week having me working away or in online meetings for things to come, I’ll have to dip into my diary and photo library as I work my way down this blank page.
Photos and screen shots remind me what’s been happening. I’ll also take a peek at my purchase history. (Expect some Amazon affiliate links behind the images on in text.)
Perhaps VW were managing expectations when they state a range of 215 miles on the ID3. I’ve done much better than that. When you only charge the battery to 80% this is about right. And of course an 80% charge will be better for the battery over time. But on those rare trips when you need a little extra range, you can tell the car to charge to 100%.
245 miles is a very respectable range and my trip to the Wirral and back this week was a breeze. In fact I had around 50 miles left. The overall cost of the trip was around half what I would’ve paid in my old car and was only that expensive as I needed to use a rapid charger. If I’d used the free charger at the local Morrisons I could have done the trip for next to free.
My assignment was in the Wirral collecting video stories in a new assisted living development.
So many interesting people and not enough time. Especially with the residents. Video is sometimes not the best medium though. Especially working on my own. You might think that your subconscious is managing the lighting, framing, exposure, sound and general settings associated with video capture, but are you also focusing 100% on your interviewee? In order to give your whole attention and create rapport that is where the focus should be. Every check of a screen or double-check of the set-up takes you out of the moment, out of the conversation.
This is where I once again sing the praise of audio documenting. A microphone can be an unobtrusive witness to a conversation. It is right there in the middle of the moment, but also easy to ignore.
With no lens and lights to distract, a single microphone and a friendly smile can ease the stories from a nervous sitter.
If you must video, then a relaxed two person team will work better than a lone gun. Especially if the interviewer is left to engage, converse and most importantly listen.
I hope I get the chance to return to the Wirral to capture audio stories. Even as a warm up to get to know someone before setting up camera and lights.
I noticed that Steven Primrose-Smith set off on his epic walk around the world today. He has already had more than his fair share of drama and might even be getting arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. I do hope he can get on the road and put it all behind him. At time of writing the BBC on the Isle of Man are documenting his first steps.
It’s been a good 23 years since I last underwent a multi-month journey with no detailed route in mind… Let alone a multi year trip across borders that might possibly change before he gets there. I remember landing in the USSR only to then leave Russia. Also travelling up through the former Yugoslavia before it had worked out what it might become. The world and it’s borders are always in flux. I’m a little jealous of Steven’s epic journey. Especially the excitement and trepidation of these first steps into the unknown.
We have created a backchannel should he need any technical assistance along the way. There are so many tools that might assist in navigation and connecting with others while on the road. Tools that might also assist in his money raising endeavours. Like this interactive map of local newspapers and hyperlocal websites. I’m sure he’ll get a lot of interest over the next few years. I hope you can also share his journey with your networks.
I feel both blessed and hindered by having my main travelling years before we all became intertwined with the social web. A few treasured journals, a handful of prints and my memories merely hint towards the adventures had. Now-a-days I only need to hop on the bike to the pub and there might be 35 data points logging the journey.
We chatted about what he might be able to do to share his adventures along the way. The main thing is to find that balance between sharing the moment and living it.
The origins of this weird video is explained in a podcast listed below.
Been watching Peaky Blinders. Back to back crisis, non-stop trouble and darker than ever. Here is a NSFW refresher on some of the best lines from the series.
“Risk is a story that we tell ourselves about the future”. How 12th century Genoese merchants invented the idea of risk.
I loved this vignette of Rabbi Israel Dresner, his life, and how he chose to live his last few days.
EditEddy is a tool that not only transcribes your audio but enables you to edit your audio by deleting the text. It’s currently in beta.
I just looked at the Top Ten singles. And listened to them all. At least for a few seconds. I’m under no illusion that I’m part of the current target demographic, but I like to think I can find something interesting in all music. I’ll be honest and say that although I had not heard the majority of the songs before, I found little I thought was different or original. This will show my age but the only track I dwelled on and in fact listened all the way through was a remix of the Down Under by Men at Work which topped the charts when I was 11 years old. Although also nothing new this was an interesting twist on a well known hit.
Not the finest hotel breakfast I’ve had but even a Premier Inn can feel like being on holiday after not being on the road for a while. In all fairness the food was fine. It’s just the vegan sausage masquerading as food that had me pause and wish i’d gone for an extra egg or hash brown.
Last week we had some friends over to stay after they suffered a house fire from an e-cigarette battery spontaneously combusting. It reminded me that I never replaced my old battery charging bag after donating it. I have a fair few Li-ion and LiPo batteries dotted about and although I’m careful not to overcharge or short circuit them, you never know if the cases are hiding some damage.
If you read my amateur radio email you will have seen this, my recent acquisition…
The EasyLonger 72000mAh/266Wh Portable Power Station. As far as I can tell this is well made using the latest technology from a reputable supplier but should this somehow become damaged and unstable I imagine it could create quite the chemical fire.
So when not in use I will be storing and charging it in here…
A LiPo battery safe bag I feel is big enough to store all my lithium batteries. (It’s still in the post)
The London Fire Brigade have a handy page filled with tips to protect yourself against battery fires. Things like:
Always use the charger that came with your phone, tablet, e-cigarette or mobile device.
If you need to buy a replacement, always choose a branded, genuine product from a supplier you can trust. There are lots of fakes out there, and it can be difficult to spot the difference.
Avoid storing, using or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures.
Protect batteries against being damaged – that's crushed, punctured or immersed in water.
Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete – it's best not to leave your phone plugged in overnight for example.
Never cover chargers or charging devices – that includes using your laptop power lead in bed.
When you travel, avoid keeping all your items containing lithium ion batteries together, especially on a plane. Check with your flight carrier for additional information or advice.
Don't overload your sockets – learn more about how much is too much on the fuses and power load page.
Some of my friends thought the Dyson headphones were an April fool joke. Sadly not.
These are the headphones I’m interested in though. The Rode NTH 100’s. Rode’s first set of professional headphones. I already have one pair of closed back headphones the Sony MDR-7506 but they tend to leak sound with the volume up. Interested to see how the NTH 100’s perform.
It’s been a while since I invested in a large photo/video light. Probably about 20 years. But I figured with me being hired to do a little more video work I could justify it.
So I picked up the Neewer NL288 45 w LED light panel.
With an additional rechargeable battery it cost me £91. Not a bad price for something this configurable with remote control and the option to be run off the mains. Only used it for a little while but I had my friend Adrian look over it. He has a lot of experience with portable lighting and gave a nodding approval of my purchase.
I’ll be quite close to a few readers of this email when I pick up my motorbike from Sunset Blvd, LA in a couple of weeks. The closest two pins on the Documentally community map are down as ‘Point 369’ and ‘unknown’. I wonder who you are.
Tomorrow the not so mini @Minimentally becomes a teenager.
Next week i’ll be mostly head down, preparing for my US trip while herding kids who are starting to look after themselves. I’ll also be switching over to sporadic subscriber publications when I travel to the states. So please consider becoming a supporting subscriber if you want to get them in your inbox. Thanks for reading.
“We must be careful not to discourage our twelve-year-olds by making them waste the best years of their lives preparing for examinations.”
~ Freeman Dyson (Not the super-spreader head-hoover guy - this guy)
See you out there.