Category Archives: Featured Site

TFL Barclays Cycle Hire website is utter pants!

I have been trying to register online for TFL’s Barclays Cycle Hire – become a member, but have so far been unsuccessful because the site is just CRAP.  It doesn’t tell you which fields are mandatory until the very end, nor does it explain which fields are the problem after the validation has taken place.  All one gets is a ridiculous message that gives no clues to the actual problem:

Please check the following and try again.
Sorry, we are having a problem with your request. Please try again, or call 0845 026 3630 for help

To become a Member of Barclays Cycle Hire, you need to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age (check – I am older than 18).
  • Buy cycle access (24-hour, seven-day or annual) – (check I want 24-hour access).
  • Have a UK postal address which matches your billing address (check – I live in the UK and have a physical home and billing address).
  • Agree to the terms & conditions of Barclays Cycle Hire which include fees for late, non-returned and damaged cycles (check – I ticked the two boxes).

Strangely nowhere on the form does it prompt you for your date of birth, so how the hell can age be validated, nor does it ask which cycle access I want? I suspect if I got past the initial bullsh*t form it would ask me for my credit / debit card details, where my age would be validated.

So after six tries I am giving up. TFL have lost out. There is no way I am wasting my hard earned money on a 0845 number because on principal I should be able to sign up without any hassle via the website. I sign up to hundreds of online services a year and have very little hassle and most good web sites will at least tell you which fields have not been filled in correctly or show you the mandatory fields of entry.

LensHero is a great site dedicated to digital camera lenses.

Buying a DSLR camera can be a scary experience when one considers there are over a twenty camera & lens manufacturers with hundreds of different models, and hundreds of different camera lenses of all shapes and sizes. LensHero makes choosing your lens easy.

TWO steps are all that are needed.

The site asks you to enter your digital camera manufacturer, and as one types, a list of models appears in a drop down. Pick the digital camera and then use the slider to determine your budget. (The slider goes all the way up to £17990, a dream budget for most).

Pick the type of lens you want by selecting the style of photography you are interested in. (macro, close-up, wide angle, telephoto, fisheye, tilt-shift, portrait, sports & action, landscape, travel and wildlife or all types).

Or select the zoom tab and use the slider bar at the bottom to select the zoom range you are interested in. The two thumbnails change as the sliders are moved showing you exactly how your photograph zoom will look. (Nice).

Or click on the suggest tab, and tell LensHero what lenses you have already and then hit the GO button and it will suggest a lens for you.

Here is what LensHero suggested for me, which was spot on and one of the lenses I am interested in.

On the same page I can see the lens, the price, compatibility and even a location and price where I can get the lens (brilliant).

There is a link to a more detailed page, which contains a user review, the pros and cons, a compatibility list with other cameras, the specifications of the lens and an area for discussion. The entire information one would need, all in one place.

Finally, if you don’t want to use the easy 2 step approach, they also have a list by manufacturer, type, lens mount and by camera.

This is a great website. If you are looking for a DSLR, why not try out their sister site called snapsort. A similar idea for digital cameras.

Licorize is more delicious than pearltrees.

I just read that is going to be shutdown by Yahoo. For me it’s been one of the best online bookmarking service for years, so it will be a sad day when the service is terminated by evil Yahoo. I’ve already started searching for it’s replacement and have found a few good sites already and have imported my delicious bookmarks into them for a trial out! Top of my list so far is:

  • Licorize:
    • because it allowed me to import my delicious bookmarks.
    • it is connected with the following awesome services (all of which I am already using):
      • Evernote
      • Twitter
      • Dropbox
      • LinkedIn
      • RSS
      • ReaditLater
      • Apture
      • Skype
    • There is the ability to share with everyone, a group of people or an individual,
    • it allows others to collaborate on ideas and projects and all of this can be done in real time.
    • have added integration with many browsers so you can share a website URL by simply clicking a button.
    • have added integration for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and even via the iPhone, iPad or iPod (not that I have any of the last three iDevices).
    • They have there own blog, which appears to be updated regularly with news, new fixes, ideas etc. Check it out
  • Pearltrees:
    • also allowed me to import my delicious bookmarks.
    • Pearltrees is the social way to discover, organize and share the stuff you like on the Web. Use Pearltrees to keep at hand the stuff you find everyday on the Web, to discover new stuff in your areas of interest and to drive people through your web.
    • A pearl holds anything you find interesting on the Web. Click it to open it, drag and drop it to move it… or put your pearl into the trash to delete it. Every pearl has a detail window, which gives information about its content, comments and picks.
    • A pearltree is a curation of web pages. It works like a folder for pearls. You can open it, close it, browse it, move it into an other pearltree or send it anywhere to share some of your interests.

    I’ll admit the subject of my post does not do Pearltrees justice. I signed up and didn’t quite get the concept at first, BUT having spent a good few hours of my Saturday building up my pearls & pearltrees, I must admit it’s a really cool concept and linking to other related websites is so easy and visually pleasing. I’ve embedded my pearltrees into this post, but if you are interested in seeing the bigger picture, why not visit me at

Lowepro Rezo 160 AW handles the Panasonic G2 perfectly.

We needed a good camera bag for our Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, which we recently purchased. It had to fairly compact but strong enough to protect the camera with a 14-42mm lense attached and also it had to carry the extra 44-200mm lense,  a spare battery, some lense hoods, a battery charger, power cable, memory cards and a manual. A bonus would be if the bag was waterproof because one never knows when it is likely to rain in sunny England.

We opted for the Lowepro Rezo 160 AW and found Amazon to have the best price and the most reviewers (118 reviewers giving positive feedback).

The camera bag also met all our requirements:

  • It had to be lightweight and easy to carry.
  • It should have a shoulder strap or handle.
  • It must have multiple compartments or pouches for memory cards, cables, batteries, lenses etc.
  • It must offer protection to the camera in the way of padded edges.
  • Designed specifically for digital equipment.
  • Waterproof.

To give you an example of what it can hold, a reviewer on Amazon mentioned they had a Nikon D5000 DSLR. The Nikon camera is a lot larger (127x104x80 mm) than the Panasonic DMC-G2 (124x90x74 mm), and the reviewer had the standard kit lense 18-55mm + he managed to get another lense in the bag. So the bag is big enough for our camera, lenses and all the accessories.

I have a taken a whole bunch of photos of the Lowepro Rezo 160 AW camera bag from various angles, showing it with our camera and lenses in and out of the bag. They can be found in our photo gallery.

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