• Photographs

    Welcome to my personal website. Here I blog every now and then about odds and sods, been doing so since early 2000 in some form, good theory. I am also an avid amateur photographer and it is something I enjoy during any spare time I get. I have  a few on display at different locations, looking for more visit my photography site here.

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  • The Next Web Conference 2019

    The Next Web conference 2019 is all over and done, two very fun packed and interesting couple of days and now a week later it is a good time to reflect the time there. I’ve been a couple of times before, missed last year but that was fine as it made this year even more interesting. This was definitely the best one I have been to and a very inspiring couple of days.

    17,000+ people descending on Amsterdam for the two days, what I hadn’t realised was arriving on the Wednesday night it was also the semi final of the European Cup between Ajax and Spurs so even busier.

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    As with previous years the main host on the main stage was Pep Rosenfeld, a very entertaining and straight to the point guy along with the founders Boris and Patrick. In the intro he welcomed everyone to ‘nerd Disneyland’. So what is the TNW conference? It’s a two day conference all about tech, which is in its 14th year and has continued to grow, this year at a new location in Amsterdam across the river.

    Lots going on at the site and if you want parties there are plenty in Amsterdam post the shows. There were eight stages of different sizes and presentations, workshops and various talks. You get big names from the industry, such as ABN Amro, Red Bull, down to the much smaller places. Discussions cover a massive amount of

    Now for those of you that don’t know. TNW Conference is a two day conference all about tech. There are eight stages where presentations, talks and panel discussion are being held by big names in the tech industry. And it’s not only about the bits and bytes, but also about how it helps you in business. With tracks about Retail, Marketing, HR, Growing your business, Machine Learning, AI and more there is something for everyone and so much to see. There is a wide range of people attending the show with plenty of companies showcasing their wares.

    One of the big sponsors at the event, apart from ABN Amro, was Porsche who not only had a Mission e on display but also had a ferriswheel shipped in for the two days!

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    Day 1

    A fantastic opening set on the main stage with a couple of dancers with LED display moving around to the music and the background following their movements, you wouldn’t think it was a tech show to start with. Introductions aside it was time to get on with the conference talks. Most talks tend to be 15-20 minutes but there were some workshops longer. The challenge you have is deciding which of the many ones to attend.

    The first session choice was incredibly each, stay at the main stage and listen to Guy Kawasaki. I’ve been interested in Guy for many years just find him such an interesting, happy, positive and inspirational person. He was in fine form and was talking about his recent book ‘Wise Guy’ about his experiences in small and large companies building them up. Very good and simple advice from someone who has been there and done that and it is easy to tie his comments back to your own experiences.

    Then it was time for a coffee sitting on the dock site looking across to the main part of Amsterdam. Decided to head back to the main stage after that and listened to Raj Samani, Chief Scientist from McAfee talk about ‘Cybercrime: The biggest threat in the digital age’. Fortunately it wasn’t a push for McAfee just an interesting overview of what is happening today in the area and the challenges that exist out there, if anyone was there who was not in touch with Cybercrime this talk would have woken them up.

    At the ABN Amro tent there was a talk about ‘Future of Payments’ given by Yvonne Duits, and it was worth attending. The theme was the convenience of payments in the future and some of the work they had done to trial new approaches to wearable technology. They had run trials of wearable technology that was actually more appealing to the general public than some of the gizmos around today, watches, bracelets that people would have been happy to wear and easy to pay for goods.

    After another couple of talks we then headed to back to the main stage for the final part of the day, Chivas Venture Global Final. This is a fund that is awarded to new companies that have convinced the judges they have an idea that can be scaled. The judging has been going on for a few weeks and the event int he evening was the final 5. They all had three minutes to convince they judges about their idea. All five were very interesting and this is where you really get to see some innovation coming in and most of the time simple innovation. The winner was Javier Larragoiti, Co-Founder and CEO of Xilinat. It was a well deserved winner and he took home $310k! However the one that really interested me was Tykn and their CEO Tey, who also walked away with $50k.

    Day 2

    Again so many sessions to choose from on Day 2 and had to be quite tough on the choices made. Started the day back at the ABN Amro tent listening to Fabien Casteran, Head of Information Security at ABN Amro, giving a talk about ‘Give your workforce security superpower!’. It was the sort of talk that you would expect any new and existing employee at a company to receive but probably don’t. It was interesting listening to his view on things and also highlighting the 2.9m vacanies in Cyber Security that exist in Europe, so if you looking for something to focus on this could be a good choice. The biggest shame is that he only had 15 mins and only scratched the surface, would have been even more interesting if he had another 30 mins.

    One of the early talks we stopped by, albeit late arriving, was ‘The secret that’s getting us back into high street shops’ by Nick Brackenbury, co-founder of NearSt. A simple yet effective idea about shops hooking up to his system and showing live stock levels. So if you are in an area looking to purchase something then lookup online and for those shops involved updating stock levels you can find out immediately where the item is. Now sure this needs shops to take part but this is definitely something to watch in future.

    I had originally come to this stage to see a talk from Jack Constantine, Chief Digital Officer of Lush talk about ‘The future of retail: What Amazon can’t do’. Like most people when you hear Lush you just think bath salts you don’t immediately think that they would be a leader and innovator in technology. It is amazing just how much they have done with technology from building their own POS system to an app that means they no longer need to have packaging and signs on goods. In order to cut down on waste they have been running trials where you can walk into a store, point your phone at a product and you then get details about the product including price. Very interesting idea and they had a demo of it there onsite. They also took the very bold step last year to exit social media. Despite having many followers they found the reach of their posts was quite low, but time consuming to manage, yet the reach of the Lush community was far better, let the users promote you. Definitely one of the most interesting talks of the conference.

    One of the final talks of the day on the main stage was just stunning from James Beacham, particle physicist at CERN currently working on the ATLAS Experiment. Firstly he has a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm for what he does. The title of his talk was ‘Solving the mysteries of time and space: What’s outside the universe?’. How to describe the talk is not easy and most of it I didn’t understand but I was enthralled but there is no way I can reflect his message, but always ask the question was a message that came across. He was so good he even got a standing ovation at the end!

     

    Throughout the two days there was a lot of other organisations with displays and talking about what they are up to in the startup market some very interesting. However one of the best stands was the Dutch police. They are probably the friendliest police we have come across and they clearly do a lot with technology and there was a big push showing what they do. They also had a section where they presented their own talks of 15-20 minutes on a wide variety of subjects. We listened to a couple but the one that stood our was ‘Machine Teacher’ by Joeri Peters, who is a data scientist looking at the data the justice system collects and how best to use it. Very interesting talk and an incredibly clever guy, who spoke amazing English like most of his colleagues! The police also had a couple of games on stand including one that meant you could get a hug from a police man or woman, obviously this was popular with a lot of people, wouldn’t get that in the UK!

    So the two days went incredibly quickly and it was certainly inspiring to be around so much enthusiasm and innovation and it is a show I will be returning to in the future.

     

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  • A good start to the year for the cinema

    Since the start of the year it has been a good time for the cinema visits over at Abbeygate Cinema in Bury. So far I have managed eight movies since the start of the year covering a wide variety of subjects, covering;

    • Free Solo
    • Stand & Ollie
    • Green Book
    • Fisherman’s Friend
    • The Aftermath
    • Can You Forgive Me
    • All is True
    • The Favourite

    It’s been a good selection of movies, some much better than others and no turkeys. The top three though are Green Book, Free Solo and Fisherman’s Friend, all for different reasons.

    Green Book – an excellent step back in time to a not so distant past.
    Free Solo – already covered here but heart in your mouth.
    Fisherman’s Friend – a good cheerful story from just a few years ago.

    Most of the others were excellent and a close call for the top three. The most disappointing one was The Favourite, not sure what all the fuss was about.

    aftermath AllIsTrue FishermansFriend Stan&Ollie TheFavourite Green-Book CanYouForgiveMe

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  • Free Solo make sure you see it

    A National Geographic made movie which is both exhilarating and scary at the same time. Not your traditional movie but based on the dream of Alex Honnold, who wanted to climb one of the most challenging rock faces in the world the 3,000ft plus El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, free of a rope. It is probably one of the best movies I have seen in years and even though you know the end result you are on the edge of you seat the whole time, heart beating at the incredibly challenge ahead.

    Interesting character but then to attempt such a challenge I guess you need to be. The filming itself was incredibly and you really feel you are in there in the middle of the action, especially watching him practice the climb with ropes and map out his journey to the top. The cinema was full and everyone was gripped by what was on the screen and remain captivated through to the end. The physical and mental strength required for this climb was amazing.

    It is certainly one that I will watch again soon, if you haven’t seen it go along and watch it now. Trailer is here and definitely a 10/10 for this one.freesolo

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  • Weekend of the photos

    This weekend has come around very quickly, it doesn’t seem that long ago that I decide to set myself a challenge of displaying some photos somewhere in Bury. Well the time is here and this Saturday I will be in Abbey GardensPetrus Wine Bar and have a bunch of photos on display. It has been very difficult to narrow down the thousands of photos to just a few which I am happy to put on show. Be interesting to see what people think and look forward to meeting some friends who haven’t seen for a while. So if you around between 3 – 6 Saturday 16th come along for a bite to eat and a drink. Also get to listen to some cool music from Yogi and the Invasions.

    The photos will remain on show at Petrus for a while if you cannot make it tomorrow.

    A massive thanks to Mark Ellis from Jessops for his great support and advice over the months. Also thanks to everyone else who has given the support I needed.

    My photos are up online at SmugMug.

     

     

     

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  • Exhibition

    AlrPetrus Wine Baready May and the photo exhibition is only a few months away now, in September. I have had to take a different approach now as the Edmund Gallery is no more, so after a lot of thinking I have decided to take a slightly different approach. I will be exhibiting at the Petrus Wine Bar in Whitting Street on Saturday 16th September. With a bit of luck the weather will be dry and sunny in which case there will also be a BBQ in the court yard and some sort of music to lay on. The challenge at the moment is to decide which photos to actually show! The space is smaller than the previous option so I have to think careful about what I want to show so over the next couple of months that will be the main challenge. I have so many to choose from just not sure which ones to go for :) So much other preparation to do in the background though, frames, how to hang them, cost, flyers and need to hook up with Jessops who will be sponsoring the events. Keep an eye here and over the coming weeks will post more information.

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  • Films

    Been a long time posting here but it has been an extremely busy time, but in the past few months have been able to get in and see a few films. Mostly good ones and even watch Rogue One twice :).

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    LaLaLand

     

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  • A 2017 Challenge

    A couple of weeks I decided to set myself a major challenge for 2017, my first photography exhibition. The idea came as I was visiting the Edmund Gallery at the Cathedral looking at a painting exhibition. The room is rented out on a weekly basis to anyone looking to hold an exhibition of some sort and after a few enquiries I decided to book a week. So now I have the place from the 29th September 2017 through to the following Thursday.

    Nothing like a good challenge and looking at the place I have my work cut out but looking forward to it and now need to work through the photos I need. Lots more to take and frame and price. Seems a long way off but need to plan it carefully and work out the themes.

    One of the things I am doing is to take photos of the Abbey Gardens at the start of each month to see the season changes.

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  • Bourne, Star Trek and others

    Long time since posted anything on here but then again it has been an incredibly busy couple of months. In between the work and other events going on I have still managed to get to the cinema a few times to keep up to date with what is going on this year. First part of the year not been the best in the past few weeks it has not been too bad and have managed to see Bourne, Star Trek, Nixon and Elvis, Miles Ahead, Money Monster.Bourne

    Bourne, first movie in over a decade and still good. The first three are always on TV and a good watch. I loved it, good action and just as expected. A bit of a mishmash of the previous films but the action continues and well worth watching. Coming from an IT background some of the IT related comments make you cringe but it is for the movie so they have to make it all sound impressive. They have certainly left it open for another film in a couple of years time. Well worth the Saturday evening with feet up at the Abbeygate.

    startrekSo what was it last weekend? Star Trek Beyond but had to go to Cineworld to see it and boy can see why I never go there any more the place is dreadful, staff don’t care, dirty etc. Third one in the new franchise and as with the others just as good. A bit more comedy in it this time and I suspect that is down to the involvement of Simon Pegg in the writing. Another fast paced action film and good fun to watch, nice and easy. well worth it. Again left in a position which means they can do another one which I presume they will. I will definitely be watching this one again when it goes to Abbeygate.

    poster-elvis-nixon-largeNixon and Elvis was brilliant much much better than I expected and if you haven’t seen it go and see it. It was a surprise to see so few people in there though and not sure why. It was a very funny and entertaining movie. Will watch it again when released online.

    Back in June went to see Miles Ahead, about Miles Davis. I have liked his music or many years but have never known anything about the main who produced it. So watching this movie it was amazing to find out so much about his life and just how screwed up he became. Incredibly well made and acted and certainly another one well worth watching when you get a chance.

    Next one at Abbeygate will be The Life of Brian in Augustmiles.

     

     

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  • Does the world ever change?

    logoIf you are in Amsterdam over the coming weeks, before the 10th July and have a couple of spare hours then I strongly recommend you head over to a very good exhibition at the De Nieuwe Kark in central Amsterdam. It is a fantastic building both outside and inside and just visiting for that is worth it. However at the moment World Press Photo have an exhibition in the building promoting the work of visual journalists. It is an exhibition full of amazing photographs from around the world covering many happy subjects but also some incredible sad and moving topics.

    As you walk in there is an impressive board showing the photo of the year from 1955 through to present day and there are many on there which you will recognise. There is also a new project ‘Streets of the World‘ showing photographs from Jereon Swolfs as he has visited most countries in the world over the past seven years. Well worth spending time looking at these and the large projected display they have on show.
    DSC_4738DSC_4737As you move around the place the photos continue to make big impact ranging from those taken many years ago to some as recent as April. Many of the photos show the hardship people continue to live through in different parts of the world and the crazy behavouir of human kind. I took a couple of snaps of just a few of the photos to give you an idea of what to expect.

    The Syrian conflict is represented in several photographs and it is looking into the eyes of people that is so haunting, just a few weeks ago. Also the terrible impact of conflicts around the world and it is the children who suffer the most along with the very poor.

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    Sometimes the photographer is just in the right place at the right time.

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    Don’t forget to admire the beauty of the building while you are wondering around it compliments the photography incredibly well.

    One thing that jumps out after looking at the exhibition is just how little the world has changed over the years. Going back to the photographs from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s you see the same themes continuing, the same pain in people’s eyes, the same tragedy happening across the world. Have we really progressed that much? Some ways yes, many no.

    Overall a fantastic exhibition, go and see it, details here.

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