Saturday, 28 February 2015

iRig Mic Field stereo digital mic review

Billed as giving 'Hollywood-style sound at an indie price!' this pocket-sized, stereo digital mic for mobile audio/video field recording with the iPhone/App is a useful addition to any serious video/audio blogger's armoury.

The first ultra-compact, stereo digital microphone designed for audio and video field recording with Apple’s range of Lightning-compatible iOS devices, its two high-quality cardioid electret condenser capsules, 24-bit audiophile-grade A/D converter (with 44.1/48kHz sample rate), 115 dB maximum SPL rating and built in low-noise, high-definition preamp will capture pristine sound no matter what the project is.

As a test, I recorded the sea last week on our trip to the beach. Here's a clip without...


And with...


Both are pretty good considering the wind noise and background waves, but the one using the iRig mic has a distinct 'edge' which includes being able to cope with the sea breeze. Hardly scientific, I know, but useful - especially if your videos (like mine) are often spoilt by wind noise.

Friday, 27 February 2015

A breath of fresh air?

As a regular cyclist (we do the school-run by bike, as you can see from my helmet-cam!) I'm aware of the dangers of air pollution, if not entirely sure what to do about them. There's nothing like being stuck behind a particular filthy car sort lorry exhaust while waiting in a traffic queue to make you realise how unhealthy cycling might be. This short film from the Mayor of London's office as part of a TfL campaign gives good advice whether you're cycling in the Capital or not. Well worth watching.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

What have we learnt this week?

Well, for a start, that being an MP is something of a sinecure. Malcolm Rifkind had time to read, go for country walks, earn a healthy second income and both be an MP (though not for much longer) and chairman of an important parliamentary committee. It's all about time-management, after all.

But if you think that's good, how about Conservative Geoffrey Cox, QC, MP? According to the Financial Times Mr Cox found time - when not representing the interests of his Torridge and West Devon constituents - to earn a whopping £870,867. Mind you, he only managed to speak in the House of Commons 10 times so that might've helped.

Of course, what they all say is 'pay us more, pay us more.' And as the late Mandy Rice-Davies once memorably stated, they would, wouldn't they?

What I say (for what it's worth - and that ain't much, certainly not as much as MPs get paid) is don't. Don't pay them anymore. And make them all do the job they've been elected for. And nothing else.

And if that fails to attract candidates of the 'right calibre' and with the 'qualities and experience' parliament 'needs' (in other words, men - for it is mostly men - who have a knack of making mega bucks) than good riddance. We're better off without them.

I mean, do we really want to pay this man MORE for doing THIS?


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Why 'don't worry, it won't hurt you!' won't do.

We've just spent a lovely short break by the sea. It was cold. It rained. But that didn't stop us all going to the beach. 

What did - almost - were the dogs. Or rather, their owners. And the gay abandon with which the latter allow their pooches to run rings round my children and wee on their sand castles.

Both my two youngest have a fear of dogs. Both - as toddlers - were knocked down by a dog in our local park. And both now have a healthy disregard of the boisterous brutes that comes bounding after them with alarming regularity. 

'He won't hurt you!' the owners cheerful call when they're within ear shot. Well forgive me, but that's what they all say. And to be certain of the fact you - Mr or Mrs Owner - need to have a dog trained to the highest standards, one who will come at your call. Or on a leash. 

Because no dog is guaranteed not to attack. Some are more aggressive than others. But they all bite. And they have a particular tendency to do so to children, whose high-pitched cries seems somehow to provoke them. 

But as a nation of so-called dog-lovers we seem happy to casually disregard the potential danger, allowing hounds of all shapes and sizes the right to roam right up to and over our children. 

On the third day of our little sojourn by the sea, I had cause to shoo away a large dog that was bounding over the sand castles and barking at my four-year-old's ankles. The owners, standing some distance away, said nothing. Indeed, I wasn't even certain the dog was theirs, so little interest did they take, until they made to leave. At which point Mr Dog - clearly stung by my audacity in daring to shoo away his pooch - walked over to me and availed me of the fact dogs were allowed to roam free, I was rude an ignorant and clearly an awful father. 

I politely told him that my children are both scared of dogs and with good reason. I also said that I thought dogs should be under reasonable control and that, if his was, he ought to have made it clear and not merely stood on the sidelines watching. It made no difference. As he and his wife wandered off the dog was doing the same thing to other dogs, other kids and other people's sand castles. And they were doing nothing. 

And it's for this reason that I won't be telling my children the old lie 'they won't hurt you' anymore. Because there's a chance that they will. And if the owner won't take reasonable steps to prevent it, I will. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Pancake Day - from the archives

In honour of pancake day today I thought I'd re-publish a post first seen way back in 2010 (15th January, to be precise) when your humble correspondent was invited to a flipping' awesome pancake tossing orgy down in London. I was reminded of it this lunchtime as I was cooking pancakes in the self-same pancake pan I took away on the day (they let me)... still tossing like a trouper. The original title was...

I've Flipped!

And there's a video to prove it. Rosie Scribble's seen it. As has Clareybabble. It went out live yesterday on JustinTV (I think it's something to do with Mr Tumble) and I'm hoping to see it myself before long. At the time though, like when these pics were taken, I had other things on my mind. Like making lump-free pancake mixture. And melting just the right amount of butter to the right temperature. And pouring it in to the pan without spilling any. And cooking the pancake without it sticking. Flipping the darned thing was the last thing on my mind. As was being watched live on the interweb while 'doing it'. But, hey! Maybe that's why I flipped? Just the once, mind. I wouldn't want you getting the wrong idea. But it was flipping good, even if I do say so myself. And there were witnesses. Cafebebe for one. And MuddlingAlongMummy for two. So in the absence of an action-replay, that'll have to do. Until I get hold of the flipping footage.

Just look at that concentration!

And I didn't swear at Emma Forbes. Not once!

Mind you, Charlie wasn't missing out on anything...

Mmmmm, thanks Fleishman Hillard and Lyle's Golden Syrup for teaching daddy to do this!

Move over, Gordon Ramsey....
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