Sunday, 19 August 2018


Once I get started on a new project, there's just no stopping me until it is complete. After just eight days of development, BookingTrack is almost 4000 lines of code and getting close to being ready for real-world testing.

It will allow the client who has asked for it to keep track of client contacts and manage bookings across their multi-space events and hospitality venue here on the Isle of Man. I'll probably make it available to others later, but much testing needs to be done yet.

Full details of progress and features can be found at this link - BookingTrack

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Spring Flowers

Well, I'm trying to keep up with my New-Year's resolution and managing to take a few photos - still only when I feel like it, but that's no bad thing really.

I'm also trying to have a fairly quiet Easter weekend, not doing to much for the couple of days I have off other than catching up on the latest Windows Spring Creators Update on my main PC and laptop. Honestly, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about as little seems to change for such a big and complicated process.

Anyway, here are some of the photos I have taken in the garden today. Spring does seem to be finally arriving - my cherry-plum trees are nearly ready to burst into flower and the rest of the fruit trees will not be far behind. I'll try and revisit the garden when they start to open up and get a few blossom photos, but for now we'll have to make do with primroses and narcissus.

All images taken with the usual Pentax K3 and today's lens of choice, the Sigma 50mm 1:2.8 DG Macro. It's far and away the sharpest lens I have, as well as the one that allows these real close-up macro shots to shine.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Sulby Reservoir

At last some weather good enough to let me get out with the quadcopter. I took a trip up to Sulby Reservoir and flew from the middle of the dam.

Next time I go up there, I'll try and get high enough to see over the summit of Snaefell - I didn't quite manage it this time.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Catching up with Flying Time

I can't believe that the computers4-U website was last updated in 2010. This seems to be the problem with websites of all sizes - they get created (often with quite a lot of effort) and then they get pretty much abandoned and ignored. Of course, I'm not the only one guilty of this, but I do sometimes feel that I could do more to help.

Following on from this fairly successful attempt to use the Blogger platform to create and maintain a site, I suggested to Russell that the shop's site should move to the same platform. This would make it instantly update-able at any time, easier to maintain and a bit more contemporary. It also allows the shop to post news and special offers at any time.

Anyway, the new site is now live at and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out for just a morning's work. Hopefully, I'll move some more of my static sites over to the Blogger platform in the near future.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Making Chains

Every so often, I get the urge to be a bit more creative. To be honest, it's been quite a while since this was last the case. Even taking photos was just too much effort in 2017. I'm working on the photography side this year, but still find it difficult to just go out and take pictures like I once did - age I guess!

So, for the dark days of winter, I've tried to find something that I can do in the warm indoors. To this end, I thought I'd play around with some chain-mail (or chain-maille if we're being posh and /or American) jewellery. It's really simple to get started, just join a few metal rings together and there you go.

Clearly, it isn't as simple as that in practice, as everything is small and fiddly and there are dozens - if not hundreds - of patterns to experiment with. Here are some of my tests so far - nothing serious or very good yet, but I'm getting there. I hope to make some in sterling silver once I get a bit more practice under my belt.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

More PC Power

It's been a few years now since I last had a major PC hardware upgrade - I've had a few minor tweaks here and there, the biggest being the installation of a 1TB Samsung 850Pro SSD a couple of years ago.

The software gets updated all the time - I'm in the Developer chain for Windows 10 and get a new build every couple of months - but the hardware has been left out in the cold for quite some time.

Anyway, all that has now changed with major upgrades to the Motherboard, Processor and Memory in my main system. Memory is frighteningly expensive and I've actually had to downgrade the quantity from my previous setup.


AMD FX8350 CPU (4 Cores/8 Threads over-clocked to 4.0GHz) on an Asus M5A97 LE motherboard with 32GB of DDR3 Memory. There's a AMD radeon R9 200-series graphics card, the 1TB SSD, 2x2TB Hard drives and a 3TB external back-up. A 23" 1080p Monitor and a 49" 4K display finish off the system.


AMD Ryzen 7 1700 CPU (8 Cores/16 Threads over-clocked to 3.7GHz) on an MSI X370 Gaming Plus motherboard with 16GB of DDR4 Memory. The AMD radeon R9 200-series graphics card, the 1TB SSD, 2x2TB Hard drives and a 3TB external back-up, 23" 1080p Monitor and 49" 4K display all stay in place for the new system.

An Improvement?

Absolutely, performance where I need it - video editing, photo editing and panorama stitching is probably 2 to 2.5 times better. I'm amazed that even program loading times and windows start-up have improved further as well.

I don't miss the 16GB of memory I've lost too much, but it is something that I will revisit. I'm also looking at an upgrade to the graphics card. I don't really play games any more, but video editing and Photoshop can benefit from a better graphics processor than the one I have now.

It's also great to have fully working USB 3.1 ports as I'm copying stuff on and off USB memory sticks all the time.

GDPR Software Toolkit

Well, the weather hasn't been great for the last few weeks, limiting my ability to get out with the drone or the camera quite severely. I may edit a couple of timelapses that I've taken into one video and post that soon though.

Fortunately, I have plenty of programming work to be going on with, indeed more that I've ever had to do before. I've been bug-fixing the SimpleShop X2 program code extensively as Watsons Nurseries have now switched to the new system.

I'm also doing a lot of work related to the upcoming requirements for GDPR compliance, a requirement for all businesses, however small. I've been asked to help a couple of organisations get their GDPR compliance in order and have written some software tools to help me make this happen.

Take a look at this page to find out more about what I've been up to throughout December.