3rd March 2018


The recent reports of Persimmon Homes` CEO raking in a massive bonus for just being in the right place at the right time may well have invoked gasps of indignation around the nation (though I wouldn`t bet on it really - UK citizens are in habit of just sighing and saying "Yes it`s awful, but what can you do?" in a whining voioce) but it`s something that`s been going on for years, maybe decades. How much profit do they make on a new build house?

There are more and more people unable to pay their way even if they have a job and go to work every single day. Even if they aren`t on zero-hours rip-off contracts many still depend on working tax credit and other benefits to get by. Will they vote with their indignation in mind or are they so brain-washed with the idea that if companies are doing well that some benefit will "trickle - down" to them and they will prosper also? It won`t happen. It never has.

Government will jolly us all along, allowing us to get into debt so we can buy the latest must-have mobile smart phone and subscribe to the tv streaming services our hearts seem to desire. The young will work till they`re 80 some years old to pay off their University debts and mortgages (if they can ever get on the housing "ladder") whilst the wealthy fatcat elite relax in their second or third homes in areas you and I will never be able to afford. And it`s all our own fault.

More fatcat information here.......CLICK HERE

More fatcat information here.......CLICK HERE

More fatcat information here.......CLICK HERE



JANUARY 2018 UPDATE : Evidently, as feared, Euronews is going to change to a on-screen presenter type of format. This may be off-putting for many regular viewers who liked the voice-over style.

I don`t know if I was just not paying attention back in February 2017 but the aquisition of a 25% stake in Euronews by NBC Universal of the USA completely passed me by. This may have something to do with the parochial nature of British tv and newspaper reporting as well as a lack of openness by Euronews itself (I watch it every day via satellite, I don`t recall the matter being mentioned but that doesn`t mean it wasn`t, of course). I did notice it had disappeared from the UK Freesat listings without any prior warning later in 2017.

Euronews was originally set up by the European Broadcasting Union in response, according to Wikipedia, to the upsurge in world popularity of CNN after the first Gulf War of the 1990-91. They wanted to present news from a European perspective. All very laudable.

More information here.......CLICK HERE

Over the years ownership of the channel has changed. In 1997 British news broadcaster ITN purchased a 49% share which it sold in 2003. In 2015 Egyptian telecom businessman Naguib Sawiris bought a 53% controlling stake in the media outlet which makes you feel that perhaps European influence in the channel is not what it was. However, now it seems that NBC is going to bring about big changes in the programming of the channel. I`m hoping this doesn`t mean it`s going to become more like the personality-based presentation style that irritates me when I watch CNN. The "Hello, I`m Hala Gorani in London and this is CNN" type of "Sting". They seem more interested in pushing their own name at you than informing you of what`s going on the world. Kate Bolduan`s OK. She seems to have a sense of humour lacking in a lot of the other po-face presenters. CNN itself started life as an independent media voice on American cable networks but now it`s part of Time-Warner, another company which is part of the corporate American establishment.

Perhaps the lack-lustre performance of Euronews (if that is the reason for the changes) could stem from the regular intrusion of up-market commercials for brands like Rolex (who would like you to believe that a watch has "seen" great historical sporting events........please!)and FXPro (featuring smug twenty-somethings telling how great they are at dealing in foreign currency markets), and, more recently a new "segment" devoted to display the livestyles of the super-rich, Living It (Savoir-faire) Sponsored by Lexus. Not something that`s going to endear the channel to great masses of Europe who have displayed in recent elections their profound discontent about the inequalities of modern European society.

So now the corporate sensitivities of NBC are being thrown in to the mix. Not withstanding President Trump`s accusations of "fake news" aimed at mainstream USA news broadcasters, the Republican and Democrat parties of the USA have not really seemed to be at odds with the established news media in the past as long as it wasn`t kicking against Wall Street and the USA`s interference in other peoples` countries or the immense profits made selling bombs and bullets around the world. So I suspect that NBC`s policy may well be to promote the USA establishment`s interests and prejudices in Europe (assisted by eager lapdog Great Britain) which will mean we have nowhere to go for an opposite or alternative perspective on what`s happening in the world except the Internet on which anyone can spout their opinion (just like me in this website) and maybe even say things which aren`t TRUE. Okay, you`re right, I`m sure human beings would never dream of doing such a thing.

More information here.......CLICK HERE



FEBRUARY 2018 UPDATE : A recent item I read had pointed out the reluctance of British broadcasters to abandon their Standard Definition channels to make HDTV versions the same services the defacto normal. No doubt this is due to the large number of receivers which don`t have HD tv decoders. The same decoders (using the DVB-T2 transmission system) are used for some standard definition channels. They are more efficient compression systems resulting in a more economic use of bandwidth. However...if your tv set lacks an HDTV decoder you can`t receive them. Some so-called HD-Ready tvs (which means you can plug a HDTV set-top box output into its HDMI socket, but only get amaximum 720p image, not full 1080 HD) are still being sold in the UK making the situation even worse.

More information here.......CLICK HERE

Given the amount of tv channels available on UK Freeview you might be forgiven for thinking there`s plenty of capacity for expansion. Well, there`s precious little left and work has already started on moving tv broadcasts from the 700 MHZ band down to the 600 MHZ band to make way for proposed 5G mobile phone use. Recently the Selkirk and Llandonna transmitters were re-engineered to do just this.

More information here.......CLICK HERE

5 G mobile use will evidently provide more opportunities for people to watch video on mobiles, send photos of their bottoms and play games and Gawd Knows what else other trivia whilst depriving TV viewers of any chance of expansion for HDTV channels. Not everyone wants to change to satellite tv reception (though why they don`t is a puzzlement. Freesat (NOT SKY) is a very good alternative to terrestrial Freeview) but given the loss of frequencies now further expansion of Freeview HDTV services seems very unlikely.

Freeview claim they have 15 HDTV channels currently on the platform but if you look closer you find two of them are shopping channels and others are not available in all Freeview areas. Transmitters designated as "Freeview Light" ("Lite"?) don`t carry all the Freeview channels. BBC Four HD is usually unavailable, as are RTHD, Al Jazeera, CH4+1HD and 4SevenHD. Little news of this makes it to the popular media, of course, and by the time people become aware of what`s happening it will be too late to protest, if anybody is likely to do so given the "Well, what can you do?" attitude which prevails.

According to the website below, a516digital, from 2030 you`ll have no terrestrial tv at all! All frequencies will be handed over to mobile communications.......

More information here.......CLICK HERE

Ofcom website....... More information here....... CLICK HERE


6th January 2016


March 2017 update: Kodak`s retro folly still not quite here yet. Spring 2017 the new date for launching.............click below

click here

February 2018 update: Guess what - Kodak`s retro folly still not quite here yet. This from The Verge website....Click link below if you care.......

click here

Over thirty years since its less-than-tragic demise Super 8mm movie film making looks like it`s going to possibly see a revival of sorts. Kodak, having failed to dominate the digital camera market, video or stills, has decided to cash in on a perceived "demand" for analogue imaging. Ignoring the rather obvious drawbacks of the old amateur film formats be it scratches, dust, poor image quality or polluting chemical concerns, they have launched a device that evidently combines an 8mm film mechanism with memory card recording, an LCD viewfinder and what looks like HDMI output for a price of 270 to 510 pounds.

What type of film will be available? Well, it won`t be Kodachrome or Ektachrome which were discontinued some years ago so it`ll probably be the Kodak Vision 3 range of colour negative films. This stuff is seriously expensive! A process paid cartridge of Vision 200T will cost you 41 (yes FORTY ONE pounds!) and, at 18 frames per second, it only runs THREE minutes and TWENTY seconds! Even less if you shoot at 24 or 25 frames per second, which the new camera allows you to do.

Some credit to Kodak here: 25 fps is the European standard tv frame rate. Many low end video cameras only work at 30fps because U.S. and Japanese manufacturers believe only the NTSC areas of the world (USA and Japan mainly) really matter.

No economic 16.667 fps, though. You`ll also need to get it transferred to some form of digital storage or get a positive print made from the Super 8 negative. And remember, you can`t erase film and re-use it like you can tapes or memory cards. Better get it right first take, then.

Kodak are planning to provide a complete processing and transfer service, evidently allowing producers to download their transferred video files from "the cloud" (which means a remote server run by Kodak) to be edited on a computer system. You`ll still need to send your film to Kodak for this processing and scanning service, of course, as opposed to just shooting on video and plugging it directly into a computer when you`ve finished for the day. So it`ll be a few days before you know if there was a hair in the gate ruining the shot.

The fact is that film makers used Super 8mm because they couldn`t afford 16mm and professional production companies used 16mm because their budgets wouldn`t run to 35mm film stock. Super 8, Single 8 and double run or standard 8mm were inferior amateur film gauges, okay for home movies but little else, as was 9.5mm. (I wonder if the French will now revive 9.5?)

Film technology may have improved over the past three decades but I can`t see Super 8mm being able to manage more than about 450 lines of vertical definition compared with 1080 lines that you can get with even a modestly priced HD video camera. Better still you can now get 4K Ultra High Definition Camcorders that`ll give you 2160 line pictures for around 650 - 800. (The cost of 20 cartridges of Super 8mm film with processing!) If you want a "film look" you can use 2160/1080p, the progressive scanning setting a lot of video cameras provide. This will carry no weight with the retro-trendies of course. No doubt they`ll have the high incomes to squander on an inferior technology whilst they kid themselves and try to fool others as they waffle on about how "awesome", "cool" and "incredible" their retro discovery is. No doubt they`ll consider the low image resolution as an artistic enhancement.

Standard 8mm and Super 8mm were the formats I used in my early days of film making from 1964 up to 1990 when I bought my first video camcorder. I do understand the nostalgia for the old cameras and projectors. I still get a twinge of it now and then. But I was always frustrated by the limitations and the cost of the film stock even then. When I look at the image quality I can get from an HDTV camcorder I just know that I would NEVER go back to Super 8mm film, even if I could afford it.

TechRadar seem to think the idea isn`t that crazy however: click link below....

click here

Below is a link to the Guardian`s article on the CES announcement....

click here

Below is a link to Kodak`s Super 8mm website article full of nostalgic film makers mostly talking (in my opinion) bollocks.....

click here

Prices of Super 8mm movie film anyone? Click link below......

click here

Possible source of Super 8mm reversal movie film from Wittner, Germany. Click link below......

click here



12th January 2016


Yet another example of how out of touch with reality the UK`s wealthy political elite can be is David Cameron`s idea that the citizens on low wages can drag themselves out of poverty by saving money towards their future. How people relying on supplementary benefits to make their incomes to a level where they can just about afford to eat and pay their bills are going to have anything left over to save is a mystery to all except multi-millionaire politicians evidently.

Cameron`s clever little scheme to rename the minimum wage as the national "living wage" (A term most in the UK have heard of because it represents a realistic idea of how much people REALLY need to live on, whereas the current minimum wage is way below that) and combine it with a reduction and eventual elimination of the tax credits has been widely criticised by many. Some claim the poor will be either worse off or at best no better off whilst the wealthy continue to make more and more money.

Everything seems to benefit the wealthy. Even the National Lottery and Premium Bonds, in which so many not so poor people seem to put their hopes of prosperity are now geared toward making the rich richer. You can now have up to 50,000 of Bonds. Only a few years ago the limit was 30,000. How many people can afford to put so much money into an unreliable investment? Wealthy people, of course! And who are most likely to win the monthly million pound prize? Wealthy people with lots of bonds, of course! The National Lottery top prize was recently made more difficult to win by increasing the amount of numbers in the draw. So you`ll have to buy more tickets to have the same chance. (Only the wealthy can benefit again) The result has been more rollovers. A recent draw for 66 million resulted massive demand for tickets but the top prize was shared by only two winners, getting 33 million each. How much better it would`ve been for 66 winners to have won one million each and spread a bit of joy more widely, but it seems greed is all our society teaches us.

Is Cameron worried? Well, what do you think? Click link below.......

click here

Budget Cuts you might have missed..... Click link below.......

click here




It seems that just now the web based computer world is beset by an unending stream of hack attacks or reported system vulnerabilities affecting companies like ebay, Apple iPhone and Safari, Spotify, Avast and evidently virtually all routers that we use. Then we learn that a study from China is advising all its banks to switch from IBM and Cisco servers to other makes because these machines "almost certainly have back door access" used by the USA`s NSA.

click here

So it`s not only those naughty rebel or criminal hackers you need to worry about. Governments are at it as well. If you think about about it for a few seconds, its not in the interests of companies or governments that all hardware or software vulnerabilities should be fixed. They want them as much as anyone. Is it really beyond the IT world`s abilities to create secure online services? To make it impossible for hackers to access confidential information on servers? The answer seems to be "yes".

If ebay is connected to Paypal, Paypal is connected to your bank or credit card account, your bank or credit card account is interconnected with numerous other international companies and organisations...just how safe is your money? And who pays if the whole cyber mess goes belly-up? Well, you, the tax payer will, of course, ultimately. Just like you had to bail out all the banks and financial institutions that landed us in the economic guano back in 2008.

The fattest of the fat cats who caused all that made a fortune out of our mass gullibility and made a further financial killing during what has followed. They`ll be back to do the very much the same when the economies get back on their feet. The rich will get richer and the gap between rich and poor will grow even bigger. The masses could, of course, refuse to vote for politicians who protect the vested interests of the financial elites, but, brainwashed by years of mis-information, they will probably put the same bunch of super-rich power-hungry posh boys back into power. (What was it? 22 millionaires in the UK government at the last count?)

If you think the world`s oppressed will rise up to change things, well, in the USA they`re getting prepared..CLICK HERE

Rant.Rant.Rant. Time for a nice cup of tea. Well known cure-all.


18th December 2013


Sad to report another of the old guard of British animators has passed away. Richard Taylor, a London based animator and friend of the late Bob Godfrey, who died earlier this year, was also at one time a Professor of Animation at the Royal College of Art and wrote a book , the Encyclopedia of Animation Techniques published in 1994.

There`s an orbituary written by his daughter Kitty Taylor on the Guardian website CLICK HERE




 29th August 2013




As reported in The Times recently the introduction of tax incentives for the film and tv industry in the UK has made it possible for companies to actually produce animated programmes here in Britain. Manchester`s very own animated tv producers Cosgrove Hall Films ceased to exist in 2009, soon after being absorbed into ITV and having left their Chorlton-cum-Hardy studio which was demolished and replaced with a block of expensive retirement flats named after the famous studio. Sadly, Mark Hall died in 2011 but his son Simon along with Francis Fitzpatrick and Brian Cosgrove have set up a new studio in Didsbury to begin producing two new animated series called "Pip" and "Herogliffix". Recruitment has started, so, if you`re into Flash animation production, now`s yer chance.


Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick Entertainment, Towers Business Park, Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2YY


More Cosgrove Hall info HERE




 13th January 2013


UHDTV - the Next Generation of Telly


******UPDATE 10th October 2013*** Since I posted this item back in January the BBC have announced that they will be transmitting BBC4, BBC3, BBC News 24, CBBC and CBeebies in HD on Freeview from early 2014. This is very good news for HD starved Freeviewers. The rest of the original article is still relevant, I think:


It seems like no time at all since the introduction of High Definition tv in the UK. Now all the techie world is buzzing about the introduction of UHDTV, 4K or 8K. The top resolution being 16 times the pixel count of the current 1080 line HDTV. So how will the new services be transmitted to the eager, waiting public? Certainly not on Freeview. There won`t be enough space in the spectrum for UHDTV. Improved compression codecs can`t squeeze the proposed broadcasts into what`s left after the UK government sold off a chunk of the frequencies for mobile use (3G, 4G whatever). A typical lack of foresight and perhaps the result of leaving such decisions to politicians whose advisors tell them what they wish to hear. ("You can get lots of revenue by selling off these unused tv frequencies, minister") So you may be stuck with Virgin cable or Satellite as your options. I can`t see broadband telephone line based delivery systems being able to squeeze UHDTV down copper wires to your house and direct to home optical fibre is a long way off for most of us. Japan and China are expected to roll out services in 2013. I wonder if anybody is making programmes yet in UHDTV? No doubt the manufacturers will try to kid us that "upscaling" for lower definition formats will improve our viewing pleasure. Will people really fall for that one again? If the detail isn`t there to begin with, you can`t re-instate it. More info HERE





 25th March 2012




It may be somewhat late in coming but the proposed tax breaks or subsidies for the animation industry in the UK must be good news. I don`t know what the details are yet but it may help bring back some animation work to Britain after years of decline. I must admit to feeling astonished that it may happen at all under a predominantly Conservative regime. We`ve had to watch our own industry decline whilst some other European countries, notably France, carried on supporting their studios and as a result still have a vibrant, prosperous animation scene. As for the rest of the 2012 budget, well, a lot of pensioners will lose out regarding tax allowances. Smokers pay more, as usual, and a boost for tobacco smugglers. Vehicle Excise Duty up again, in the war against motorists. No increase in fuel duty but the fuel price went up this week anyway. (Perhaps the fuel companies think we`ll just automatically blame the budget? Sneaky.) In a seperate but related area, there are plans to impose a minimum price per unit for alcohol bought in off licences and supermarkets. Another measure that only hits the poorer section of society and not the rich. They also get a reduction in income tax in the 2012 budget. Many don`t pay anywhere near as much tax as they should anyway due to exploiting "loopholes" which are probably not there by accident. A baby born in 2012 can look forward to retiring at age 80 according to the latest projections by HM Government. I wonder what working tasks they`ll still be expected to perform at an age when many need help to wash or just to eat something? Of course, the wealthy won`t be in that position themselves. How many millionaires in the cabinet of the current government? Was it 20? 22?








The second and third volumes of digitally restored Fleischer Popeye films from the 1930s and 1940s has now been released for Region 1 DVD collectors. This second volume includes the classic short GOONLAND and some interesting documentaries. The old cartoons look superb in their restored form if all you`ve ever seen were battered old prints from the AAP distributors and public domain copies. So far only available for Region 1 NTSC viewers but you can buy it from Caiman of the USA through Amazon (uk site) for about £15 and it will only take a week or so to arrive. Why bother with the old public domain copies when you can see these beautifully restored versions?


To read an article about volume one of the Popeye collection from the DVD Times website CLICK HERE


Here`s a handy page for hacks to convert DVD players/recorders to multi-region CLICK HERE