I need to interrupt this home page with some completely personal thoughts.

At 1700 hours GMT on Saturday 7 November 2020 a very important fact was announced in the news bulletin: Biden has won the American presidential election.

I don't know much about him - whether he's a great statesman or an able diplomat - I'm English/Irish and I'm unfamiliar with his career. But I know this - listen up Yanks - most of the world must now be saying Thank God, Praise the Lord in His Infinite Wisdom; we are rid of that orange thing!!

What I did find extraordinary in spades is that almost half of the American voters who cast their opinion at the polling stations or by post voted for this uniquely moronic and cretinous imbecile. Pay attention, 70 million of you: why or how in God's name could you possibly endorse this creature? The man is not only deeply weird, nay, repulsive, with his orange face and hair and his prissy little mouth and his weird family, he is also a proven liar, and has demonstrated this many many times. How could you vote for this train wreck of a man? Well, it's a moot point now, as he is out, gone, done, lost.

He's on record as saying he won't leave the White House if he loses, and has approached the Supreme Court with numerous allegations of illegality, yet can offer no proof whatsoever. It's all a figment of his twisted and fevered imagination. What a wonderful conclusion it would be to this story if we were to be treated to news footage of the National Guard or US Marshals dragging him out in handcuffs. What a dream.

Coronavirus: he never had it. It was all a ploy to garner votes: never underestimate the power of public sympathy. But if he actually DID have it, why didn't he do us all a favour and drink bleach, as he once suggested the public should do? No, the claim he had the virus was yet another lie.

Good bloody riddance to bad bloody rubbish, as we Brits would put it. Trump, may all your balls land in the sand, you utter turd.



Yes, as it says above, this is CallMeAlan.uk, the personal website of a guy called, perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, Alan.

alansworld {at} [gmail.com] will find me, should you care to discuss anything I've written about. I welcome any feedback.

This website has been tested NEGATIVE for coronavirus. However, the end of the world is at hand!



About me and this site.

It's mostly about photography. I offer my opinions about RAW photograph processing applications and narrow the numerous software offerings down to just two worthwhile packages. I then talk about how to drive the software using physical control surfaces.

I also talk about my obsession, taphophilia, explaining what it is, and offering numerous albums of taphophilic photography.

I live near, and love, Greenham Common. If that place sounds familiar, look it up. Once a US airfield during the cold war - with much evidence thereof remaining - it's now a public place of lakes, birds, flora and buzzy bees and other insects. There is even a small herd of wild ponies roaming, which seem to get on just fine with the most laid-back cattle imaginable.

I'm also constantly adding albums to my general photography pages. Albums mostly about nature, in its widest sense, but I reserve the right to include anything I want in there. Albums pages coming soon.

You'll also see my lighthearted interpretation of the rules of the road in Russia. I say rules, but perhaps imaginary suggestions would be a better description.

Venturing into programming, I'm putting before you a programming challenge, looking for a pseudo language-independent coding approach to a words and letters television game called Countdown.


Before we go any further, I'm going to save you 500 pounds/dollars

DJI, a wonderful Chinese company, are the manufacturers of the world's best drones and stabilised cameras of various descriptions and types. But recently, maybe within the last 6 months, not sure, they released their Robomaster product, a supposedly programmable wheeled robot vehicle. Beautifully made (by you - it arrives as a kit) but, in my humble opinion, it is unmerchantable, meaning it should never have been released for sale. Please don't be tempted to splash out on one; you will probably regret it.

This is why



And next I'm going to suggest that you save yourself 30 quid a week

Following on from my previous item, in which I hoped I might have saved you 500 (dollars/pounds) by avoiding that robot, I'm now going to advise you to save yourself 30 pounds per month, by avoiding an organisation called HelloFresh.

This is why



My random thoughts, ideas, statements and opinions

Sometimes I come across something so weird, strange, outrageous, funny, interesting, annoying or just different that I want to record it. So I thought I'd dedicate a page to such oddities. Here you'll find various stuff and randomness, some of which may be funny, some may be thought-provoking. It won't hurt you to check it out.

My snippets



RAW photographs, their many application software packages filtered down to two one, and the use of control surfaces

I talk about how I've reduced the vast number of RAW processing software packages down to just two that work well and work quickly enough that you don't need to go get a coffee every time you click Process. It also happens that these only two worthwhile applications are the only two which can work completely and efficiently with control surfaces.

Read about *proper* RAW software and control surfaces

Some December 2019 news. Anybody visiting my site, and who may understand, use, or read about RAW processing, will be aware of the product called Capture One. It happens to be one of the only two *proper* and worthwhile packages out there, and I talk about it in this section via the above link.

Keen RAW photographers who are familiar with C One may be aware that Phase One has now (4 Dec 2019) released the much-teased version 20 of Capture One. I had previously mentioned here that I had seen a beta pre-release of 20, but was unable to talk about what it featured. Well, as of now, it is in general release. I'm not going into what's new as there's plenty of Youtube material out there. However, as a very early initial personal comment, I must say that, wow, it's become sloooow! In version 10 I could twist a knob or push a button on my control surface and see instant results. No longer. Increase the exposure and watch as the program slowly brightens the picture in little hops and skips. Yawn. Trouble is, you think, oh, it needs a bit more, twist the knob further and bam! You've grossly overshot the mark into an utter washout because your previous twist was still grinding away.

Hence - and I've been patient, tried everything, rebooted the computer, all of that - due it having become as slow as various other RAW products I've trialled and rejected I must change my views on Capture One : There is now only one contender in the RAW processing arena: Adobe Lightroom. I can no longer call Capture One one of my two worthwhile RAW products. Lightroom reigns supreme.


But in the latest news, December 2020: I was musing about the gradual demise of Capture One into the slow thing that is version 20. Its awful slothfulness made it effectively unuseable. Then I recalled how good version 10 - long deleted from my Apps folder - was. I searched forlornly and without much hope for the installer and Bingo! There it is, deep in the dark depths of one of my external drives. After ensuring that there was no remaining trace of version 20 on my Mac I installed version 10. This is unbelievable! All the old well-remembered speed is back. The overshoot is a thing of the past.

So I am promoting Capture One back to being one of my day-to-day RAW working products



I want to talk about the Sigma Quattro and Foveon sensors - what they are, how they differ from the more usual and normal Bayer sensors, and about the difficulties and differences about processing their RAW files, which have the X3F extension. Let's learn about why you won't be processing an X3F in Lightroom, ON1, Affinity or DxO, to name but a few. No, you're going to have take a different approach. Read my article about Quattro / Foveon / X3F.



Enough of the technical. Let's see some photographs:-

I am a taphophile
Enough theory for now. Let's talk about my incurable chronic mental aberration, taphophilia, and have a look at some pictures which explain the condition. Hint: a taphophile is a grave hunter and photographer. If you don't need to read about my taphophilia you can hop straight over to
My catalog of grave photography albums


Greenham Common: former US nuclear airbase, now a public common again
This is a series of my photograph albums about Greenham Common, near Newbury, Berkshire, in central south England. I live in Newbury, and the Common is where I'm often to be found, invariably with one or more of my cameras slung around my neck. It's a wonderful and often quite surprising place, and my intention here is to give you a flavour of what it was, by looking at how it looks today.

Greenham Common used to be an American nuclear airbase, until that closed, roughly at the same time as the Cold War was called off, and they ripped it up with big yellow tractors and things. But they left behind many many enticing clues and photogenic reminders of its past. So this is my acknowledgment and thanks to those who, when ripping up the former airbase, left us those reminders of what it was.


General Photography
This is the index to my general photograph albums. Elsewhere on the site are my graves and graveyards albums, and also my special Greenham Common site and the story of Sterling cables.

But I take lots of pictures and it's only fair to you to allow you the opportunity to have a look at them. So here goes.

Sterling Cables, a piece of Newbury history
This is my look at a piece of Newbury history - an illustrated look at the old Sterling Cables site, which featured the derelict cable building, once the tallest building/eyesore in the town, now demolished


Some stuff unrelated to photography:-


My programming challenge
I'm challenging you to offer a programming solution to the UK TV game Countdown - you get given 9 random letters and from them you have to offer the best word, 9, 8 or 7 letters, found from a plain text file full of 180,000 real words.

Driving in Russia
Driving in Russia. Based upon what I've seen on YouTube I've derived a list of rules, advisories and suggestions for driving in Russia.

All site content © CallMeAlan