Personal Website Review… Not Good News

I thought I take the time to talk about something that I have been considering for a few years. Shutting down my website and e-mail under my my domain name. This came about because of a general sense of feeling that for the past couple of years the cost of running the website has increased massively and more recently unexpected costs from the web host provider has made me decide to review the website as a whole.

In general, I enjoy having a website, but more and more recently I haven’t actually used the website to keep in touch with the world as well as tell. Originally setup to help prospective employers get a sense of who I am to the aviation and aerospace industry, today, the focus has been to be more general.

Sadly unexpected costs as well as a lack of time and effort to maintain both my website and e-mail has been too much and until now has been heavily under-utilized. The decision to review it really came about after paying off the web host for my website to be stored but being stung with extra costs that I was truly unsure about.

The e-mail in particular has been more of a target for spammers and I get more spam mail than actual e-mail messages and more recently have been actively not using the domain e-mail to send or receive messages.

As I’ve said before, I have mainly used the website to be a shop front to employers to see who I am but frankly the time and costs associated with running a website has become increasingly clear that I wasn’t getting much value. My social network sites like LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook Pages are perhaps more valuable than this website alone and there’s not much cost to it except for Flickr.

Until such time, I will continue with this website until I basically do an update to this blog post.

Happy Birthday HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast launched on St Patrick’s Day on the 17th March 1938. Since then she served World War II helping to sink the Scharnhorst, taking part in the Arctic Convoys and even D-Day itself. She later also took part in the Korean War and after a spell in reserve ended up being a museum ship to this day.

As a volunteer, I take great pride and privilege to be a Warship Conservation Volunteer and was fortunate enough to be able to setup my cameras for her special 80th Anniversary 6-inch gun firing which you can see in the video above.

The Exciting World Of Learning To Drive

I’m very excited to be starting my first driving lesson on the road to getting a full driving licence. I’ve been however forced to do it as quickly as possible for a special reason that I hope to announce in the future, but suffice to say, I need a driving licence.

For years, I’ve never needed to have a driving licence. Living in the inner most part of London, the transport and cost options within London are second to none. So much so I haven’t had much of an incentive to get a driving licence. But more recently it became clear that at some point to further my career and job opportunities, I really need a driving licence at the very least.

So for years I have been slowly saving up for a driving licence and now I am at the stage where I will need to just spend that money. In fact as it turns out, I’ve over saved dramatically and looking at my options, I could in theory get a driving licence with all the training materials, test costs and schooling costs and have left over money for the potential for a car.

I mainly would want to have a licence for a job, but I would highly consider the idea of getting a car just for volunteering at either Brooklands Museum or more probably at the Imperial War Museum: Duxford site. The advantage of this approach is that after a driving test pass, I could get a car and use the volunteering to further diversify my time away from work but also gain more driving experience. In other words, its a win-win situation.

I hope that I can get a licence relatively soon as possible, but I know it will take time and hard work to just get that massive achievement, but also it would be fantastic to say to an employer that I have taken the time, money and effort to make it work.

Airsoft Camera Upgrades

So since one of my airsoft cameras got shot out, I was looking at repairing my camera; thankfully, it was the outer housing that was broken and not the camera itself so I bought a replacement outer housing.

Bur for a while I had been looking to upgrade my cameras and decided to invest in a GoPro Hero 7 Black and a GoPro Hero 5 Session camera to replace my GoPro Hero 4 Silver and Contour Roam 2 cameras respectfully.

The GoPro Hero 4 Silver and the Contour Roam 2 will not be fully retired, just put into storage for special projects.

Making The Most As A Passenger… To Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific Passenger Views

I’ve just recently been on a family centric trip to Hong Kong. What’s interesting for me is that it is the first time in 18 years since I last set foot in Hong Kong, it’s the first time I flew alone and it’s the first time I had taken photos on an airline.

Cathay Pacific Passenger Views

I couldn’t resist not take my camera with me and it was a good decision because as you can see, I got the most of the flight times and more importantly, discover the approach into Hong Kong International Airport and knew that with this kind of approach I would get some fantastic, albeit, hazy view of Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific Passenger Views

With the approach into Hong Kong really starting at Flight Level 180 (FL180), the aircraft in effect went around Hong Kong to position itself onto the landing runway and with that the aircraft in effect circled Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific Passenger Views

For me, seeing Hong Kong from this view was incredibly emotional for me, more so because I’m seeing family for the first time in almost two decades and when you consider that a photo says a thousand words, this leaves me speechless.

Cathay Pacific Passenger Views - Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG)

Upon landing, I just kept taking photos where I can and was keenly an aircraft spotter, not lost on my fellow passengers who basically caught on very quickly who I was. But more so because of my bouncing enjoyment that we had just landed in one of the best places in the world.

Cathay Pacific Passenger Views - Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG)

Flickr Pro Subscription

Last year I lamented the problem with Flickr and the impending restrictions for the future. Today I reluctantly resolved it by buying a Flickr Pro subscription.

For me it’s a heavy heart to do such a thing, given there are other sites in which I can either subscribe and upload my photos, but considering I do have a large number of photos on the site there are a few reasons why I have chosen to continue using Flickr even at a cost.

The first reason is that Flickr already contains my current collection of photos including aircraft photo archives and also some important volunteering photos in which I want to keep it active for many who view my volunteering activities.

The second reason is that since I had updated my computer some 18 months ago, I had also upgraded my photo editing software and had a fresh install of the catalog which doesn’t include my previous photo edit settings.

The third reason is that if I chose (for example) 500px, I would still have to pay for what I want and I would have to start from scratch, also the other alternative is Facebook Pages, but given how much trust I place in that site, I wasn’t overly happy about it.

So even though I have complained, I have for the better part of about two months, I have decided ultimately to use Flickr, much to my better judgement. I will however review this again in about 10 – 11 months time before I have to renew the Flickr Pro subscription.

Responding To New Flickr Terms & Conditions

Flickr has recently decided to no longer favorable photographic services in which I have been using as far back as 2007. Since that time I have had a Pro account but downgraded because of the service allowing 1Tb of storage of photos. Now with a recent change in terms and conditions, Flickr has now decided to remove the 1Tb limit on free accounts and to only allow 1000 photos per user.

In essence, Flickr has decided that deleting 1000 photos from users who have spent years accumulating photos is a good thing for them, personally, I see it more as a photographic betrayal of trust because I signed up to Flickr because it is popular, wide spread and more importantly a place where people can just find my photos for the benefit of others.

The photos I mainly post are aircraft that I have spotted over the years. This means that I have thousands of photos available to use and share, but with a limit of 1000 photos per user, this ultimately means that my consistency of providing photographic content on Flickr is now dead.

As Flickr will implement this draconian measure in February 2019, I have no choice but to seek alternative services that will provide the same availability and convenience similar to Flickr but not in the way Flickr has implemented it.

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