It’s a toy, not a model!

Since I bought a toy traction engine I’ve been thinking about all sorts of ways to improve it. I’ve already started scratch building a better canopy and have nearly finished making a simple trailer from a kit. In all of this it’s important to remember that it’s a tin-plate toy, not a scale model. Excessive … Read more

Wilesco D415 traction engine kit

Last week, on an impulse, I bought a toy traction engine kit. It’s made by Wilesco, a German company, and I bought it from a German dealer trading on amazon.co.uk as “colludo“. This particular dealer is apparently able to undercut everyone else on Wilesco products by a significant amount. Wilesco make several variations on the … Read more

Upgrading my Raspberry Pi software

In a previous blog post (My first Raspberry Pi – day 3) I described how I’d set up my Raspberry Pi to boot from an external hard disc drive. In that setup I created a “spare” partition to allow easy migration to a new operating system. Now, 2½ years later, it’s time to find out … Read more

Titchener vs. Titchener

Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s “The Archers” might enjoy this. The rest of you should go and read something else. Court report.The case of Mrs. Helen Titchener vs. Mr. Rob Titchener continued yesterday in the Borchester Family Court, Mr. Justice Cocklecarrot presiding. It concerns the custody of the Titcheners’ five year old son Henry. Mr. … Read more

21st Century Photosniper — improved shutter release

In a previous post (21st Century Photosniper) I described various additions I made to a “Stedi Stock” shoulder brace camera mount. These include a remote shutter release cable to allow the camera to be operated while holding the shoulder brace by its handle. The commercial cable release I used contains a single switch, so there … Read more

21st Century Photosniper

I bought my first “proper” camera, a Zenith E, in the late 1970s. At that time I would gaze enviously at adverts for the KMZ Photosniper outfit, a long lensed SLR mounted on a rifle-like shoulder brace. Photograph ©Patrick Stacey I recently happened across the Stedi Stock shoulder brace, designed for use with cameras, telescopes … Read more

Correcting vignetting in digital photographs — introduction

I recently purchased a budget telephoto lens for my Canon EOS 100D DSLR camera. It’s a 500mm f/6.3 mirror lens, essentially a small Cassegrain telescope. Like many budget lenses it suffers from “vignetting”, i.e. the edges of a photograph are darker than the centre. The EOS 100D camera has built in vignette correction (called peripheral … Read more

SWIG, Python and opaque structs

One of my open source projects is python-gphoto2, a Python interface to the popular libgphoto2 digital camera software library. It uses SWIG (Simplified Wrapper and Interface Generator) to generate the Python bindings from the library’s “header files”, saving me the trouble of hand crafting a Python interface to every C function in the library. SWIG … Read more