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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.317 28 Jun 2020

Lots Of Little Ideas - Part 2: Apps

Last month I introduced my series on 'little ideas', that is all my big ideas but in bite size form. I continue that theme here in this article where I provide a number of other little ideas but this time all with a similar theme. In this case, all my digital app ideas. So now they are in print and no longer hidden out of sight on my hard drive.

The usual caveats of copyright apply and I note that I believe each to be original in their concept having not seen any like these before. However I would note that on the iOS app store alone there are millions of app variations and I have no intention of checking through each one to check this. Let me know if you have seen or are using anything the same and I'll correct as required. Then feel proud that the concept I invented as well was indeed sound.

The App Ideas

Let's start with something silly. A toaster app for iPhone. It will be pointless and of course not work but your friends with Google Android phones won't know that when you turn it's dials to make the setting and watch as the bars glow 'hotter and hotter'. For the full fun effect ask them to get some bread and try it out. Variants will include the hot-plate, the ceramic hob and the five bar electric fire. Now what about getting sponsorship from a company like Dualit? If you think this is just too out there remember an early app on the iPhone was the larger drinking simulator. No beer but it was sponsored. And extremely popular

ValueMyStuff. A valuation site with sections for houses, automotive, furniture, tech, paintings, antiques, clothing, animals etc. Each item for valuation has a photo, condition percentages and links to sponsored 3rd party sellers and buyers sites. Ideal to get a value on that old watch in the cupboard or the rare toy car from childhood. Interactive ability to have viewers' stuff valued by the community

Short Films. Pitched between the might and mess of YouTube but with the quality and seriousness of Netflix. It would only have short films of up to 15 minutes, both professionally produced and amateur made providing they are of sufficient quality. Sections to include showcasing of new film producers, directors and talent. It would be a subscription model, say £2 per month with unlimited viewings

Mirror Drawing, a tablet app where you can draw one side of an object and the other side appears at the same time. Ideal for plans such as car, boat shapes etc.

Live Podcast Finder. An app showing when live worldwide podcasts are happening. Able to filter for favourite podcasts. Podcasters encouraged to input data. Possibly also other livestreaming events as well from YouTube, Instagram and Peppar as well

Car decorating. Photos or drawings of plain coloured cars provided with paint colouring tools to allow the user to customise at will. Would include options for two-tone, shading, metallic paints, graphics and crazy decals, which could be purchased, earned or sponsored for a race car look. The app would feature best user section where people rate their peers' efforts

Twitter grammar correction. Type in a Tweet and the app changes it to become more gramatically correct or even hip. Incorporating a range slider from Professor, through business like, cool, hip to phat. Plus in app purchases for cockney, Yoda, Data conversions as well

Collections. A photo collection service, e.g. Cars, trains, celebrities, sports stars. Collect photos into pre-set albums. Can purchase and trade content

Colourshift. Convert your own photos into component RGB with sliders to reconstruct or move around. Additional sliders for contrast, light etc

Clone camera. Make the display on your smartphone resemble the [top and] back of a serious DSLR camera. Not so useful if the clone you are copying doesn't have an LCD display

Averages. Before you check into a restaurant see the lowest, highest and average prices of the main meals. Would also convert nicely into an app that does other comparison items, such as cars

Gigging App. For bands and comics. The app can show where talent is performing on a particular date with links to booking websites etc. Perhaps a subscription model to include travel arrangements so car sharing can be accommodated

And finally a few Navigation or Map based Apps

En-route app which specifically highlights things en-route. Using a route selected from the your favourite Maps app. Find food, fuel, attractions etc. Better than the normal radius based systems

Retrace route function on Sat Navs

Petrol prices by location incorporating a calculator using your own vehicles mpg to assess whether it's worth diverting to get a better place to fill up

Train Sat-Nav. Not for the drivers, they know where they are going and cannot deviate off those parallel steel lines anyway. My idea is a map showing where you are on the network because normal maps aren't good at this. Would also clearly show key rail features such as stations, crossings, junctions and odd interesting information, perhaps also the speed you are going. Could be integrated with rail planner and train finder services perhaps?

Attractions, a list of places to go in an area, such as National Trust etc. Plus an element of gamification by getting a score based on the percentage of an area, country, or the world explored

These are just the ideas I have come up with so far for apps. In part one I had already listed a bunch of miscellaneous ideas and have yet to set out my other themed ideas sets covering Games, Technology and Transport. If you have a particular desire to see one of these subjects next let me know.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.317 28 Jun 2020 [First Pubication]
If you want me to expound on any of the above ideas just let me know
As usual if you know of any of these ideas actually existing in the real world please let me know so I can update my page. If not and you wish to exploit these concepts and commercially pass them off as your own just consider this, you have accessed this webpage so I may be able to trace and claim copyright. If you want peace of mind just let me know beforehand and we can probably come together and agree on a mutually acceptable arrangement

My Camera History Part 2 - The Cosmic Symbol - 1980s

In part one I told the story of my first introduction to photography with a Kodak Instamatic. It was now time for a change.

A close up image of a smiling Vince dressed in a white tee-shirt with blue detailing, holding one-handed a black camera in a brown leather case. Out of focus in the background sits another man
Vince proudly holding his Cosmic Symbol in the professional looking lovely brown leather case

Around the late seventies I wanted a better camera and yearned for something more than the toy like Instamatic. My budget wouldn't stretch to a full SLR but I wanted something as close as possible to that type of machine.

I remember discussing all this with my father. I'm not sure where he had come across the Cosmic Symbol, a UK adapted Russian Smena Symbol first launched in 1973, but he suggested the simplicity of the operation would suit someone like me graduating from a snap camera. I can't recall anything of the purchasing process, the price or where I got it. Or even if it was a part present. Or what I first used it for but I think I got it around the very beginning of the eighties.

The camera was a boxy shaped device that looked semi-serious with it's black plastic corrugated panels on front and rear. It had a matching black plastic fixed lens featuring focus adjustment as well as another ring to set the exposure. To add further complication around the lens itself was another fiddly fingernail operated adjustment for the film speed.

Taking a picture involved pressing a plastic horizontal lever to the right of the lens, which moved with an initial gentle movement but then clicked on as it fired. On the top left was a lifting film loading wheel spline which incorporated a swing out metal crank handle and in the centre a hot shoe accessory mount for flash units.

On the back of the camera was a centrally mounted image counter, a large cocking lever to quickly move the film stock on one frame in a single action plus a small moveable dial mounted in the centre to remind you what film you had installed.

The worst feature was the same as experienced on the Instamatic, a lack of SLR functionality, again relying on an offset viewfinder meaning the picture taken was never quite the one seen, particularly for close shots. The second worse feature was the reason it was named.

The Symbol moniker was included because this camera not only featured focus gradations on the lens in metres and feet but also added little pictograms to help indicate which settings to use. Icons of heads, full bodies, buildings and mountains were included making the camera look like it was designed for a child. These simple representations were also on the settings ring showing various weather conditions. I suppose they helped the user get a good photo without being able to see via a focus screen but it made the thing look amateurish. Unlike the gorgeous, two piece, protective brown leather case it came in.

Loading a film in those days involved a process of opening the back of the camera, lifting the crank, dropping in a 135mm film roll cartridge, commonly called 35mm film, lowering the crank, feeding the film strip out of the roll and onto some splines on the right hand side, cranking the handle to feed a few turns securely on the shaft, closing the door, winding the film a couple more times all ready for the first shot.

On completion of all shots the crank handle would again be deployed to wind the film back into the roll ready to be removed in the opposite sequence from above.

Film rolls commonly came with a capacity of 36 frames but with judicious use you could get about 38 or even 39 pictures which was pleasing as the price was based on a per roll basis, not per image. Also in those days the price paid for a film included postage and processing which ensured you paid up front. Not only that but with the returned photos you received a money off voucher and freepost envelopes to keep you returning to the same supplier.

You could also select film roll cartridges with 12, 20 or 24 frames which were naturally much cheaper. You also had to choose the film speed, measured in ISO. If you were going to capture shots on a sunny day you would select an ISO 100 film but if you wanted to take pictures in dull lighting or indoors an ISO 400 would be better. ISO 400 would also work best for fast moving subjects as well, such as moving animals or racing cars. Particularly useful if the Grands Prix circuit passed through your bedroom at dusk.

The problem with all this was you couldn't chop and change meaning if you had an ISO 100 film in the camera all the darker scenes would look dark and blurry and if the film was ISO 400 any bright scenes would be grainy. So to counter the problem many usually used a mid point ISO 200 general film meaning sunny shots were not fully crisp and darker scenes had a modicum of grain. But at least you didn't have to use a crystal ball to foresee what you might be photographing in six months time.

The other decision to make was whether to use film roll and processing that returned actual physical photographs or the much cheaper slides. Either way you would also get your originally exposed negative film roll returned as well. Having slides in those days wasn't an issue as many homes had slide viewers or projectors.

I tended to opt for an ISO 200 film stock in a 24 roll format with about two thirds of the time using slides. All decisions made based on my budget limitations, which also restricted the number of times it was used.

I owned the camera for about a decade and remember it fairly fondly. It was rugged, durable and mechanically reliable, particularly in the fitted protective case which aged wonderfully. I always yearned for a true SLR and should have painted out the childish pictorial icons to make it look more mature. Furthermore the brand and name left any enquirer non the wiser so I was lucky to be able to move on.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.316 25 Jun 2020 [First Published]
The image shows me holding the Cosmic Symbol in a photograph taken by my new best friend Lynda around 1983 on her Canon AE-1 Program SLR camera

Half Hearted - My Twitter Story of 2017

This is the story of my 2017 Tweeting Year. Or at least the most remarkable ones.

Note that once more this collection will be more enjoyable if you start off on the understanding that this is not a reputable news agency nor a travelogue or a load of pointless lifestyle snippets. You have to understand that this is a random take on a variety of eclectic subjects mostly in an attempt to extract a bit of humour in each carefully written, crafted paragraph.

All the entries posted below are [mostly] exactly as they were posted online, contemporaneously, without rechecking spelling, grammatical corrections or censure, due to a desire to maintain historical accuracy. However I have added an odd explanatory [word, letter or sentance] to make sense of some situations as they appeared at the time.

If you have been following my Twitter story you will know that my enthusiasm for posting had waned in 2016. I felt self conscious about that so used the chance of a new year change to restart my contributions, with typical humour.

1 January 17

Just woke up after a year asleep. Did I miss anything 2016?

It continues... If you want to read the full article click on the blue button:

For those of you that just like the best of the best I have curated this list of my top ten best Tweets of 2015. Based on my personal choice, not based on views, likes, comments or retweets. They are in no significant order other than date of posting.

My exit poll...
Con 28.9
Lab 6 carat
SNP Chickens
UKIP 4 maids a milking
Rabbits win
As accurate as the official exit poll
Don't know what all the fuss is about. I had an electric car years ago. A Scalextric
Seen on a headstone. Stand back. It's catching #NationalTellAJokeDay
Ahh Saturday mornings. Like a Sunday morning only a bit earlier in the week
Put a security camera in one of my garden ornaments
(Note that all views are my Gnome)
Why are the #Brexit talks taking so long? Is #Google Translate really slow?
In the eighties there were only two certainties. Death and faxes
Nothing wrong with dog farms as long as they are planted far enough apart #itv #GMB
You know, I’m at that age where the only thing you really get at #Christmas is older
It’s #BoxingDay and unfortunately for me I’ve been teamed up with Mike Tyson

Have I picked the ten best? If you want to know the full story of my Tweets in 2017 just hit that blue button above.

Author: Vince Poynter
Curated: Version m5.315 24 Jun 2020
Tweets First Published: Twitter during 2017

Corner Brook Zip Line

The title card from my short video showing Vince and Lynda in an open air spacenear a large building wearing blue tops and web strapping around their chests. Vince is holding a plastic orange safety helmet in the air. The picture is captioned in black lettering Corner Brook Zip Line
Vince and Lynda celebrating after completing the zip line. Click the image to play the video via YouTube

An adventurous, thrilling Zip Wire experience over 9 separate long and high lines on Marble Mountain in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada, with Vince and Lynda Poynter, filmed on 24 July 2019.

The photographic stills and video were captured on my Apple iPhone X and the film lasts just one minute and 36 seconds.

The sound is as recorded plus additional overlay stock Apple music available within the iMovie application.

The editing was carried out by me on the iPhone iMovie application using customised stock title cards.

This film was uploaded to YouTube, in the Family & Friends category, on 13 August 2019 and at the time of publication had received just 17 views.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.314 19 Jun 2020
Filmed by Vince and Lynda on 24 Jul 2019
Uploaded to YouTube 13 Aug 2019
© A Film by Vince 2019

Newtonian Grub

Type: 2 minute 30 seconds sketch with 2 actors set in a restaurant.

A photograph taken within a glass windowed restaurant several floors up. Vince sits in a blue tee shirt with the words I love the smell of jet fuel in the... He is holding a knife and fork and on the white plate in front of his is an Eggs Benedict.
Can you be absolutely sure what ingredients await your consumption?

A restaurant. A customer sits at a table when the manager approaches with a menu and offers it.

Manager: "Hello sir let me show you the menu at our new restaurant."

Customer: "I see this place is called Newton 3 why not Newton 1?"

Manager: "Well, Newton 1 was indeed the name of our first restaurant. It was based on Sir Issac Newton’s first law of physics which states that once a force is in motion it does not stop. Ever."

Customer: "What happened to the restaurant ?"

Manager: "It closed."

Customer: "And Newton 2?"

Manager: "Our second restaurant, Newton 2, was based on Sir Issac Newton’s second law of physics which states that in an inertial reference frame the vector sum of the forces on an object is equal to the mass of that object multiplied by the acceleration of the object assuming of course that the mass is constant."

Customer: "Of course. Why did that one close?"

Manager: "By the time we explained all that to the guests their food had gone cold."

Customer: "So what is the thing with Newton 3?"

Manager: "Put simply sir, actions and consequences."

Customer: "Actions and consequences?"

Manager: "Yes, in our restaurant any action you take has a consequence. For instance if you order the soup we bring soup."

Customer: "Isn’t that the same with all restaurants?"

Manager: "Yes but additionally here if you are rude to our staff that is an action and you will suffer a consequence. Actions and consequences."

Customer: "Rude?"

Manager: "Yes. Say, for instance, you annoyingly click your fingers to summon the waiter he may dip his thumb in your soup."

Customer: "Wow. What if I called out across the restaurant to him?"

Manager: "He may dip something else in it."

Customer: "Actions and consequences?"

Manager: "Yes sir."

Customer: "So, what if I said he looked like a penguin?"

Manager: "I wouldn’t do that sir."

Customer: "Why not?"

Manager: "You would be served dumplings."

Customer: "I don’t see dumplings on the menu."

Manager: "That’s because they are not on the menu sir. But you would get dumplings. Providing Chef hasn’t got constipation again."

Customer: "So the fat Chef is in on it as well."

Manager: "He both is and isn’t."

Customer: "Is and isn’t?"

Manager: "Is in on it. Isn’t fat. In fact if he heard you you would likely get pubes in your food."

Customer: "Disgusting."

Manager: "Yes, indeed. Particularly with his condition."

Customer: "Condition?"

Manager: "Just don’t order the lobsters. You might get..."

Customer: "Crabs. Yes I see the situation. And what about you? You are the manager here. Are you fair game for a bit of mimicking yourself?"

Manager: "You can give a bit of mimicking to me. Providing you don’t mind a bit of fluid in your dinner in return."

Customer: "You would spit in my food?"

Manager: "It’s like spit sir. Only emanates from a lower place."

Customer: "That’s horrible. You monster. How low can you go?"

Manager: "I’ve never been fully tested but I do have a special, say, treat for the worst customers."

Customer: "What’s that?"

Manager: "We serve them...Oh I can hardly bring myself to say it."

Customer: "Go on, tell me. I must know."

Manager: "I would serve them...A Vegan meal."


You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. Ideally by postcard, using a Penny Black stamp.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.313 18 Jun 2020 [First Published]
The photograph is of the author about to enjoy a delicious Eggs Benedict served at The Shard Restuarant on 15 Sep 2019 as taken by Lynda Poynter
Written in October 2018, based on an initial idea by Paul Jones

vSearch Update

My vSearch page was getting a bit out of control. You can go there to search for any page or article within the vinceunlimited site by just clicking on a keyword. This worked great when I had a separate page for virtually every article, or I could point the user to the blog page and they could continue on another search from there. The problem was I have been consolidating the huge number of pages that were building up, plus deleting duplicatations where articles resided in two or more sections. This meant that the vSearch listings were too often reading something like 'Article' [within 'Section']. And that was both confusing and inconvenient, not granualar enough.

But I recently realised I could rewrite the code so that clicks went direct to the 'Article' within the 'Section'. Go try it and see. It's a big update. I should be proud and you should be grateful. You're welcome.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.312 16 Jun 2020

My Camera History Part 1 - The Kodak Instamatic - 1970s

The first camera I owned was a basic Kodak Instamatic. I have no record of the actual model but upon image searching the internet I figured it was probably a Kodak Instamatic 133 as these were very popular at the time and the look seemed familiar.

I recall it was lightweight to hold and simple to operate with few settings to tax my skills, including a tacky bent metal shutter release which needed too much force to use so shook the camera with a noisy mechanical clunk whenever pressed. The automatic functioning of the camera was overwhelming so it soon gave up all joy as it lacked creative possibilities. The only decision to make wheen shooting involved making one of two choice settings in the twist action of the lens dependant on whether the shoot was in sunlight or inside

The simplicity did allow the novice camera operator to concentrate on composition however as the lens offered no zoom facility composure involved moving towards or away from the subject. Also as it did not have a direct view single lens reflex [SLR] function whenever you got too close the captured image was not the same as viewed through the edge mounted viewfinder, causing many early photographs to look offset.

A Flashcube connection was available for night shots, although this destructive flash photography method was so expensive and yielded such poor results I rarely used this function.

At the time lining up film roll was a complex process, which I shall cover in greater detail in another article, so the Instamatic range used a 126 film cartridge system meaning loading film stock was a simple case of opening the back, lifting out the cartridge and dropping in a new one. Then wind the film on to start. Then a couple more winds before every other shot. Finally after about 20 odd shots the cartridge was removed and posted off to be returned as a set of negative strips and printed photos. All at great expense. Plus a film processing wait time of a couple of weeks.

The image comprises two pictures side by side, separated by a narrow grey line. On the left is a picture of three children stood on grass in a red brick walled garden. The image shows the children as ghostly, placed one on another. In the foreground a head and body shot of girl in a red and blue striped jumper, behind her a three quarter length shot of a boy in a white shirt, blue cardigan and blue jeans next to another taller boy wearing black framed glasses, his arms folded, wearing a blue shirt, cardigan and jeans. Looking carefully you can see that the taller boy is actual a ghostly apparition behind the smaller boy. The image to the right shows the same girl in the same setting apparently fleeing toward the camera. Behind her can be seen a superimposed image of white and black rings, which are not fully clear
Ghosts in the machine. Two pictures, five images and one enormous guinea pig if you look carefully enough. No post production or image manipulation involved

This expense meant that shots were considered semi-precious so were limited. It was common to put the camera away with a half used film cartridge then to get it out again several weeks or even months later. So you had to have a system of remembering to roll to the next film image after shooting, to safely secure the picture just taken.

The film selector wheel mechanism was designed to prevent double images being taken. The process was to gently rotate the wheel until a click was felt, which released the shutter for the next shot, then another wind or two until a clunk to signify you had correctly aligned the next image placement whereupon the film counter in the small back rear window advanced the frame counter by one.

With such a design, using a careful rolling of the wheel you could engage the click in readiness to reshoot without moving the film on, meaning a double exposed photograph of two or more separate images. This occured once by accident when I got a picture of both my siblings superimposed onto an image of me. Naturally I tried this technique again in a creative way to get a picture of my sister fleeing an enormous guinea pig [a close up of my pet, Squeeky]. I have posted the images in this article above.

You will see the monster guinea pig picture didn't really work as well as I had hoped. Composition was fine but the exposure between the two frames was mismatched and the pet would not be obvious without explanation.

This was the other issue with film roll photography, any taken image wasn't seen instantaneously, editing wasn't possible and after several months you may receive back many prints of dubious quality. Exposure issues, irregular framing and errant thumbs were commonplace in those days.

In time the days of having a child's camera ended and I will continue the stories of my cameras in a later article.

Related Link

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.311 13 Jun 2020 [First Published]
The image shows two side by side photos taken with the Kodak Instamatic camera, both featuring multiple exposure images. The one on the left includes three similarly positioned shots with Vince in the centre, my sister, Dawn, in the foreground and my brother, Mark, in the background. All taken in the back garden of our family home in Southampton, around 1972. The image was mistakenly grouped and only discovered after printing. The right hand image is an attempt to be creative by utilising a similar technique. The idea was for Dawn to be seen fleeing from a monster sized guinea pig with both shots intently merged. The images were taken by Vince and his family around 1977