Sunday, November 17, 2013

Barefoot running update

Barefoot running isn't as easy as I thought it would be, probably because I'm older & my muscles & tendons aren't as supple as they used to be.

I got sore, rested, got unfit (& lazy) and became demotivated.

While travelling in the car recently I heard a person talking about how he learned to run on the internet... this seemed crazy!  I mean, do we need the internet to teach us to walk?  I don't think so... although I was intrigued, especially when he mentioned a technique called POSE running.

I checked it out & gave it a go.  I really connected with it.  For me, it clicked when I felt like I was falling forward as I was running.

If you've tried barefoot running or minimalist running and it didn't work for you, try researching POSE running technique, then give it a go or go to a clinic.  It's taught me how to run... maybe I should learn how to walk too!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A photographer on vacation

What lenses should I take?

Should I take my tripod?

Do I take a DSLR or a point & shoot?

The first question should be: why am I taking my camera on holiday?  Is it to capture memories or to feature pictures in a magazine?

Most people take a camera on holiday to capture & share memories of their travels.

If you are heading into extreme climates you will need to consider specialist gear, but for most people going on vacation it's best to take less.

Many people who take tripods don't use them.  My advice is not to take it.  You will regret your decision either way, but at least if you don't take it you wont have any hassles.  If you really need one you could borrow one, take a small one or just rest the camera on a table.

A good quality point & shoot camera is a brilliant option.  You will get good quality photos, have good zoom & they are very compact.  Choose one that is better than your camera phone though.

If you decide you want better quality photos then the DSLR will be your weapon of choice.

Changing lenses is a real pain when on vacation & you generally want to avoid this, but this means making compromises.  On my next holiday I'm only going to take my 15-85mm Canon lens on my cropped sensor.  This is all I really needed.  Sure I couldn't zoom in on the hilltop castles but I just re-thought my shot & was happy with the results.

These are the things I learnt from my last trip:
1. Less is best - both in terms of gear & shots
2. Have enough memory cards - but you can always buy more later
3. Take the shot, then make the shot - Grab the picture when you can, but then try & get the shot you want
4. Delete quickly - try & only keep the shots you want to share otherwise the computer gets cluttered
5. Use a shoulder strap for comfort & conveience - rather than a neck or hand strap
6. Get the right size bag - not too big or too small - just right
7. Be a tourist in your own town - go out with your gear & test it before you go away
8. Keep the lens clean from dust & grime
9. Remember to enjoy the holiday - don't let your only view be through the viewfinder
10. If you don't get the perfect shot buy a postcard or painting
11. Get in the right spot for sunrises & sunsets - they create magic moments

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Best iPad business applications

I consider the following iPad apps as the best I have used so far.  Hopefully this saves you wasting time & money on apps that don't deliver.

I use these iPad business apps every day

For taking notes I recommend NOTABILITY
This app is easy to use with the keyboard, or the handwriting tool which works extremely well, especially with a decent iPad stylus.  The handwriting feature is easy to use once you get the sizing right for your style of writing.

For managing PDFs & filling in forms I recommend PDF EXPERT
This app is very good for filling in forms and getting a customers signature.  I find the typing is easier & better than the handwriting, but the customer signature feature is very useful.  Again - find a stylus that you like.

For business reading I use the KINDLE
It's easy to buy books from Amazon and having books to read on the go is great.  Remember - The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them -

I have found the best organiser for me is PI PRO
The integration & functionality of this application is no surprise given that the developer has such a long history in personal organisers.

For freehand drawing I use SKETCHBOOK PRO
This is a flexible & easy-to-use app that enables you to draw or paint whatever you want.

For staying connected I use FLIPBOARD
It's connected to major social & news feeds making it easy to know what's going on.

The browser I prefer at the moment is CHROME
This is usually I personal preference though.

If you want a decent stylus, you could try the TARGUS model.  It's simple but comfortable.  The only downside is the top which has slightly sharp corners & makes me nervous about a customer signing the iPad with the wrong end.  I also have a 2 in 1 pen & stylus, but the stylus end is awkward to use due to the clip & wider end.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

iPad task management

What a waste of time!

Searching through all the reviews to find a suitable task manager/ time manager for my iPad.

My criteria was:
- It needs to be simple
- I'm prepared to buy an app
- I don't want to waste money though
- It needs to be credible

After researching the various options I narrowed my choices to:
- Remember the milk
- Wunderlist
- Pocket informant

I decided to start with Remember The Milk as it looked simple, it was free & I wasn't ready to reorganise my whole life with a day planner even though I've tried them before.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The truth about barefoot running

I went for my first barefoot run today and this is what I've learnt:
1. Get good shoes with enough room to spread your toes.
2. Socks are OK
3. Take it slow
4. Listen to your body
5. Keep going...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My favourite apps updated

The world of iphone apps is always changing & I've got some new favourites.

My current top 10 apps are:
1. Hipstamatic - unchanged
2. Scrabble - unchanged
3. Safari - unchanged
4. Flashlight - unchanged
5. Tom Tom navigation - unchanged
6. SimpleMind+ - unchanged
7. Apple's Camera - This app is now much better & faster. You can even get to it without unlocking the phone which makes it much faster.
8. Project 365 - This is an excellent app to capture the magic moment of each day - sort of like a photo journal. I use Hipstamatic to take the photo & upload to Project 365.
9. Flipboard - The most amazing news reader/ feed app that has ever been invented. This is a must-have app for iPhone. Just the best way of cutting through the clutter.
10. Angry Birds - Made it back into my top 10 list with the latest update with new levels.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Entry level DSLR

Are you ready to step up to the next level of photography but worried about the complexity a DSLR?

Worry no more... there are a few options available:
1. Firstly, forget about entry level DSLRs - get the next step up otherwise you'll regret wasting your hard earned money on a very basic camera.
2. Consider a micro four thirds camera if you are wanting the convenience of a smaller camera you are more likely to take everywhere.
3. Don't dismiss upgrading your camera phone & using one of the excellent applications such as Hipstamatic or Instagram to help develop your photographic eye.

I decided to buy a Canon EOS 600D (also known as Kiss X5 or Rebel T3i). I like the versatility that allows me to let the camera pick the best setting, or allows me to choose the setting I want. It has art filters plus a great video function with an articulated screen which enables a more artistic element to shots without the need to get on the ground or a ladder to get in the air.

So far I have been very happy with the quality of the colors & the clarity of the shots. The camera feels comfortable & can be easily handled in one hand. The kit lens provides good versatility & enables me to get a good feel for other lenses I might need depending on the shots I'm taking.

You can check out some of my shots on Flickr - It's easy to see when I upgraded my camera -