It's that time of year again - where I bore you all with my favourite new music of 2016. I'm not going to bother with keeping you in suspense like a terrible reality TV show. My favourite album of the year is Delain's symphonic pop metal record Moonbathers. I think that 2014's The Human Contradiction is a slightly better album. But of all the new records released in 2016 Moonbathers is the one that's had most rotation.
If you're in the "that's not metal" camp because Moonbathers is too poppy. Then you have my pity. But if you want a recommendation for my favourite heavy album of the year that would be Be'lakor's Vessels.
I've owned an LG 4K HDR TV for a few weeks now and initially I found getting the HDR picture to look its best quite baffling. The solution is surprisingly simple though. After lots of fiddling with all manner of controls I've discovered that avoid the picture being too dark in HDR UHD disks or HDR Xbox One S games is merely a matter of adjust the TV brightless level. I wrote the following response on a forum but I thought it was worth sharing here.
Update: Since I first posted this, LG has released a firmware update to add a low-latency HDR mode for gaming. This new mode appears alongside the other three HDR modes.
I recently took some photos at my children's school sports day. I wasn't happy with the result. Too many shots were out of focus. I'll admit the main problem was technique and lens choice. I used too long a lens and was poor at keeping the focus points over the subject I wished to capture. I was also stood at an angle that wasn't conducive to getting great shots. The latter was highlighted by the much better shots I got when the sporting events gave me a better angle to work with.
But where's this going? Well yesterday's announcement of the Fujifilm X-T21 and its dramatically improved autofocus system made me wonder how much of the issue was my camera. How much of the problems I faced at sports day were technique and position and how many were because the camera is not up to the job. After all we're often told that mirrorless cameras just can't do sports. I don't believe this last point. Yes if I was shooting only sport I would use a DSLR, but for the kind of small-scale action shooting I occasionally do I believe that mirrorless cameras are good enough. That left me with two options to pursue in improving my hit rate; those being my own technique and the camera settings.
Kudos to Stephen Colbert. Not many chat shows would feature a scientific breakthrough in this way. And scientist Brian Greene does a great job in explaining the hugely important Gravitational Waves discovery for the average viewer. No scientific knowledge required.
Maybe I'm getting old - but I'm increasingly enjoying sitting and watching the birds in our garden. We live in a small rural village and there is all manner of wildlife in the area. We hear owls hooting at night. In summer we watch the bats flit hither and indeed thither across our garden, and you can't drive a few hundred yards before seeing some unfortunate created splattered across the road.
In addition to the natural wildlife we hear cows moo and sheep baa. So all in all we're in the centre of a swathe of busy none-human creatures. For a long time we've had a simple peanut feeder in the garden for the birds. It was only mildly popular. A few weeks ago my wife bought a Gardman Feeding Station and I set it up in our garden.
It has taken a few weeks for the birds to get used to the idea. But now we have a feeding station that's become very popular among lots of different birds. I placed the feeding station next to a fence and some shrubbery. This allows birds a more covert approach to the feeding station and avoid attacks by the local sparrowhawk. So far we've had no fatalities surrounding the feeding station.
Hurrah American Truck Simulator has finally been released. The favourite game of many a dad everywhere sees a shift in focus from Europe over to the USA. SCS Software's new game is a celebration of Americana and initially features California and Nevada, with other states to follow later. So what's it like?
American Truck Simulator is a lot like European Truck Simulator. In some ways it feels more like an add-on rather than a full fledged sequel thanks to the reuse of the gameplay model and interface. However there's plenty new to enjoy - speed cameras make way for cops, turning right on red takes some getting used to and there are new mandatory weighing stops. The big draw is of course the USA location and for that the game is definitely worth the modest £14.99/US$19.99.