Day 6. Tree

A bit of an overcast wet day today. Not the best of days to be venturing out looking at trees for day 6 of the Bradford Photo a Day where, you guessed it, the word is Tree.

See here for the first posting on this –

This was my submission for the day:-

Crack Willow

It is, I believe, a Crack Willow (Salix Fragilis). It is on the River Aire in Baildon. There are several along the river bank. And many of them have cracked and fallen. Along the river bank there are also trees that have gone to pieces:-

All cut up

Others that were half naked:-


Trees doing Yoga:-


There are also plastic bag trees in various stages of coverage:-Plastic bag trees

Over the years some of the big stone slabs that make parts of the path have been tipped into the river by tree roots –


Some trees have also got a bit messy from the high water we have after heavy rain –


Some trees have hidey holes –


Some have split to show their insides, that then look as though they are being hollowed out by insects and birds –


This tree, stripped of most of its bark lower down is probably going to stay bare –


Next time we have high water on the river I would not be surprised to see some of these floating away –

Lose wood

When I first ventured out for a tree photo I went down to Thompson Lane. The field there has what I thought was a single tree, on its own, that would make a good photo. It turns out that it is actually two trees and there was no where that I could get a shot with the sky behind the tree – too much around it. When you look at it it is very easy for the trees behind to be out of focus and ignored, but when taking a photo it is a different matter. The trees behind would not let the tree stand out. It is in this tree that I heard, and then managed to photograph, a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the beginning of March:-


When I got to the field at Thompson Lane I also went into the woods behind it for a few minutes. Again I heard and saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker. I didn’t get any shots of it because I had my small lens on the camera in preparation for taking photos of trees.


Day 5. Window

This is day 5 of the #bradfordphotoaday challenge and the word is window. See here for the start of it –

I have already had a photo of a reflected United Reform Church in a window, and the window was not the interest, come to that the reflection wasn’t much good either; the idea was there but not the light. 🙁

There are dozens of good windows around but what can I do today? I am 3 floors up on the canal side of Salt’s Mill. I have worked in the same area of the building for 13 years and I can’t remember the windows on the canal side being cleaned in all that time. I could take a photo of our windows to show what 13+ years of unwashed window looks like but it is surprisingly uninteresting. I suppose a pane of glass can only hold a certain amount of crap before it gets rinsed off by the wind and rain. If you ignore the muck on the windows then from my desk I actually have quite a nice view of Thompson Green and the Cricketers. This photo was taken from my desk at an angle of less than 90 deg to my right.

Thompson Green

And this one is through the window that is directly behind my monitors.


Those are the apartments across the other side of the canal at Riverside Court, behind New Mill. They get their windows cleaned a couple of times a year by people on a cherry pickers. Below is someone working on the windows at the fron to New Mill

Cherry picker

A few years ago a glass roofed area of Salt’s Mill (a later dye house addition) was removed and 2 floors taken out.

This is a photo of it before the work started. With the crumbling concrete water tank supports at the far end.


Several water tanks at the far end were also taken out. They were on top of an ugly, crumbling, reinforced concrete addition to the mill. This left a few holes in the wall that now provide nesting holes for birds – the best of which are the Kestrels.


As you can see I managed to put my camera through the window and get a few photos.

This year though there seem to be more Jackdaws around and the Kestrels keep being mobbed by them. I have also seen them in the hole that the Kestrels use for there nest. I hope they get themselves sorted for when the eggs get laid.

A big circular stone tower that held a water tank was removed, and the stair way. Some of it was done using rather large machines.

Big toys

Over the last couple of years Pace has been refurbishing its offices and it is a good idea to clean the windows as part of that. At least with the glass roof gone this is now possible but not necessarily sensible. Looking at the ladder in the photo below is it any wonder that the task was not completed! It was probably decided that the benefit was not worth the risk – that is a long way down.


I could enter ones like these as a window photo for the challenge but I think the one below, that I took in the evening may prove more interesting.

This is my entry for the Window topic:-

Balti House Window

This arched window is where John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, preached to a Baildon congregation that was out in the open. This was in 1876. At that time there were cottages on the other side of the road and not a car park.


Day 4. Statue

This is day 4 of the #bradfordphotoaday challenge and the word is Statue. See here for the start of it –

This morning the weather did not lend itself to happy snapping, but I wasn’t to know that things would be a lot better by the afternoon. A cold wind was blowing sleety rain into my right ear on the way along Thompson Lane. I had set off for work 2 minutes earlier than usual which then gave me 5 minutes to try for the obvious statue shot – well it would have done if I didn’t have to drag the wheelie bin out onto the footpath before setting off.

Before leaving for work, thinking that it would be most suitable, I put my 50mm lens on the camera; I didn’t want to be swapping lenses in the rain. I was taking my shoes with me in a small ruck-sack so I left my big back pack (the one I blogged about here) at home and used my small camera bag which is just big enough for the camera with 50mm lens fitted plus my 18-55mm and 55-250mm. I didn’t fancy using my camera in the rain so when I got to Robert’s Park I started taking shots from in the band-stand. I did think at one point that it would have been better with my wider 18-55mm lens but the larger aperture of the 50mm was an advantage because the light was not very bright. I didn’t like the composition of the shots from the bandstand so I went round the far side of the bandstand, away from Sir Titus, and took a few shots from there. I think that made the shots more interesting and you can see the results below. (As usual, click on the photo to see it on flickr) This is the one I submitted for the Day 4 Statue challenge. You can also see what caused all the fuss in the morning – Snow! Several people in IT did not make it in to work – but if you live out at Saddleworth, and work in Saltaire, what do you expect? They also had a power cut so he couldn’t, truthfully, say he was working from home.

Sir Titus

It was difficult to believe that it was only last Wednesday when I went into Bradford and took the photos, from Forster Square station, of the Kestrels, and spent some time in the Media Museum and Citypark in bright, hot, sunshine. I knew it had been reasonably sunny but, as often happens; it was at dinner time that I realised just how hot and sunny it had been. Several times a year the quiet of the dining table finally allows me to notice that my face is hotter and redder than usual – or is it because it needs that length of time for the sun burn to finally make itself noticed?

In the morning I had thought that I would not get a better statue shot than Sir Titus in the snow, but then I noticed our terracotta soldier in the Hub, our canteen. He is so much part of the furniture that I had forgotten about him. But then he doesn’t make a fuss. So before setting off for home I decided to take a photo of him – too late for the #bradfordphotoaday because I had already submitted my Sit Titus. Here he is with a copy of Pace Setter. On the back cover, top left, you can just see one of my photos of a Little Owl.

Terracotta Warrior

Between the feet of the warrior is a plaque which reads:-

Qin Shi Huang unified China and undertook some gigantic
logistics projects, most notably building the
Great Wall of China, a massive national road system
and a city protected by a life-sized Terracotta Army.

Uniserve are proud to present a replica Terracotta Warrior
to Pace plc to commemorate our partnershop and the
logistices service we provide from China and the rest of the world

April Bradford Photo A Day – now on day 3

I have had thoughts about more disciplined attempts at photography and still have a couple of ideas that I might go for but this April is going to see an attempt to take a photo each day that in some way is related to the word from the @hiddenbradford #bradfordphotoaday challenge.

Day 1. Digital. For this one I went into Bradford to see if anything at the Life On-line exhibition at the Media Museum took my fancy. I also wanted to go to the exhibition again to prove that I was foolish in not liking it. I liked my second visit quite a bit – and so blogged. My first blog about Open Sauce still stands though.

I did not see anything I wanted to photograph for #bradforphotoaday digital day so I used a photo taken on Forster Square station.


I did this carefully as I did not want to get asked to move on as happened on Wednesday. Which is something I blogged about here. Which reminds me – I have yet to hear from the person in York that I asked about the official company guidlines.

Day 2. Up. That is not an easy word to take a photo of, or is it too easy? The sky is up. Anyway, for this one I tried to be looking up as I was walking around. My lunch-time walk, instead of looking for Kingfishers on the river, was a short walk to the car park of Salt’s Mill and back. The obvious thing that was up in the air was the chimney so I got a few shots of that. I also took some photos of cars going up Carr Lane that look as though they are up in the Shipley clock tower but they don’t really work.

The cycles suspended from the ceiling of All Terrain Cycles was a bit more interesting and different so one of those won the coverted privilege of being my day 2 submission.


Click on the image above to see the others that did not make it “Up”.

On the way home from work I decided to take a couple of different views, that could qualify for Up, of the United Reform Church – different for me anyway, I am sure many have done the same in the past.

United Reform

Click on the image to see 2 others of the church.

Day 3. Reflection. I had a few ideas for this one. I would have loved to get a few colleagues to rearrange their computer monitors and pose for me but a) I am not sure what the company would think of me doing that and b) I am no good with real, live people as my subjects. I therefore fell back on reflections. At lunch-time I did go looking for reflections in the canal and river but the weather was not co-operating.

However, on the river I did spot a Mandarin Duck. One of these had been around for a few years. But last year it was noticeable by its absence. This year we have an American Wood Duck to go with it. Below is the Mandarin. Click on the image to see it on flickr and its distant American Wood Duck cousin.

Mandarin Duck

In the past I have had some great reflections on the river and will be taking more in the future. Below is an amusing reflection that I managed to get during one of my lunch-time walks. Again, click on the image to see it on flickr and see the full image that this was cropped from.


For this day’s challenge I had to rely on shiny glass or plastic for my Reflection photos.


So the image above is the one I have submitted for the challenge. I have tried this shot before; the last time was in the evening. Click on the image above to see the other Reflection contenders.

This one, below, is the previous reflected Salt’s Mill photo


Below are the words for the rest of the month. I have now been back to this and added links to each of the postings for each day.

Day 4. Statue.
Day 5. Window.
Day 6. Tree.
Day 7. Made in Bradford
Day 8. Egg
Day 9. Transport.
Day 10. Door.
Day 11. Green.
Day 12. Station.
Day 13. Heritage.

Life On-Line, 2nd visit, a re-think

I have now been to see the Life On-line exhibition at the Media Museum twice. The first time was to have a look at what it was saying about open source. I looked round the ground floor and the 7th floor and as a result blogged about Open Sauce. I was also putting together a blog about the rest of the Life On-line exhibition where I noticed that I was saying a lot about my understanding of the development of the internet that fitted with what I thought was the brief/blurb I had read about the exhibition. Why did the blurb whet my appetite but the exhibition not seem to fit the blurb? I know I did not look at everything but had I got it so wrong. Apparently I had.

My second visit was for 2 reasons

  1. I was on a quest for a photo that I could put under the heading of Digital for the Hidden Bradford BradfordPhotoADay exercise and
  2. to see whether I was right to write my blog.

I did not take any photos at the Media Museum but on the way in I did take a photo at Forster Square station that I posted for the Bradford Photo a Day. This time I went into the station building to let them know that I would be taking a couple of quick photos and not using a tripod. I thought this best since I had been asked to move on last time I was there. A situation I blogged about.

During my 2nd visit to the Media Museum I spent some time looking at the things I did not read on my first visit. I soon realised that I could delete most, if not all of what I had been writing. So I am now doing this one instead.

How had I managed, on the first visit, to only see the things I was not interested in? There were sections on ArpaNet, TCP/IP, IP addresses, DNS servers, with a graphical game to show how a network can be resilient. Explanations of what issue each new idea was addresssing. Videos done by the people who were involved in, or responsible for, each of the developemnts.

All good stuff.

The bits I was not interested in were the glass floor of hardware and the pile of reducing size/increasing performance modems, but many seemed thrilled to see them.

What I find exciting about the whole history is the way new ideas were tried and made to work. It is more about the people, their ideas and how they got others involved and got them working rather than the hardware that they used to achieve it.

I believe that in many situations the success or failure of whatever is involved is often dependant on the people involved and their ability to communicate. If anyone wants something to be a success the mantra should be communication, communication, communication – with a shed load of persistence (in the communication efforts) thrown in for good measure.

Perhaps I now need to visit the 7th floor again to read some more about open source – but then I might have to withdraw/re-write my Open Sauce blog.

Open sauce

I am a fan of Open Source – I use Ubuntu Linux at home, Open Office, Firefox web browser, Thunderbird email client, I host websites that use MediaWiki, Joomla, WordPress and webtrees all written in PHP that runs on Apache web-servers. I have also written my own applications in PHP and provide access to it free of charge but do charge for support – all in keeping with the Open Source initiative.

On Saturday I went to the Bradford Media Museum to look at the Life Online exhibition. The main reason for going was for the [open source] mentioned in the blurb. After looking round the displays on both the ground floor and the 7th floor I have to admit to being disappointed. Perhaps if I had gone with a different purpose I may have been more open to its other aspects, but I have another blog brewing about that too. To me Open Source has a particular meaning and I feel that the exhibition was dumbing that down and confusing it with collaboration and content management.

An attempt was made to take the two words separately and give a definition which I think was sort of correct but phrases don’t work that way, when you put more than one word together to name something it often tightens the meaning of the individual words. And you also have to take into account the history of the phrase. Then other areas of the exhibition started to confuse things even more.

There were several interactive displays one of which showed collaboration – someone had done a graphic design which had then been translated into small enough steps so that one or more people could reproduce the design using coloured blocks. Those using the blocks did not need to see the overall design nor did they need to know where their work fitted within the progress of it. The fact that you were free to put the blocks anywhere (instead of where instructed) made it open but the same can be said of most collaboration attempts – constraints are needed for it to succeed. For the outcome to be considered a success when there are no constraints then it is probably art you are producing, or anarchy. There are a couple of ways I can link this to computers. One where you take simple building blocks (either electronic components or individual bits of computer code) and build things that can perform incredible tasks. Another where you break a job (software development) down into small manageable tasks/pieces and then put them all together to make something unique.

Another screen tried to explain open source and I was amazed to hear people saying that Facebook and Wikipedia were open source. Facebook is quite definitely not open source, it can only be changed by adding to it. If I add something to Facebook then no one can change what I have put on there. They might be able to force others to put a different interpretation on what I have said by adding their own comments, but my words can not be changed – that is not very open. It is perhaps open in the way a shop can be, but even that is stretching it.

Wikipedia gets a little more interesting in this respect in that if I put anything on there it can be added to or changed by others, and I can change their words, or I can cause the images they uploaded to no longer be displayed and mine to be visible instead. This is collaboration that is made available to anyone who wants to create an account. I have to agree that this fits with a reasonably open definition of open. Wikipedia also keeps a record of all the edits that have been done so that they can be reverted to as required – is that open?

If we now include the word source then we start to look at a whole different area. Source can mean the place where something started so I am not sure how it can be applied to Facebook or Wikipedia but it can refer to the computer program that someone wrote to perform a particular task. Computer programs are written in many different languages and with some of them, when you read through the program, you can often get an idea of what is happening with each section. Before these programs can do anything on the computers they get translated (compiled) into code that the computer can eventually work with. The code that the programmer wrote, before it is compiled, is called the source code. This is the source being referred to in the phrase open source.

Before Bill Gates came along people with computers often had the source code for their operating systems and applications and would tailor them to suit their particular use. They had their own copy of the source code. Usually you were not allowed to pass the source code on to others, it was only open to you.

With Microsoft this changed. Microsoft translated (compiled) their source code to make the files that the computer worked with and it is these files that Microsoft distribute. These files are often called binary files in that they are much closer to the 1s and 0s that the computer works with and are very, very difficult for people to work with and change. To reinforce the idea that you are not supposed to make any changes to Microsoft code you only get a licence to use the software, you never actually own it. This model is quite definitely not open or dealing with source code.

Some people carried on with providing the source code to their customers and some of the licences became more open. You could share your changes with others.

There are several recognised licence agreements with open source. One common licence allows you to get hold of the code and change it but you must not remove any acknowledgements of the people who have worked on it. If you want to make your changes available to others then it must also be under the same licence agreement. You are not allowed to charge for the source code. Though you can charge for the media, packaging, printing or your time working for the purchaser.

Your changes can be supplied in addition to the original source or if your changes are significant you might want to create a separate identifiable product. This splitting off is called a fork. Forks can happen for many reasons.

I don’t know the details of how it evolved, or which applications were the first, but as people made changes to the source code to suit their needs it would have been noticed that others had similar needs and so the changes that had already been made could be incorporated into the original source code, still under the same name, so everyone could benefit. There are many programs where the source code is freely available and, as I have said, people can get hold of it, use it and change it to suit their needs. If the person making the changes is suitably competent and confident they can then contact the group developing the software and let them know about the changes so that they can be incorporated in the original.

Many open source applications have lots of people working on different parts or aspects of the source code and it is possible to get involved. Individuals with particular skills or knowledge can become part of the group and contribute. You don’t even have to be a programmer. Big projects need testers, quality control, co-ordinators, project managers etc. This is when it really becomes Open Source.

The licensing of Open Source can be a mine field to companies that want to make money out of their labours. This is one of the reasons why many keep away from it. Let’s say you are building some software for your product and some of that software is unique to your product. If the source code got into the hands of your competitors you might lose some of your competitive advantage. If, as part of that software, you included some code that was released under one of the open source licences then you may be legally obliged to make your source code available under the same licence. I am trying to work out whether this is restrictive Open Source or open Open Source. You are forced into being open.

I will finish by going back to WikiPedia because another interesting thing about it is that it uses open source software called MediaWiki. Anyone can download the MediaWiki source code and use it to host a wiki of their own. You can make changes to your installation to suit your needs and many of these changes can be achieved with configuration, this has nothing to do with open source. The more adventurous of you can change the underlying code to suit your particular requirements, this is customisation and then falls within open source. You can also contact the group looking after the MediaWiki source code and get involved. Now that’s Open Source.

Perhaps I am missing the message at the Media Museum? There was a section that mentioned providers wanting to charge for content. Open Source works within the laws of copyright as does Open Commons and creators of content are free to choose the framework that they want the content to be available in and this should be considered at the time of creating the content, or at the latest at the time of release.

Feel free to post comments.