The keen-eyed among you will have noticed I have a new header at the top of my website, the not-so-keen-eyed are checking it now. I always enjoy a little tweak and change every now and again when it comes to websites. I don’t often get the chance, but when I do, I like to really think about what the design means. In this case, it was a perfect opportunity to consider the purpose of this blog as well as my history of getting here.

Blogging, for me, was the natural progression from my earlier life where I kept journals. And, although this is a far more public forum to voice my thoughts – it is a poetic collection of the progressions and developments that make me who I am today. And when I thought back over the many years that I would write about my activities and adventures, one early memory still sits fondly at the the start of the story. Yes there were many stories prior, but this one was the start of my journey of becoming who I am today. That is the story of 61.

You’ll notice from both the title of this blog post, as well as the subtitle on the website, SH61 is a code marks my initials and favourite number. Favourite number because of the story of 61.

Many of my friends from my tweens will know the origin of 61, a short home-video I helped produce alongside a fantastic team of friends. The story of 61 revolved around secret agent named Back Jauer and followed the east same premise as the critically acclaimed FOX TV show 24. Sound effects and soundtracks were lifted from 24 to produce a not-too-shabby couple of movies that will live fondly in the memories of those involved. But 61 served an unexpected purpose for me beyond the immediate joy and entertainment that it provided to those who were lucky enough to see it. It helped me realise that when you really believe in something, and you rally a team around you who feel the same way – you can accomplish things that you previously wouldn’t have dreamed of. Was 61 perfect? No. Part of me would love to go back and re-act, re-film and re-edit them to bring them up to the high standard that is achievable with today’s home-video technology. But we didn’t have that back in the day. In fact, it was incredible we were able to achieve what we did. But all that aside, the end product was a success in our eyes. And it’s that success that has kept me believing, inspired me to keep on trying and to hope for things that I never thought were possible.

And the most exciting of those adventures, I believe, are still ahead.

Oh, and what of the feathers and the lion in the header?
They play their own parts in my story too. But those stories aren’t finished yet.

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Digitalisation: Switching your library to the cloud

I think that one of the most exciting developments of the 20th century is the cloud. For anyone who doesn’t know what the cloud is, it’s a number of things. Firstly it’s a backup for your data. Second, and this is my favourite one, it’s a centralised way to store files we all use. For example, music. Spotify, Apple Music, the list goes on. They store the songs and you pay a subscription to access their files in a library so vast – you’d never have enough storage to assemble yourself.

As a TV and film addict, naturally my physical archives reflected this. In my early days, this was in the form of drawers and drawers of VHS’s, taking up a significant portion of space in my bedroom and living room. Then came the arrival of dvd. Aside from being able to skip through films, play films on my computer and fit longer playback on a single disk – it had a significant other advantage of VHS. Size. Slowly but surely my VHS collection shrunk to half the size, while doubling the actual content.

Flick forward a few years and a similar process began changing my dvd collection into blu-rays. But before I got too far into the transition, the cloud hit hard, and before long another medium for TV and film was born.

Now I like to own the entertainment that I enjoy, especially when I plan on watching it several times over. So while I love Netflix, Amazon prime, NOW TV and the likes; they don’t completely replace the old fashioned way of assembling a personal video collection. Enter iTunes…

Back when iTunes was first starting out as a digital supplier of music, Apple probably didn’t realise the scope that it could actually achieve. Perhaps this is most evident in the very name of the service. But by the time iTunes was offering TV shows, films, audio books and such, they were clearly beyond the point where they could change the name. But either way, once iTunes had set itself up to be the virtual TV and film library of the future – I started to comprehend the space that would be freed on my shelves. The ease of selecting my programming, and ability to watch the videos on multiple devices were also massive bonuses.

So, now I write this, probably about four years into the digitalisation of my entertainment library. I thought, as we move further and further into the cloud -based age there may be some tips I could share. Things I’ve learned along the way.

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Finally, a Nintendo to Switch to

Excuse the pun. It was just to irresistible. But, you will have no doubt deduced that this blog post is in relation to Nintendo’s latest console release: the Nintendo Switch.

I indeed caved to the pressure to purchase one of these consoles. Primarily upon the news that there was a new Zelda game accompanying this launch, but also various other traits of the console that I though Nintendo had long-abandoned. This is my first Nintendo in 8 console generations and over ten years, and I wanted to share my first thoughts and predictions for the console as well as my overall comparison to previous Nintendo consoles as well as its bearings on other mainstream competitors.

Without getting to technical or detailed, here is an overview of the new Nintendo Switch – in case you weren’t already aware. Unlike most other consoles to date, there are quite a few ‘moving’ components to the console rather than simply a main unit and game controllers. The Switch offers the ability to play on a main TV screen, but also the ability to separate out an internal portable screen too. Essentially bridging the gap between home theatre gaming and portable gaming. The clever mechanism of the hand-pieces mean that there is an independent left and right side which, depending on the game, can even be used by two different players as competitors. For more involved games (such as the 2017 Zelda release) requires both sides of the controller, mounted in the classic arrangement. For portable play, to either side of the portable screen, or for TV gaming to a central controller unit that unites the two halves.

It sounds more complicated than it is. And a careful look at any promotional shot is explanation enough to how the console works. Perhaps that is why the ‘original’ Switch comes with alternate colour controllers for each side – to fully illustrate the gaming potential without too much explanation.

So let’s get into the good (and bad) stuff…

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Car Trains, and the importance of rails

I imagine you think I’ve lost it. ANOTHER post with a kids show as the photo. Don’t worry, this has precious little to do with the awesomeness that is Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave (the kids show pictured at the top of this post). But it did serve as a starting platform for this particular thought train (pun intended)….

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Cutting the Cable (aka Netflix vs LoveFilm 2)

A few years back, I wrote an article reviewing and comparing the two video streaming services; Netflix and the then LoveFilm (later to be rebranded as Amazon Prime). At the time, I concluded a win for Netflix after reviewing various factors. Earlier this year I decided to revisit the debate. In early 2016 I drafted a new article, taking into account all of the new features that both of the services offered. but every time that I may an effort to publish the post – one of the services will add a game-changing feature…

But now, in short, this post will look at my journey to ‘cutting the cable’, the cliche catchphrase for cancelling the paid monthly TV services that come through cable and switching to online TV (as best possible)…

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