Pebble Development – a first App


So, for Christmas I received a Pebble Watch. I looked at the SDK for this and there’s a quite comprehensive development system with event driven functions as well as all the normal ‘C’ type functions.


Pebble display when the App starts.

Shooting rugby most weekends, and writing reports, I often struggle to keep track of the score, elapsed time and cards, so an obvious app for me is one to do that for me. So, I set to developing just such an App for the Pebble watch.

When the App starts, it’s ready to go for kick-off. The clock is set at 40 minutes. The three buttons Up, Select and Down have different functions during the program use, indicated by the selected part of the display. Press the Select button to select the three different areas of the display (the very top always shows the current time of day).

The first section is the match time, with the display showing the elapsed time and the remaining time in the match half. Press the Up button for time off and on, indicated by X and o in the right-hand part of the display. The watch vibrates when the clock runs out. A long press on the Up button restarts the timer from 40 minutes – use this when the second half starts.


Match underway, with one card in progress.

Press Select and you move to the Cards section. Press the Up button to add a card timer. Up to six cards can be added, with the watch vibrating each time a card expires. Hopefully six cards will be enough!

Press Select again, and you get to the scoring section. Press Up to increment the Home score, and Down to increment the Away score. Press and hold the relevant Up or Down button to decrement the scores in case a score was added by mistake.

Finally, press Select once more to return to the timer control mode.

My first attempt at a Pebble watch App. I guess it could look a but prettier, but it’s functional! You can see it here.

Update :

I’ve updated the program a little with some ‘hints’ on screen, and various other improvements.

December 2014, Simon Taylor


The Farnborough GTG, 5th March 2011


The 5th of March saw photographers meet for a day taking photographs and generally exchanging ideas and anecdotes about all things photography.

First, they met at the Rushmoor Cafe in North Camp for a hearty breakfast on the chilly Saturday morning. Simon Taylor of welcomed most of the photographers there, with people travelling from places such as central London, Southampton and even from Tubingen near Stuttgart in Germany.

German photographer Chris Marquardt produces a weekly podcast called “Tips From The Top Floor” along with an online forum to support the show. This forum is a community in itself and was responsible for a large number of the people attending.

Members of Aldershot & Farnham & Farnborough Camera Club also attended, swelling the numbers to nineteen.

After breakfast, the group moved to the FAST Museum on the Farnborough Road, where the museum manager Brian Luff and the other volunteers there welcomed the group, explaining many aspects of the exhibits and even giving some special access to the visitors to allow them the best opportunity for some unusual images. Aspects of the museum’s history, the large model aircraft display, history of the Spitfire, Hurricane and other details such as navigation systems were explained. A large attraction was of course the full-size replica of the Cody Flyer which those attending were able to ask detailed questions about, even down to details such as the spokes in the wheels used and the knots of the tension lines that support the aircraft!

Special interest was given to the darkroom at the museum, especially as Chris Marquardt was unusual in the group, being the only one to have solely film cameras, three of them, 35mm and medium format.

Cockpit of the Harrier

Vintage Road Signs from Farnborough

Photographing one of the exhibits

After the museum the group moved onto the Airship Hangar at the north of the airfield for the opportunity  to get some abstract and unusual shots. Before that, they took a small break at the Village Hotel to get a warming coffee. The airship hangar is a large structure, constructed without the skin that it would have had in use, but creates a stunning landmark in the Farnborough skyline.

A short time there, then the group moved on again to Farnborough Rugby Club for some light lunch before the main event of the day, the Farnborough First Team in league action against Southampton.

Simon got everyone in the group to pose between the posts for a “Rugby Team” style image for everyone to remember the day by.

Gary Allcock, Farnborough’s coach even welcomed the guests, suggesting some of the possible action to get pictures of. The guests even had a special mention in the match day programme from Club Chairman, Robin Moses. The Farnborough News photographer, Chris Whiteoak, even turned up, so the match would have a total of twenty photographers to cover the game!

Click image for full size or to download

Many were to find out what regular sports photographers such as Chris Whiteoak and Simon Taylor put up with. Poor light conditions that make high speed photography challenging, together with the added challenge of judging where the action will occur along with the bitter cold!

After a shaky start, Farnborough picked up in the second half and beat Southampton quite convincingly.

Everyone retired after the game to the bar, and rounded off the day with a curry at the Gurkha Palace, opposite the FAST museum where the day started in earnest.

Links to pictures :

Chris Matthews

Alan Ager

Brian Jones

Simon Taylor – GTG picturesRugby Pictures

Chris Marquardt – these images all on film

Borderline Racism In Rugby


Fijians At Farnborough I’ve recently been incensed at some comments I have heard in the clubhouse, on the touchline and in writing from opposing teams. Cries of “Get the black bastards” and “run nigger, run” have been heard, as have sideways snipes at the composition of the Farnborough team. We started a match with eight Fijian players in our local side, which other teams take some offence at. Maybe it’s because they are very good, fit and experienced players, and the opposition is jealous, or maybe it’s that their colour provides an easy label to attack them on. One local team writes in their match report “Boro had three chances and took them all, all scored by Fijians of whom there were no fewer than eight in the starting line-up. With a South African captain to boot, Farnborough are certainly the most cosmopolitan club in Hampshire One.”

The BIG point for me is this : These guys are serving soldiers in the British Army. Many of them are due to leave for Afghanistan in the next few weeks to fight on our behalf. So, Farnborough RFC gives them the opportunity to play rugby while they have some free time, and contribute to the success of the local team. Farnborough give these guys the opportunity to play, other local teams could, but do not, and have taken part in these racist chants. Whatever you may think about allowing foreigners to settle in our country, don’t label people who are making a contribution. If you don’t agree with our foreign campaigns, that’s an issue to take up with the government, not the individual soldiers.

I am proud to call the Fijians part of the Farnborough team, and wish them well in their endeavours as they serve for our British Army.

Five Things.


Well, this seems like a chain challenge, where Kavey challenged Bexxi, and I volunteered to write about five things that Bexxi thought represented me.  She chose :

1. Rugby

I’ve always preferred rugby as a sport, it’s more varied than football somehow. When there is pain, it’s genuine, unlike the annoying ‘professional’ fouls (or falling over) you get in football.  There’s great honour and spirit in rugby, everybody is part of the team, even the hangers on like myself, not just the players.

I got involved in February 2004 with my local team. I was just after a few pictures for competitions, so I found the local side, contacted them and asked if they’d mind me coming up and taking a few pictures. They could have some for their website if I got any that were any good I said.  That was five years, over a hundred games, probably 36,000 images ago. I was quickly adopted as their club photographer, and am now on the committee as press secretary. I’m even writing the reports for the games these days!

Did I get any competition pictures? – not really, only three notable images and those in the last year.  I’ve made lots of friends, got some commercial photography business, weddings and christenings. Voted clubman of the year last year as well!

2. Linguistic Pedantry

Its a shame. No, it’s a shame. The first thing my school did at age five was teach us to read. They maintained that you couldn’t learn to do anything else until you could do that. Consequently, I’m blessed with reasonable spelling and grammar abilities, but also an inherent intolerance of anyone who doesn’t have the same – especially when they think they do. So, I’m an irritating smart arse, and proud of it.

I don’t know about you, but those errors leap off of the page when I see them. Like signs in shops that say “DVD’s”.

3. Alfie

Alfie is a Ragdoll cat. We got her (yes, HER) as a kitten in January, 2007. She’s full of character, very vocal, and grumbles at me when I sneeze.  The breeder told us she was a boy, in fact, the vet confirmed this. We then took her for her castration, and the vet called to say they couldn’t perform the operation as she needed to be spayed! Oh, the trauma I experienced, was it a gay cat, sex change, what was going on???

We’ve had two cats for years, but Dennis, Rosie’s son, died aged six in September 2006 from complications with a urinary tract infection, leaving his mother behind and confused. Rosie was withdrawn, but as soon as Alfie appeared, she sprung back into life again.  Like many cats, life has settled down so that Alfie adores Rosie, but Rosie tolerates Alfie.

Alfie’s claim to fame is probably her modelling for the TFTTF weekly challenges. I just make life hard for myself by including her each week, in a photographic challenge with titles like “Broken”, “Cookies”, some are quite difficult.

4. France = South Kentishire

Thanks Bexxi. I’m going to have to explain my xenophobia. Maybe slightly tongue-in-cheek, maybe slightly for real, you decide.

The French are so incredibly nationalistic, but they are England’s old enemy. Forget the Germans. The French wave the white flag as soon as someone invades, then wait for us to rescue them. They produce cars like Citroen & Peugeot, when the rest of the world manages to make something decent.  They eat molluscs and reptiles for Christ’s sake. We should never have built the tunnel – you know they even argued about what sea level was, because theirs was different to ours? How Concorde ever flew I will never know.

I was once stuck on an Airbus on a Sunday night after someone had reversed some steps into it. The airline were trying to call Airbus engineers to check if the aircraft was safe to fly. Anyone in France working on a Sunday night? No. Get off the plane and onto another one.

As for South Kentishire, I just think this is an ideal name for France. It’s south of Kent, and would make a fine annexe to the UK. We could call the French “Kents”, because that’s actually quite similar to what we call them already.

34-10 is a great score too.

5. Weight Loss

After a routing blood test last year, my liver enzymes were elevated. So, I had more blood tests, stopped drinking, more blood tests, ultrasound, CT scan and finally after six blood tests in total, a liver biopsy. Very, very unpleasant.

Anyway, it turns out that I have Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, or NAFLD for short. Emphasis on the non-alcoholic please!

The problem is that fatty deposits on the liver can cause scarring, and then cirrhosis, then liver failure. Meanwhile, the liver produces excess iron which can overload other organs in the body, causing lots of other nasty problems. Apparently, with the modern diet, one in five people have a fatty liver, and are at risk of getting NAFLD and complications.

The cure is to lose weight. Doctor’s orders are no red meat, no booze, no carbohydrates. So, what this means is a diet of chicken, fish and vegetables. No bread, no rice, no potatoes.

Join a gym and the weight falls off. I need to lose 2Kg a month for six months. So far, I have lost about seven kilos after as many weeks. I feel better, don’t get out of breath so easily, and my knees which have given me trouble for years, complain less now they don’t have to haul my lardy arse about quite so much.

So, Bexxi, that’s it for now. I bet I’ll read this tomorrow and think of a load more (and spot some typos).

If anyone reads this and would like to continue the challenge, let me know, and I’ll give you five things – as long as I know you well enough of course!