Twitter: 140 Characters to 280 characters work around

So while tweeting on my photography account on twitter, I noticed that it had the new 280 character limit, with excitement I checked my personal one bit sadly still 140 character limit.

Being the geeky type I thought I’ll have a poke around and come across a really simple work around that let’s you tweet with the 280 characters even if your account only let’s you use the 140 characters limit and this is without any code at all.

Here’s the simple steps:

1. Make sure you open send new tweet on your 280 character account.

2. Write your tweet

3. In the change who you send your tweet as part, select any other account you have that doesn’t have the new 280 character limit.

4. And now send your tweet… Simple

I have tested this the other way round, it it doesn’t work unfortunately as it sees the 280 character account as a 140 one (or something like that).

I tested this on an Android device (OnePlus 5 8GB 128GB version running Android 7.1.1 (normal Oneplus Stock ROM), so it will be interesting to see if anyone with a iOS device can do the same.

Update: A couple of people have let me know that this doesn’t work on iOS and gives the error of ‘Failed to send tweet’

 

 

United Kingdom Drone Laws

There’s be quite a few high profile incidents involving drones in the United Kingdom recently, with the most high profile one being when Gatwick airport was closed due to one being spotted twice in a hour (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/gatwick-airport-drone-latest-disruption-flight-diverted-easyjet-runway-closed-a7819841.html)

So I thought as a keen drone operator to write a quick overview on the slightly complex law around drones in the UK and other things to consider.

The main is to remember the heights you can fly at…

When your operating your drone, you need to make sure that it doesn’t endanger anyone or anything.That means keeping your drone within your visual line of sight, which means that it should be no more than 400 feet above you and  500 feet in front of you. If your wanted to go more than this, then you would have to get a permit from the CAA which involves proving that you can fly safely.

Drone use and Date Protection

Another thing to consider is data protection, if your taking photos or video footage, this may apply as people may be identifiable. As you may already know, the United Kingdom’s data laws are highly complex, there,’s requirements such as how images should be collected, stored and also used so it would be worth reading up on the Data Protection Act 1998.

This is especially important of your carrying out surveillance (if you need advice on this, send me a message as I’m a holder of a CAA permit and also CCTV licenced by the SIA)

Flying in Built up Areas

Seeing this is the United Kingdom, chances are this will count to you (looking at people who fly in their back gardens) basically if you want to fly in any congested area or a open-air assembly where there are 1,000 persons present  or more, you need to make sure that your drone is beyond 150 metres of the area or the event and if you wish to fly your drone in an area where there will be any thing not under your control (cars, lorry, people, boats and buildings ect), then you need to make sure you maintain a distance of at least 50 metres between your drone and those properties.

And that’s a quick guide to flying drones in the United Kingdom, of course there’s a lot better guides out there and this isn’t meant as any legal guidance in any way.

Vote or else

A sign with a white background saying 'Polling station' with a black arrow pointing. It also has a sign showing that it has disabled access

I keep seeing a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter moaning about politics but don’t vote as they believe it won’t make a difference which is really a load of rubbish.

The below graphs show how much difference that non voters could make if they really voted.

So really today may of just been local elections but you should make your voice heard and get out there and vote.o

You really have no right to moan about politics if you don’t take part!

Barbury Castle Revisited: This time from the air

Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort that is situated near Wroughton which is a large village in North Wiltshire. Barbury Castle is one of several forts found along the Ridgeway route.

Barbury Castle lies within the Wessex Downs which is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is also an local vantage point, which, with the ideal weather can get a view across to the Cotswolds and the River Severn.

It has two deep defensive ditches and ramparts. The Old Ridgeway runs close by and the modern Ridgeway crosses through the castle which makes it very popular with local walkers.

The site was first occupied around 2500 years ago and was also used during the Roman occupation of the local area.

Archaeological investigations at Barbury have shown evidence of a number of buildings, indicating a village or military garrison around this time.

In more recent times during World War Two, US troops were based there manning anti-aircraft guns.

 

Bixi: The first touch free remote: Review

The Bixi Box

So a while back on Kickstarter, I decided to back a hands free remote designed to use gestures to do things such as turn lights in and off, answer phone calls while driving and change music on your mobile as while as having input from IFTTT.

Yesterday I received my first Bixi as for some reason they’re sending out my second end one in the second end batch which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The Bixi and its packaging

My first thoughts on it was that the box was very nicely done but feels cheap, not really want I expected from a £55 device. The device was nicely presented in a soft foam backing with the outer ring on it and a spare ring which is a nice touch seeing it looks like it can easily be lost when your charging the device. Also it comes with a handy magnet for securing it to other surfaces.

The Bixi

So to the device it self, the build quality is disappointing to say at least. It feels cheap, when you first remove the outer ring to turn it on, you can’t help but to notice the sharp plastic around it. I wish it was dulled a bit. The power button it self is slightly resessed in to the body which makes it a pain to turn on and to turn the device off (more on that later).

The charging port it self is a mirco USB which is kinda nice to see as it’s the most common USB port these days, so your phone charger lead can be used (it doesn’t come with one).

Turning the device on

Turning the device on is easy, you just press the power button and it lights up on the display and you go into the Bixi app and click on ‘find your device’ which then connects via Bluetooth. Very easy and simple.

Using the Bixi

Using the Bixi is a bit of a pain I’ve found, it’s all gestured controlled, you left to play a previous track, swipe right to skip to the next track and so on. The same with lights, or making it act as a trigger for your go pro that is once you’ve connected them to the app which is very easy to do (just your username and password).

The app thro, is very simple and easy to use. As you can see, the device is in the middle showing its name (which you can rename and mine will shortly be renamed after a planet from firefly as all my devices are) as well as the battery level. You can tap the two ‘spaces’ on either side of the device to add task to it such as music or to your smart lights and so on.

Battery life wise, it takes around a couple of hours to get a full charge from empty which is quite good. I’m yet to test to see how long it lasts for and will update accordingly.

Tuning the device off

Good luck on this one, Bixi’s website says you press the power/reset button three times and the display will blink to day its turning off but the unit I have seems like it much rather stay turned on. I’m hoping that it’s a software issues which will be fixed in a update.

Overall

Overall, the Bixi does show promise, the whole idea of a hands free remote using just gestures is a good idea, one that takes some getting used to.

The benefits of having one is useful, like having one in the car is great, it’s just a wave over the device and it answers or declines a call, one on the bike handles to start your go pro recording as well (if you don’t have a go pro remote) to having one simply in the kitchen for when your listening to music and want to skip a track but then again… Alexa can do that (and a much more better job).

So really to sum up, I would save your money, it’s not the best device out there, it feels cheap, hard to get used to and at the moment quite buggy. Whether that is because it’s just come out and new updates will come out and fix these problems or like all new technology, it’s going to take a while to get used to.

Train Travels

A Great Western Railway Class 43 waiting to leave London Paddington Train Station bound for Bristol Temple Meads
A Great Western Railway Class 150 waiting to leave Bristol Temple Meads Train Station
A East Midlands Class 222 at Leicester Station
A Great Western Railway Class 153 waiting to leave Swindon train station running the trans Wiltshire service

Things I wish people knew about Eating Disorders

I come across this post about things I wish people about Eating disorders in my drafts section all hidden away, I never realised that I didn’t publish it. I tried to think of the reasons why, I guess back in December 2014, I was quite ill mentally and also psychically from my eating disorder (only I couple of months later, I started daycare). So now nearly two/three years, I thought I might share it. So here goes…

I could write so much about things I wish people knew about eating disorders from they’re not choices or that we’re doing it for attention to how every waking (and sleeping) moment is filled with thoughts about food even down to that we are hungry but can’t face that will to eat something for fear of gaining or being judged by others and ourselves.

So I’m going to talk about five things that I wish people knew about eating disorders.

  1. Eating Disorders are not a choice

One of most upsetting things someone have said to me when I was very unwell was that I was choosing to be that way. It can be so hard to express to somebody that you are not able to control your own thoughts and that voice in your head is constantly telling you all sort of things and causing you to deny yourself one of the most basic human rights… the right to eat. Although at times it was possible to make that choice to eat,  it was not possible at that time to choose to avoid the feelings of intense guilt and self-hatred that follows after eating. These sort of feelings where you just want to hide somewhere and cry, like that little space in the bedroom or that space at the bottom of the garden.

2. It’s okay to talk to me about my eating disorder and to ask questions

Although when I say this, I don’t mean by asking how much I weigh or how much I’ve eaten today or what I’ve eaten. Things like this will make me defensive, embarrassed or even ashamed of myself. It is okay to ask me how I am or if I’m finding anything challenging or if there’s anything that you can do to help but sometimes if I’m not comfortable answering I will say so but chances are it will make me feel like you care and want to support me although I may not show it. People with eating disorders can often feel very ashamed, and it is by talking and encouraging openness and honesty that we will break down the stigma surrounding them and promote recovery. However, don’t comment on my appearance. You might see me making progress, and that’s great. Whilst I might speak positively about recovery, I may still be battling my distorted body image constantly. If you have noticed I seem happier, please say so. If you think I have been more relaxed, please say so. But please don’t tell me I ‘look well’, or that I am looking ‘much healthier’. My rational brain understands that you mean well and are trying to be complimentary and supportive. My eating disordered brain will translate those comments into ‘you look fat’ or ‘you have gained weight’. This can cause both parties to feel guilty and upset. Eating disorders are about so much more than appearance, and it is by talking about the thoughts and feelings that go alongside them that we will really begin to understand them.

3. Please try to be patient.

Chances are, I will lie to you. I will be deceptive. I will tell you things are fine when they aren’t. I will start doing well, and then I won’t again. But none of these things mean I’m not trying and that I don’t care about you. Often I am hiding things because I don’t want to hurt you, and because I feel guilty for putting you through this. Please don’t give up on those who are suffering. Continue to encourage them to talk to you, and remind them that you are there no matter what stage of recovery they are at.

4. Eating Disorders are a mental illness.

There is nothing vain about having an eating disorder whether its anorexia, Bulimia or ED NOS and wanting to lose or control weight is a side effect of deep-rooted and complicated emotional difficulties. It is not about wanting to look like a celebrity or to gain attention, and I’ve found personally that I had a great deep sense of shame and did not want to draw attention to my illness which can be influenced by the fear that this stigma of vanity and narcissism will reflect badly. I have been so scared at times that people would think I was behaving in these ways to ‘gain attention’, when I had actually spent so long trying to cover them up and hide them from others. Eating disorders are incredibly dangerous, and more physically painful than is imaginable. Even after recovery, the physical side effects can last for months, years, and even be permanent. It is time that we broke through the discrimination that eating disorder sufferers experience and understand what they are really about.

5. Men get eating disorders too.

Eating disorders are so commonly thought of as a female illness. This can cause men to feel ashamed about accessing treatment, so the true figures of how many men are actually suffering from eating disorders is generally unknown. However people must learn that eating disorders do not discriminate. They can, do and always will affect people of any age, gender and race.

6. Recovery is possible, and it is worth it.

I had an eating disorder in one form or another for 12 years. I have been treated under CAMHS and adult services, and as both an inpatient and in the community. October 2015 marked the end of what I hope to be my last episode of treatment. Now this February in 2017 has marked the longest time I have been ‘in recovery’ without relapse, and I am currently the furthest into recovery that I have ever been. It is hard to fully appreciate how all-consuming, debilitating and painful eating disorders can be, and it can seem like it is impossible to get better. But it is possible, and it is worth it. There were countless times when I felt like giving up, but my life is so much fuller and richer now than it has ever been. I am immeasurably happier, and it is by far the hardest but most worthwhile thing I have ever done in my life.

I would encourage everybody to talk about eating disorders, whether you know someone who is suffering, have done so yourself, or want to spread awareness to others. I wouldn’t be where I am today without learning to talk.

Speaking out on increasingly worrying news

​I’ve been trying to write something about the past week about the news coming from Donald Trump’s America about the recent travel ban for people who come from seven mainly Muslim countries (and not just that, it includes green card holders ect) and I’ve been to shocked by this, about how it can happen in 2017 and especially after our history.

So here’s the short version instead of a massive rant: the new US travel bans are unjustifiable (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/28/trump-immigration-ban-syria-muslims-reaction-lawsuits) and so is Theresa May’s refusal to condemn them (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38784199) and not to speak out that this is not right for so many reasons.

All Refugees should be welcome and immigrants should be welcome as well (especially seeing that the United States was built on immigration and being the land of the free). Refugees and immigrants should be welcome without barriers in the US, in the UK, in fact anywhere that can support them.

I know I’ll properly get some hate from UKIP voters who are convinced that Britain Should Be For The British and that’s it, but that’s not who I’m talking to. I’m talking to the undecided folks. The folks listening to the rhetoric, and thinking “I don’t know, maybe it’s for the best.” It’s not.

We turned them away‘ is not something that looks good in the history books and we made a promise not to let history repeat itself and not to let it happen again (I’m talking about the Holocaust here) . With people agreeing with this travel ban, we’re letting this happen again and letting history repeat it self again.

So please in summary, look out for people less fortunate than yourself. Donate time or money, whichever you’re able, to effective charities. Be heard. Use your platform. Shout out and challenge it.

More prominently, do not let intolerance win

Thoughts on BBC Two’s ‘Transgender Kids: Who knows best?’

So BBC two aired a documentary called ‘Transgender Kids: Who knows best’ last night in the UK which has quite rightly so got a lot of negative feedback from not just the trans community but many other people as well for so many reasons and not just for including disgraced Canadian doctor Kenneth Zucker, who’s name filled many trans canadians with dread.

If your not aware of Kenneth Zucker has basically since the  1970s, treated about 500 preadolescence gender-variant children with reparative treatments till an age where he believed that they could determine their own gender identity.  

So for children assigned as male at birth, Zucker would ask parents to take away toys associated with females and instruct the child not to play with females and vice vis with female to male children. Psychologist Darryl Hill wrote that Zucker believed that this reparative treatment could reduce the possibility of gender dysphoria. All you would have to do here is to replace ‘Transgender’ with ‘Gay’ and their would be out cry.

But on with the program, it seemed to focus on the extreme part of the binary which was very much that ‘Girls play with barbies and that boys played with toy trucks’, along with a so called expert comparing transgender children to dogs… ‘a four year old might say its a dog, do you go out and buy him dog food’. The so called experts also tried to claim that being transgender was a result of other mental health issues and being autistic where being transgender was just a fixation on something.

As well as a focus on that being of a young age and having life chancing surgery which is completely wrong. There’s guidelines in place which means this doesn’t happen. Here in the UK, it’s 18, children can take puberty blockers which is reversible and spares the child the torment of going through a puberty which is wrong for them. Trust me, ask any transgender teenager or adult about that and it be the same answer. It was hell.

The best thing to take from this is that transgender children do know best, they know whats going in their heads, they can make decisions, forcing your own view onto them won’t make a difference apart from maybe either adding their name onto the ever growing list of transgender people who have sadly taken their life or by adding to the life in terms of happiness of feeling loved and supported.

So what other advice to take from this? If you have a trans child or a child questioning their gender then love and support them, understand them, help them, don’t for gods sake shoot them down or bury it. Trans people have one of the highest suicide rates going (The hidden extent of suicide attempts in young transgender people)

If you have been affected by any of the content here or the program please do use the following helplines and be kind to yourself:

Samaritans: 116 123
Childline (under 18): 0800111111
Gender Trust: 01527894838
Mermaids: 08443340550