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Archive for the ‘The 21st Century’ Category

A bright red retro turntable that is fully manual, belt driven, with counter balance weights, a stylus needle that needs to be maintained  and everything minimal in design. If that isn’t scary enough the manual turntable type if left unattended could potentially damage your vinyl collection.  Is this really worth the effort if you like living without many material things? The short answer is YES

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In a way it is a great way of turning back time and escaping living in the hectic 21st century for a few hours a day. Especially when it comes to 60s and 70s music which was meant to be listened to on LP vinyl records.   Over the years people have ditched these large records for the cassette, compact disc, music file downloads and more recently  music streaming sites but recently there has been a revival from a much younger generation that enjoys the deeper bass/imperfect sounds and novelty experience of having an unusual hobby.

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I think this interest comes down to being able to physically hold onto a record which takes a little effort to hear the music compared to electronic music files that can be played anywhere instantly with no connection to the full album.  With a turntable setup you need to find a spot for it along with the amplifying equipment and not to forget storage space for those large records.  While from a physical point of view this would go against living a minimalist lifestyle, this is about living minimally in your mind which is a great way to disconnect from technology while sitting back and watching/listening to that spinning record.

I think the balance comes by limiting your record collection to records that you really like while keeping the technology based music for when you do not have time to sit down and only listen to music.   This month I have been listening to The Beatles – Abbey Road along with Fleetwood Mac – Rumours on vinyl and the experience is like nothing I have heard before when played with simple vintage equipment.

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Most adults would have remembered a time when a traditional circus involved a big tent outdoors, with lots of wild animals and associated smells and tramping through mud on some occasions to get to your cramped seat.   However as times change what was once acceptable last century such as keeping wild animals locked up and only brought out to be exploited for entertainment is now becoming socially unacceptable to a new generation of circus goers.

This is where Circus 1903 satisfies this new generation by taking aspects of traditional circuses back in 1903 and modernising it for 21st century audiences using modern special effects. Puppetry, lighting and illusions are a few methods used to create realistic looking animals such as the massive elephant. As a circus goes it has everything from acrobats, knife throwing, fire throwing, juggling and a tight rope along with many other acts.

While I don’t want to give away too much specifics for those that have not seen it yet, no doubt the ringmaster  does a great job in leading the circus cast and interacting with the audience especially the young children.  Whether you are a child or adult you will have a big smile on your face in just over 2 hours.

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One of the latest action Cameras on the market is the Nikon KeyMission 80 Rugged Wearable Action Camera.  This little camera is smaller than a deck of cards and claims to be very powerful yet away from the promo video featuring the adventuring wandering music and good looking athlete does it live up to expectations by a real everyday user.

If you have not seen the official promo click on this link:  Nikon Key Mission 80 Promo it runs for a short 1 minute 52 seconds.

The pictures and video you are about to see are shot in various settings in New Zealand and Australia using the KeyMission 80.

Firstly because it is a new release it was hard to source and at the time of purchase in Sydney the guy at the Camera shop only had five available. However having said that the price was reasonable at only $425 AUD so nobody was trying to take advantage of the low stock situation.  In the box it comes with a power charger, backpack strap/holder for hiking and instruction booklets.  Like most camera devices you will need to buy your own micro SD card.

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Above non KeyMission 80 photo taken of device and what you get in the box

Initial thoughts were I could not believe how tiny this device was, in real life it looks smaller than depicted in photos/videos and easy to lose if you’re not careful.  If you are not familiar with Nikon products like I was it will take time to be comfortable with the device.  All up while you can be up and running within minutes I would allow at least two weeks of experimenting with the various features for the novice Nikon user to be at ease.

One of the great things about Nikon is they have this App called SnapBridge which enables you to download pictures in real time to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth.  Again if you are not familiar with these Apps it can be a frustrating experience getting it setup but when it finally works it is a great experience.

Now to the images:

Panorama Mode – Essentially you hold the camera and pan the camera 180.

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KeyMission 80 Panorama of wilderness & retreat scenery in New Zealand by Marty Sharp

Interval Mode – Choose between 30 seconds to 5 minutes interval automatic shooting which is great when you are out hiking; strap it to your pack choose the timing and nothing to think about.  Enjoy the scenery and have a look at the surprise shots later.

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KeyMission 80 interval shots hiking in New Zealand by Marty Sharp

Selfie Mode – In the promo the good looking actor/athlete makes it look easy.  Here are my average person selfies both outdoor and indoor.  I’ll let others be the judge whether the quality is good.  I have to say because the device is small it makes it easier than using your phone and no silly vain selfie sticks needed.

KeyMission 80 Selfies taken in New Zealand by Marty Sharp

Regular Still Images – At any time you can remove the camera from the strap/holder and take still images.  Here are a few demonstrating the detail both outside and inside.

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These six still images were taken at a remote retreat in New Zealand by Marty Sharp using the KeyMission 80

Action Still Mode – I strapped the camera onto my pack while cycling in the Barossa Valley in South Australia.

Image taken with KeyMission 80 hands free at speed imagery by Marty Sharp

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Above non Nikon KeyMission 80 photo taken with regular Samsung mobile phone to demonstrate how small the camera looks when worn on the person.

So far I am really impressed with the Nikon KeyMission 80 picture quality and ease of use.  This really is a great camera for someone that does not really know how to take professional pictures and wants a light weight option for when on the go.

My one disappointment is the camera does not come with a lanyard which made it impossible to hold while walking on a suspension bridge without fear of dropping it into the river below.  A minor limiting factor to consider if you are going places that are unstable you really need a secure strap if removing the camera from the holder to take shots.

My number one tip is the camera is much more powerful than you realise so view the images on high quality desktop computer screen as they look much better than on a mobile device.

Part 2 of the review will contain video using the device and final thoughts on the KeyMission 80.

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The Art Gallery of  NSW in 2013I like spending a lot of time at the Art Gallery of NSW soaking up the artistic atmosphere, so when I visit Sydney I always make a point of visiting the gallery to see what’s new, however up until now I have never visited the art gallery on a Sunday.  I arrived at the gallery today just as it opened at 10am and headed down to the members lounge to do some Uni readings on globalized activism.   It is nice place to relax away from all the tourists bustling through the gallery with a private café where I had some yummy scones with jam n creams with a hot chocolate! 

So what is so different on weekends at the gallery!  Well after I left the members lounge and headed to the main gallery area there were all these screams and laugher of young children.   Sunday appears to be family day at the gallery! Great….. I’m scarred of children 🙂 Anyway I thought I would be brave and see what they were doing.  I watched a presentation from a representative of the art gallery awarding three prizes for a drawing/painting competition which I think was themed around their latest temporary exhibit:  SYDNEY MODERNS.  The top three winners were around 8 years of age!  I think there were around 50 child finalists and along with their parents it was quite a spectacle.  Later that afternoon there was a puppet show for the kids, which I watched for about five minutes. As I watched the parents sit with their kids I thought these are the sorts of things you have to do if you have young kids.

Anyway what I really came to see at the Gallery were the SYDNEY MODERNS, which are a collection of modern art works by artists capturing the transformation of Sydney into a modern city from 1910s – 1930s.  Many of the artists capture the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, transportation networks and the beginning of multi-story buildings that captured new perspectives of how people lived and worked in Sydney.  I joined a guided tour that went for around an hour and the curator explained how artists such as Grace Cossington Smith, Roland Wakelin and Roy de Maistre among others used colour, light to create a dynamic representation of the modern Australia of the time.   Overall it was a good day at the gallery and I liked learning about how Australian history can be depicted in modern art which were very controversial at the time!

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