Thursday, February 24, 2005

There's a camera everywhere, for good or for ill

A year or so back I read an article in which Digital Camera Shopper decided to compare the various flash memory card formats for durability. I think the attempt was to determine which of the various formats were most robust, but had difficulty differentiating between them, as all cards easily survived being dipped into cola, put through a washing machine, dunked in coffee, trampled by a skateboard, run over by a child's toy car and given to a six-year-old boy to destroy. It was only when the testers started doing things like smashing the memory cards with a sledgehammer and nailing them to a tree that some of the cards stopped working.

This received a certain amount of coverage in the blogosphere at the time, and one blogger (who I thought was Instapundit, but I cannot now find the reference) to observe that it was clear that the only way to destroy memory cards was to drop them into the same fires of Mount Doom in which they were forged.

Sadly, we now have another demonstration of the durability of memory cards. They can apparently survive when the camera (and the people carrying it) are smashed to death by a tsunami. We therefore have a sequence of pictures of the tsunami approaching.

News footage has long been about showing the consequences of distasters rather than the disasters themselves, as generally there haven't been cameras there when the disasters have actually happened. In recent years this has been changing, as so many people are carrying (still and motion) cameras with them to so many places that there now often are photographs of news events actually happening.

And sometimes, like this, this trend takes some strange and possibly disturbing twists.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Weekend diversions

A couple of weeks ago, I arranged to meet a friend of mine this last Sunday for a walk in Surrey, in the London green belt near Gatwick airport. We had been talking about doing this for a while, and had made the arrangement at least on the hope that the weather would be getting a little warmer by then.

But as it happened, it didn't. We got off to a good brisk walk from Tattenham Corner and got some exercise and saw some of the country, but by around midday the clouds started closing in a little, and shortly after that it started snowing lightly. We kept walking bravely and boldly through the North Downs, but it became apparent that it was perhaps not the best day for walking.

Eventually we reached Lower Kingswood and found a pub. Here we had beer and roast food. Oddly, as the snow came down the urge to leave the pub became weaker and weaker. We knew we would have to go out into the cold eventually, but with beer and food inside one's hiking skills appear to deteriorate.

And it was true. Walking the considerable distance to Upper Kingswood felt somehow much colder and I felt much stiffer, although the walking conditions were probably no worse and the temperature no colder than in the morning. Eventually we got to the railway station and discovered that the next train was 50 minutes away, so we had to go to another pub. (Shucks).

Such is London in February. That was just the start of an extremely cold snap, and last night a lot of snow fell. Britain is of course woefully unable to cope with anything other than mild weather, so my commute to work this morning was something of an ordeal.

Such is London in February. Or did I say that already?

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