Wazing the wrong way

I do like Waze and I find that it is quite accurate in terms of arrival times, usually provides effective routing and I like the live traffic updates. I remember once it took me on what felt like a weird route out of Reading, but it took just ten minutes, whereas if I had taken the route I would have taken without Waze (as I didn’t know Reading very well) it would have taken at least thirty minutes. Waze took me down quieter less busy road, so I was out of Reading very quickly.

Recently though it got very confused when I was travelling on the M4 westbound and then got caught in a traffic jam between junctions 12 and 13. There had been an accident and the lorry involved had spilled its fuel onto the carriageway. The police then closed the motorway, so that it could be resurfaced and directed traffic off at junction 12. Well too late for me as I was already way pass junction 12 and close to junction 13.

Of course with the motorway closed, Waze was updated and the M4 westbound was shown as a red and white dashed line indicating the road was closed. Of course Waze didn’t realise I was heading westbound and just assumed I was on the other carriageway and heading eastbound. So it was inaccurately telling me to head to junction 12 and come off there.

Well I couldn’t as I was stuck westbound. 

Eventually after the police started letting traffic through on the outside lane pass the accident, well the fuel spillage, Waze caught up and worked out I was heading westbound after all.

Blue is the colour

This week I was presenting at an online conference and though I usually use my iMac in-built microphone, for this event I was using a Microsoft Surface. I was asked if I had an external microphone I could use as the quality wasn’t very good with the in-built microphone. I do have an external Bluetooth headset I sometimes use for calls, but I have found it can be unreliable when I need it most. So I went to the garage and dug out my old external Blue Snowball USB microphone.

It certainly has a retro feel to it’s look and when I say retro I mean 1950s retro. I’ve had it for a fair few years, well over fifteen I think. It was called a Snowball as it was white ball, well over the years the white plastic and discoloured somewhat, so it is now a faded yellowish white colour. However it worked perfectly and the feedback I had was the quality was excellent.

Think I might start using it more.

If you want one, you can get one at Amazon.

Ten Amazing Winter and Snow Backgrounds for Teams and Zoom

So you’re feeling all snug and warm in your home office, well why not add some wintery charm to your Teams and Zoom meetings with these amazing winter and snow backgrounds.

Right click the images to download the images.

trees in the snow
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash
snowy lane
Photo by Ali Inay on Unsplash

Photo by Courtney Chestnut on Unsplash
frosty tree
Photo by Tim Tiedemann on Unsplash
snowy mountains
Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash
snow covered trees
Photo by Katarzyna Pe on Unsplash
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
snowy mountains
Photo by Alberto Restifo on Unsplash
snowy lane with trees
Photo by TORSPOMEDIA on Unsplash
snowy pines
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Ten More Great Christmas Zoom and Teams Backgrounds

Time to get into the festive spirit in the last full week at work with these festive background for Zoom or Teams.

Last year I posted ten festive images, well here are ten new ones to get you and your meetings into a Christmas mood.

Right click the images to download the images.

tree decorations
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Photo by Bob Canning on Unsplash
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Christmas Market
Image by Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay
snowy pines
Image by Pezibear from Pixabay
Image by Mariya from Pixabay
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
festive decorations
Photo by Jamie Coupaud on Unsplash
dried decorations
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Festive Zoom and Teams Backgrounds

Time to get into the festive spirit with one month until Christmas Day with these festive background for Zoom or Teams. As some of you are still probably working from home.

Right click the images to download the images.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash
Image by Vincent Ciro from Pixabay
Image by Yevhen Buzuk from Pixabay
Image by Reijo Telaranta from Pixabay
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by bluartpapelaria from Pixabay
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash
Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Mobile telephony

Thinking that would never catch on….

I actually remember seeing this when it was broadcast.

Michael Rodd makes a call with an experimental cordless mobile phone.  It’s 1979 and time for the telephone to go mobile. In this report from a longer programme, Michael Rodd examines a British prototype for a cordless telephone that allows the user to make calls from anywhere. Also included at the end of this item is a rather nice out-take as Rodd also experiences the first mobile wrong number.

Of course we don’t really use our phones as phones these days, the mini computer we have in our pockets is now used for way more than just making calls.


So there I was leaving Bristol after an evening out and Waze was sending me out of Bristol via Princes Street Bridge. As I turned onto Princes Street the warning lights went on and the barriers came down!

Princes Street Bridge

I had to wait.

Even though I know the way home to Weston-super-Mare from Bristol, I sometimes use Waze to get me out of Bristol, as it knows where there is traffic and it also gives me an idea of what time I will arrive home. 

Waze sent me down the M5 this time, the motorway southbound was quite clear, northbound it was a different picture with a ten mile tailback. Looked like there had been an accident on the Twickenham Viaduct, but the queue of traffic went back to the junction with Weston-super-Mare.

Ten years of Snapseed

Can’t quite get my head around I have been using Snapseed for over ten years now…

This was my first use of Snapseed back in 2011 of Gloucestershire College.

Here is my most recent use of Snapseed in 2021. This is the old Grosvenor Hotel in Bristol.

I have written about Snapseed before. In 2018 I spoke about the app and showed of some of my photographs I had edited in Snapseed. There was an earlier post in 2012.

I was particularly pleased with the way this image of the Matthew at the Bristol Harbour Festival turned our, almost like an oil painting with the shadows and textures.

Matthew at Bristol Harbour Festival

My original thoughts from ten years ago were in this post.

Over the last few days I have been playing around with the Snapseed app for the iPad. 

This is a wonderful photograph editing app that I was told about by Mark Power on the Twitter, here is a live link to his image.

So now we have flying cars… well nearly!

flyinf car

A prototype flying car has completed a 35-minute flight between international airports in Nitra and Bratislava, Slovakia reports the BBC.

The flying car has been a vision of the future for decades, along with the jetpack. Could this be the turning point and we start to see flying cars on our roads (and in the air) in the same way that we are now seeing electric vehicles?

Dr Stephen Wright, senior research fellow in avionics and aircraft, at the University of the West of England, described the AirCar as “the lovechild of a Bugatti Veyron and a Cesna 172”. Dr Wright said.

“Anyone can make an aeroplane but the trick is making one that flies and flies and flies for the thick end of a million hours, with a person on board, without having an incident.

Making GTA more “realistic”

When I have a spare minute I quite like the odd game of Forza on the Xbox.

I have always thought the graphics were quite good (especially in HD)

However I have been blown away by this video of GTA which uses AI to make it more “realistic”.

Can it be too long before games look as good as real life?