28 Mar 2016

28th March 2016 Got to film an offender or three.


Monday 28th 41-50F, 5-10C, bright and rather breezy with 45mph gusts and rain promised for later. Yesterday was another day of almost, total physical inactivity. Though I have put my Sony AS-15 action camera on charge. It takes about four hours via USB. I plan to fix the camera somewhere on my person where it can be started without hesitation when the need arises. Western gunslinger style, if you like. It must also be pointed at the area of interest or there really isn't much point. This is not remotely as easy as you might think. So some considerable practice may be necessary.  A row of bottles on the fence as I practice my "draw" may be slightly optimistic given my usual lethargy in these matters.

Last time I tried the camera I usually had to press the button and then turn the camera on its side just to see if it was recording. Which is a bit daft when LEDs cost so very little and consume so little power. But then Sony just wanted to get into the action cam market ASAP and nobody at the factory dared question the poor design. Or they would have been expected to fall on their screwdrivers for disloyalty.

My rides are simply far too long and [visually] boring to record the whole thing. Not to mention how tediously boring it is to watch the resulting video from having the camera on a handlebar mount.

It is ironic that the little Denver AC-1300 is a far better camera [in some ways] and one third the size of the Sony but cost only small change in comparison. Even the Sony's supporting brackets are more suitable for industrial heavy lifting than carrying a few grams of plastic camera around. While the brackets and clamps provided with the Denver were completely incompatible with the waterproof camera case! The accessories neither remotely fit in size, nor can be fitted anyway, due to the projecting case closure clamp. All I can do is hold the camera by hand which is decidedly limiting for an action camera despite having three hands! It also takes forever to download even short .avi videos from the camera.  

The Sony does have image stabilization but produces ridiculously lurid skies, hates bright sunlight and steams up readily in its waterproof protective case. So I quickly gave up on it as a ridiculously  expensive, white [but black] elephant. It also recorded nothing whatsoever of its audible environment. Preferring instead to practice a rattling roar from mechanical noise and road shocks transmitted through the massive handlebar clamp! Subtlety was obviously not in its design brief.

A later [less waterproof] housing is much smaller and slightly less obvious on the trike and is supposed to be able to record more ambient sounds. Opening up the protective case, by drilling a few carefully paced holes, to let the steam out and sounds in, only results in the deafening roar of wind noise. I have tried an open clamp with the exposed camera but [again] the slightest breeze records as an awful roar of wind noise even while it is sitting completely still on a tripod. So that idea didn't float either.

Sony must have been amazed that idiots like me would actually pay for such a desperately compromised bur still expensive camera. But then none of the reviews I read online were remotely honest about all the shortcomings. With the original and essential waterproof case it was impossible to do anything with the camera once it was in its [usually steamed up] housing! Nor could it take pictures underwater because the lens cover was curved [instead of flat] so the water and air acted just like as a strong lens to make everything foolishly fuzzy! Dogh! The later, and smaller case has rubber buttons to allow changes in settings without opening the case but still needs a separate and expensive "flat plate" purchase to use the "underwater" case for taking videos [cough] underwater. Dugh?

Only now in 2016 has Sony AS55 finally listened to the complaints of owners and made the base flat so it doesn't fall over. Dugh? Only now does the waterproof case finally have a flat lens cover as standard. Dogh? Only now has it a parallel view of the menus instead of an endless series with only one item on the screen at a time and multiple button pressing sequences to get anywhere. Sony listens? What absolute crap! 

However, recent close calls, at the hands of deranged drivers, suggests that I start posting my AS-15 road trip failures on YT and to hell with the "rules" about driver's right to absolute privacy, so help me god!

Naturally I shall NOT name my videos with the offender's registration plate number as do the cycling YT vloggers in the UK. If I post the videos as mere records of my rides then if mayhem should happen to break loose [however repeatedly] then "our hero" can hardly be blamed if the psycho morons were "accidentally" caught on camera. If said mayhem results in my being tortured by Danish modern "art" in some hospital, or other, then I will hopefully have proof of the perp's identity hidden away in my camera. Though whether the police will even bother to look is quite another matter. It is difficult to find enough police man hours when the drugs, round the clock politic-ooze protection and the immigrant-terrorist scene having to be monitored so constantly.

It is a well known fact that the Mk1, human bod, tends to match their behaviour to perceived reward and punishment. As does the common or garden, habitually crap-poor driver. If they speed [illegally] they get a nice kick of adrenaline and the journey is shortened. Chalk up several reward points per mph extra on top of the legal speed limit. Now add the [almost] total lack of road policing in rural Denmark and the rewards come both thick and fast. [And, in equal measure.] Rewards, for poor driving, obviously outweigh punishment almost 99.99999% of the time! As is completely obvious from the general standard of driving behaviour and highly illegal average speeds. One can only presume that the politic-ooze [N.B. NOT the police] prefer it that way to avoid losing even more voters at their pointless elections for who can blatantly lie the most and keep a straight face while enjoying ample monetary reward, 6 star accommodation and being the center of attention on Danish TV News but nowhere else on Earth.  

The Danish police occasionally set up a few speed cameras, here and there ,and then catch literally thousands of illegal speeders [?] in an hour. Often including quite a few banned drivers amongst their vast haul. The cameras clearly identify the person behind the wheel so there is no easy get-out clause for the habitual drunks who can still afford to stump up for an "ambulance chaser" to claim it was the butler at the wheel.

My car has been hit three times from behind at traffic lights by drunken drivers and scraped twice in car parks by drunken drivers in nearly two decades. So, if you spread that across the whole country, drunk driving must be a popular national sport. I have had numerous alcoholic colleagues who drank and drove on a daily basis. And crashed fairly often too! Mind that cat! It seems almost commonplace to drive while banned in Denmark according to the news reports following a police camera "sting." Which means the drunks must also drive without insurance, tax or regular vehicle safety tests. There is obviously no cross referencing when a vehicle is purchased provided that the driver is able to physically hand over the cash. The vehicle only has to be bought my a friend or relative and the drunk can then go on drink driving until their next crash. Or next court appearance following a camera blitz.

I am often tempted to set up a camera on one of the local blind corners to actually count the numbers of drivers who need the entire opposite lane as they overshoot. Not to mention the hundreds of lazy arses too tired to go all the way around exactly the same corners. So that they too are in completely the wrong, but opposite lane, on every blind corner. This despite double white line markings for miles. A further irony is that some of them could easily pass each other but in each other's lanes! I kid you not! Many international container lorry drivers find it impossible to stay within the white lines while chatting with the world on their hand-held mobile phones. While simultaneously rat-running on completely unsuitable roads thanks their cheapo [car type] GPS systems.

Have camera will travel? We shall see. My morning walk was interrupted by a dog walker parked on the track to the woods. He had a small dog running loose on the prairie and it was dashing around like a total lunatic. The dog's remote control had obviously packed up. Which I found highly amusing. I filmed my progress through the woods on the little Denver because the Sony was still charging hours after I plugged it in. I doubt the Denver video will be worth a look without stabilization. First I have to find suitable software to be able to watch the videos. Both Picasa and Media Player refuse to play them but what do you expect in 2016 with a very recent W10 computer? Make viewing easy and automatic for the user? Are you kidding? This is Microsoft we are talking about!

Later I saw my first hare of the year impersonating a square rock on which somebody had obviously scraped their muddy boots. I stared at it several times through my binoculars before it finally got bored with me and trotted slowly away. A large bird of prey looked on but was not tempted by the obvious, furry breakfast. The sunshine was gradually being reduced by thin, high cloud while the wind went on increasing. A mountain biker went past in a day-glow suit standing up on the pedals to make forward progress into a 15m/s, 30mph headwind. A set of aero extensions wouldn't have gone amiss! An MTB, or roadster, has almost double the drag of a forward-leaning bod on a sports or racing bike according to bicycle science in the 1990s.

I watched nearly two hours of a very dated [1991?] documentary on YT through my Chromecast on the normal TV yesterday. Just as a change to the usual boredom of watching films on a computer screen from less than 3' away. "The Bicycle: A celebration of the invention." In a strange, square format for CRT TVs with rather poor picture quality. Encyclopedic in scope, there was lots of fascinating technical stuff and plenty of old machines to enjoy in Low D. I had no idea recumbents were being tried as early as the 19th century. Shame they were banned for being far too efficient or things might have been very different by now. Ballantine and Burrows both had a look in.


Well worth a watch if you have a couple of hours to kill on a rainy Easter Sunday. What stuck in my mind was the [LWB recumbent owning engineering professor] from MIT saying that the cycling authorities strangulation of progress had all but destroyed cycle manufacturer's ability to innovate. Which had made talented engineers look elsewhere for employment. That same cycling authority which can look back with pride on a century of continuous drug abuse and corruption. I followed that film with a 1945 Raleigh propaganda video of the dark satanic mills before it all went horribly wrong. So now I know how to forge steel cranks whether I need to or not. Still, both videos were interesting and well produced for their time, however odd the hairstyles.

Which is more than I can say for my two dreadful Denver AC-1300 videos of my walking though the woods and the subsequent descent from the same. A cross somewhere between Quasimodo and a damaged tripods from War of the Worlds would have been smoother as I seemingly lunged from one foot to the other. While jerking the camera about unintentionally with every single step I took! My deliberate counting of 1 thousand, two thousand, three ... as I panned helped slow things down, but not nearly enough. I shall have to knock up a lightweight "steadycam" for the Denver to reduce the violent wobbles. The AC-1300 is so light it won't need much in the way of a pendulous counterweight. I just wish I'd had the discipline to turn the videos off again before the motion sickness really set in! Burp! ;-)

Another rest day watching trees bending to the wind and rain streaking diagonally across the windows from my computer desk.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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