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This is a horror game I don't know much about, set in Victorian Britain and drawing on the Jack the Ripper mythos and a lot of other sources:


"Rippers is the high-action horror campaign of Victorian-era monster-hunting for the Savage Worlds rules system from Pinnacle Entertainment. In the First Edition Rippers setting, an evil Cabal led by the monstrous Jack the Ripper brought the Victorian world of 1895 to its knees, until a team of heroes led by Johann Van Helsing fought back using implanted Rippertech torn from the creatures of hell. Ultimately that storyline revealed that the use of Rippertech damned the hero's soul to eternal torment, and even strengthened the enemy. But the new Second Edition, Rippers Resurrected, removes that unfortunate drawback. Now, with the Cabal in retreat, the Rippers hunt supernatural horrors across the globe in a struggle to take back the night.

Fog-filled horror in the gothic style the Penny Dreadful TV series and the 2004 film Van Helsing, Rippers Resurrected emerged into the gaslight in a triumphant October 2015 Kickstarter campaign. Now this offer, part of the Bundle site's annual "October Horrors" sequence, presents almost the entire Rippers and Rippers Resurrected lines, plus the complete Savage Worlds Deluxe rulebook AND the Horror Companion, cheaper than a few silver bullets for a Gatling pistol. It's everything you need for a complete campaign of abomination-stomping across the Earth.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$93. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all five titles in our Player's Collection (retail value $37) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the Rippers Resurrected Player's Guide, Archetypes, and the Deluxe Character and Campaign Journal, plus the complete Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition rulebook and its Horror Companion (both presented in several past offers).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, also get our entire Game Master's Collection with nine more titles worth an additional $56, , including the Game Master's Handbook and the Frightful Expeditions worldbook; the Plot Point campaign Lord of the Underworld; five Combat Maps of tombs, castles, and other spooky battlegrounds; and The Lost Library, a huge archive of the entire First Edition Rippers line (2005-2008), with adventures, characters, Figure Flats, and the Horror Wars miniatures game.

At least one more title will be added after launch. When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early.

OK, I might as well admit that I'm not a huge fan of the Savage Worlds system, it doesn't seem to offer much that other games don't. This particular iteration has a problem I've seen in other Victorian horror RPGs - it tries to simplify and Americanise everything, while piling in steampunk-style gadgets and general "everything but the kitchen sink" Victorian-ish fictional archetypes. We get Dracula and Van Helsing and Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes and... well, you get the idea. There's also the "everything is connected to everything else in a horrible conspiracy" trope in full flower.

Having said that, if you get in early enough it's pretty cheap, and you get quite a lot for your money. It isn't actively offensive, but I'd STRONGLY recommend that GMs who want to use it take on some additional sources for Victorian everyday life and real-world events, since politics, historical events, social issues etc. etc. get very little attention.

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Didn't get out to the market etc. on Friday and Saturday, for various reasons, but rather a good haul from Sunday's first car boot sale:

A Nikon e-series 50mm f1.8 - for a fiver! And a Nikon EM body with 28mm f2.8 Sigma and some sort of small flash for a tenner - haven't tested the camera yet because I don't have the right lenses dohhhh - batteries, not lenses. The lenses are very nice, and are already on eBay.

And something I arranged to buy last week and collected today - a Holga 60mm f8 Lomography lens in Nikon fitting. It's crap, but I didn't pay much for it and I want to have a play with it and see just how bad it is before I sell it on. Except that with the stormy weather that's coming in it was too dark to try it today, and I suspect tomorrow won't be much better...
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Two offers for Call of Cthulhu, possibly the definitive horror RPG; one is all-new, World War Cthulhu, material for campaigns set in World War 2, the other is a repeat offer of material with a British setting that may also be useful as background for World War Cthulhu.

World War Cthulhu


"One of two Cthulhu Mythos offers running in parallel during the Bundle of Holding's annual "October Horrors" sequence, this World War Cthulhu Bundle features the Cubicle 7 Entertainment World War Cthulhu line of tabletop roleplaying game supplements and scenarios for Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu. In World War Cthulhu, brave agents of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service face Lovecraftian terrors -- and humanity's own darkest impulses -- against a backdrop of 20th-Century conflict. In World War II, the Special Operations Executive fights a two-front war against both Axis and Mythos. In the 1960s and '70s, as the Cold War threatens nuclear destruction, Section 46 continues a personal battle against the insidious influence of a much older enemy.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to these two Cthulhu offers' designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$106. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all three titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $51) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour corebook (retail price $20) and the Europe Ablaze campaign guide (retail $18) [both previously offered in our October 2015 Bundle of Tentacles +3], together with The SOE Handbook (retail $13), a manual of tradecraft for the covert agents of the Special Operations Executive.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with three more titles worth an additional $55, including World War Cthulhu: London (retail $20), about the capital city during the Blitz; Cold War (retail $20), which pushes the Mythos into the 1960s; and Section 46 Operations Manual (retail $15), a Cold-War companion for the 1970s.

With these books you can stage a complete Mythos campaign across an entire continent and three decades. And the World War Cthulhu line also works great with the Cubicle 7 ebooks in our resurrected December 2016 Cthulhu Britannica offer, now in progress.

Cthulhu Britannica


Cthulhu Britannica is Cubicle 7 Entertainment's long-running series of Call of Cthulhu supplements and scenarios that bring the Mythos to the British Isles. This offer, revived from December 2016, includes the original Cthulhu Britannica scenario collection, the giant London supplement (a spectacular Kickstarter success in November 2013), and the entire London support line.

This Cthulhu Britannnica revival is a companion to the new World War Cthulhu offer now in progress, featuring Cubicle 7's line of wartime Call of Cthulhu supplements and scenarios set during World War II and the Cold War. (That World War Cthulhu offer includes a Blitz-era London sourcebook that dovetails perfectly with this Britannica offer's huge London set.) These two offers, part of the site's annual "October Horrors" sequence of horror and suspense RPG offers, run in parallel and end at the same time.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$122. Customers who pay just US$17.95 get both titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $65) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks: the original Cthulhu Britannica scenario collection (retail price $15) and the complete Cthulhu Britannica London set (retail $50).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with four more titles worth an additional $57, including the seven-part campaign The Curse of Nineveh (retail $23), its two deluxe handouts -- The Journal of Reginald Campbell Thompson and The Journal of Neve Selcibuc (retail $15 apiece) -- and The Ballad of Bass Rock (retail $4), a short CoC scenario (cut from Shadows Over Scotland) that strands the investigators on a bleak isle with a lighthouse and a shoggoth.

At least one title will be added after launch. When a title is added to an offer after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased that offer -- including the purchasers from the original December 2016 run -- automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid higher than average. This is their reward for buying early -- even way early.

While I'm not planning on running this material at present, I'm certainly interested; the WW2 / British setting is a change from the usual 1920s, Victorian and modern day campaigns, and could be a great way to get into a modern-day Laundry campaign, since a lot of that setting derives from the aftermath of WW2. I'll definitely be reading to see how things are handled, and if anything rekindles my interest in horror RPGs. As usual, especially when I'm interested in these bundles, I have to point out that they cost money - they're cheap compared to dead tree or individual purchases, but if you already own some of this material the bundles may be less attractive.
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Someone really ought to write this... The Winter Soldier was the "one-armed man" who killed Richard Kimble's wife. No idea why, maybe she was a KGB defector or something - in which case he let Kimble live so that the "one armed man" description would circulate in the intelligence community and they would know that defectors were not safe in the USA.
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Some more pics, messing around with extension tubes and 2x converter with my 50mm lens:


Verdict - tubes work OK but I need to work on my technique and maybe focus by hand rather than trusting the camera, the x2 converter works but a longer lens is better. I haven't used it in a couple of years so I may sell it on.
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Been a while since I've done one of these, these mostly go back a couple of months - because I've been doing a lot of lens tests recently I haven't done much with my little bridge camera, and I forgot that there were some pictures waiting there.

An unusual circular slide rule - from Scalextric!

images )

Removing the temporary track at the Royal Oak Crossrail portal - August - the next stage is installation of the permanent track and overhead cabling which has already begun.

images )

A runaway squirrel, also from August

image )

Jazz band on the steps of the Albert Memorial, also August

image )
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Just experiencing an interesting demo of the speed of sound in air and through the ground - they're pile-driving supports for the new Crossrail power line support gantries this afternoon, about sixty or seventy yards from my house, I'm hearing the sound first followed by some vibration through the ground and my house a fraction of a second later.
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Knew I'd forgotten something - the no-name 500mm!

Took this tonight, 1/1250th f8 on the D90, cropped and contrast/brightness adjusted. Much higher resolution than my previous astronomical efforts, and I think the lens is showing its limitations a bit. I recently read somewhere about a special blue filter for moon photography, I really must investigate, though I wonder if any ordinary blue filter will also help - I might have one, though probably not the right size for this lens (72mm filter). I should also try this with a tripod etc. for better results.

Tonight's full moon

Later - looks like the moon filter is for eyepieces, not cameras.
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Don't think I want to write this, but maybe someone else might:

In the Avengers / Captain America world Hydra took the precaution of backing up Zola's personality - and installed it on a new spaceship, known as Discovery. How does 2001 go when HAL is actually an evil Nazi, not just somewhat deranged?

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In case anyone was wondering, you can still get software for the iMac G4 - and very cheaply since it's OLD. I went into a CEX store today and got Bejeweled 2, a Disney Incredibles game, and Football Manager 2006 for 50p each, all with processor specs good enough for a 1ghz iMac G4 and not so old they don't know about OS X. And Bejeweled 2 still works on Intel macs, which isn't bad considering its age! Admittedly all I want this software for is to bundle it with the Mac to make a "hey, computer with games included!" point on the ebay listing, but it's nice that there's still stuff around. In Cex stores it's usually on the same shelf as PC (windows) games, but it's still around.
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Success with a new bigger hard disk - in fact about the smoothest install I've ever done on one of these, possibly because the DVD drive appears to be in very good condition. Unfortunately it turns out that all of the RAM I have is either smaller than I want or the speed that's right for a 1.25ghz machine but wrong for this one, so that'll be a fun delay while it wings its way from Hong Kong. But so far the upgrade is looking good, the screen is undamaged and working well - I initially thought it was too dark and had a fault, turns out the previous owner turned the brightness right the way down - and fingers crossed it'll all go well.
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This is another bundle based on the Chronicles of Darkness setting, the revamped World of Darkness RPG Doom / Gloom / Angst / Horror background. This is one I really don't know much about, I lost interest in horror RPGs before the original Demon game was released, this appears to be different anyway:


"This new, comprehensive, bargain-priced collection features Demon: The Descent, the 2014 Storytelling game from Onyx Path Publishing of techgnostic renegades struggling against the God-Machine in the Chronicles of Darkness.

In Descent, the God-Machine is everywhere. It is under the everyday world, behind it, beyond it. Its mechanisms stretch through time and space, and alter events in ways humanity cannot imagine. The God-Machine sends forth its angels to enact its will, delivering messages, building Infrastructure, protecting some people, killing others. And you were one of those angels. But not any more. Now you are one of the Unchained, a fallen angel who defected to the human race. Yours is a world of false identities and clockwork conspiracies, stolen faces and hidden works of the Machine. You cannot -- will not -- return to the sterile embrace of Heaven. All you can do is reign in Hell.

A stark contrast to the original Demon: The Fallen (2002), Descent favors a noir-ish espionage atmosphere a la John le Carré, The Bourne Identity, and the TV series Person of Interest. Demons must move carefully through the shadowy streets and labyrinthine back alleys of the World of Darkness. The God-Machine and its agents are always watchful for a chance to reclaim these assets. The Unchained use a wide variety of powers, including Embeds that let them alter the world on a conceptual level, and Exploits, which allow great destructive and manipulative power -- at the cost of compromising their all-important Cover.

The Unchained must take extreme care as they search for Hell. They are pursued by a faceless, vastly powerful entity that has unlimited time and resources, and they have already fallen once. But what has fallen may rise again.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, All Hands Volunteers.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$108. Customers who pay just US$12.95 get all three titles in our Player Collection (retail value $57) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete 414-page Demon: The Descent core rulebook (previously presented in our January 2016 Nest of Spies offer), the player's guide Flowers of Hell, and the complete 226-page World of Darkness First Edition rulebook (2004) that underpins Demon and the other Chronicles of Darkness settings (Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, and more). (Previously in our March 2017 Changeling: The Lost offer.)

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $26.95 to start, also get our entire Storyteller Collection with six more titles worth an additional $51:

  • The essential supplements: The God-Machine Chronicle (retail $18) and the Demon Storyteller's Guide (retail $15)
  • Two location guides: Splintered City: Seattle (retail $8) and the Demon Seed Collection (retail $3)
  • Dark Eras: Into the Cold (retail $5), a demonic perspective on the Cold War
  • Necessary Infrastructure: Demon: The Descent Storyteller's Screen (retail $2)

At least one more title will be added after launch; "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."

I'll be honest, I'm not incredibly interested in the concept, and don't remember the game from the previous spies bundle which possibly means I wasn't very impressed - or that I simply never looked at it, which may be more likely. For various reasons I don't really want to get into World / Chronicles of Darkness again, keeping all the factions etc. straight in my head was a nightmare, but a quick look suggests that you do get a lot for your money - you probably won't want to print it all out, because there's a lot of white on black text etc., but that's what PDFs are for. As usual I have to point out that I'm not paying to see this stuff, if you do your mileage may vary.
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Friday was a surprise - I went to Portobello road for fruit, groceries etc. and came home with a Canon Eos 7000 35mm body and 38-76mm autofocus zoom (which I think is possibly the least useful focal length range I've ever heard of) for £5, and a Russian light meter for £3. More eBay fodder, since the lens really isn't terribly nice, I think it was a low-end special only sold with the 7000 body

Then on Saturday I got another 17" iMac G4 for £30, a set of Apple pro speakers to go with it (from a different vendor) for £3, and a Canon Eos 350D (under the US name of Rebel XT) for £15. The G4 will be my next upgrade project, which I meant to start on tonight but didn't, the camera is working but the battery has nearly run down and it doesn't have a charger.

I've ordered a USB charger for £3.99, my plan at the moment is that the 350D will become my camera for testing lenses, replacing the current 300D, which will go onto eBay once I'm completely sure the 350D is OK. There isn't a huge difference between the models - 8 Megapixels versus 6 is the most obvious, but the important one for usability is that the 350D is USB 2 so I can download the pictures fast without having to faff about with card readers, and allegedly has better battery life.

And Sunday? Nine or ten photographic filters for a fiver - nothing terribly interesting, but I can always use skylight and UV filters, the rest have gone into a big job lot I shoved out on eBay, the left-overs from the last couple of months of boot fairs etc. Already on £8.50 with nine days to go, so hopefully they'll make some profit.

All in all a reasonably successful weekend!

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 On the advice of [personal profile] susanreads I'm switching to The Phone Coop, https://www.thephone.coop/. - a lot cheaper, a 3TB / month cap which is ample for me, and I can keep my existing number.

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My BT phone bill this month was over £50 - with no calls made, just line rental and internet. Admittedly it's fast internet, but I think the price is getting a bit silly. I've resisted changing phone company until now because I didn't want to change my number, but I'm beginning to think I ought to bite the bullet if there's a better option.

Any recommendations for an alternative in the London area? I want phone and internet, not really interested in extra TV channels etc.

ffutures: steampunk lunar lander (Forgotten Futures)
A small request to authors:

Back in 2008 I wrote Forgotten Futures X: The Tooth and Claw Role Playing Game, based on the novel Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton. Since characters in this setting are intelligent dragons living in a vaguely Victorian setting I had to write a lot of material describing their life style, personalities, etc. One of the character traits I came up with was this:

Misodrachist: You are a dragon who dislikes other dragons in general and the opposite sex in particular. You are probably single, of course.
It very belatedly occurs to me that
  1. I appear to be the only person to have ever used this word, at least so far as Google is concerned. Also
  2. There is currently a lot of material being published about dragons, some of them described as being intelligent and having complex societies, and that
  3. This is potentially a very useful word for such stories. Therefore
  4. If enough authors use it, it may end up in dictionaries.
  5. Dictionaries always like to point to the earliest possible use of a word.
  6. Which would be the Tooth and Claw Role Playing Game, of course...
Therefore, I have a slight chance of being recorded as coining new word in e.g. the OED if enough people use it (although looking back the word seems to have been suggested in part by jugglergreek on livejournal. I had something similar in mind, spelled a little differently, but this was much better.)

Use my word, and help me (and/or jugglergreek) become immortal! Metaphorically, anyway...
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This is a repeat of a bundle offer from 2014, containing more or less everything published for the classic weird conspiracy RPG Over the Edge, one of my favourites - and if you don't believe me, just ask Tiffany Trilobite!


"Welcome back to Al Amarja, the conspiracy-ridden Mediterranean island that is home to the sinister and bizarre. If it troubles you in your dreams, if it scares you, if you hope it isn't true -- it's waiting for you Over the Edge

Originally presented in January 2014 and revived in December 2014, this Over the Edge Bundle is a comprehensive collection featuring Jonathan Tweet's landmark RPG of surreal danger from Atlas Games. Since its 1992 publication, Over the Edge has become a cult classic. Devious secret agents, subtle alien invasions, ancient conspiracies, the secret of human nature, drooling psychopaths, weird science -- the surreal undercurrents of William Burroughs, Philip K. Dick, and David Lynch have come to roleplaying, and Over the Edge can take you where you've never been before. OTE players take a reality-bending head-trip of power games and mind games, supernatural designer drugs and shifting loyalties. A pivot-point in roleplaying history, Over the Edge showed what an atmospheric setting could achieve.

Now, once again, we present the 1997 Over the Edge Second Edition rulebook from Atlas Games, along with a comprehensive collection of supplements that give you everything you need to launch your own OTE campaign.

And get ready -- next year Atlas Games launches a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new Third Edition of Over the Edge. Sign up to get notified!

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the Girl Scouts.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$90.50. Customers who pay just US$8.95 get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $43) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Over the Edge (retail price $18): The complete 241-page Second Edition rulebook (1997) by Jonathan Tweet (D&D 3e, 13th Age, Ars Magica) and Robin D. Laws (the GUMSHOE System, Hillfolk, Feng Shui).
  • Over the Edge Players' Survival Guide (retail $9): Jonathan Tweet's 80-page compendium lets you survive, if not thrive, in Al Amarja.
  • At Your Service (retail $10): A 110-page Al Amarjan location sourcebook.
  • Pierced Heart (retail $6): The thrilling Over the Edge novel by Robin D. Laws.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $47.50 -- including one of the most admired sourcebooks ever published for any RPG:

  • Weather the Cuckoo Likes (retail $10): This landmark early sourcebook about the Cut-Ups conspiracy, marked by terrific writing and inventive new rules, put Robin D. Laws on the gaming map.
  • Wildest Dreams (retail $7): This sourcebook about the supernatural drug Nightmare was the first collaboration by the designers who later created Unknown Armies.
  • Cloaks (retail $9): Jonathan Tweet's sourcebook about Al Amarjan secret agents -- being hunted by them, and being them.
  • Friend or Foe? (retail $7): Thirty-four Game Moderator characters who would never, ever backstab you. How could you even think that?
  • Forgotten Lives (retail $10): Six OtE scenarios ideal for launching or rounding out your campaign.
  • Unauthorized Broadcast (retail $2.50): Robin Laws returns with this short scenario about an outlaw drug that broadcasts your inmost thoughts.
  • WaRPed Adventures - Invasion (retail $2): A far-flung adventure of psychic dislocation by Robin Laws using the open-license WaRP System derived from Over the Edge.
As may be obvious from my introduction, I like this game - it's strange, weird, and wonderful, and there really isn't anything like it that's anywhere near as good. I already own a lot of this in dead tree format, but I'll certainly be downloading everything I don't have. Considering the original prices this is extremely good value for money - but as usual I have to point out that I get this stuff free if I want it, if you don't your mileage may vary.

Strongly recommended!

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I didn't want to post until I'd tested it properly, but I got a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 at the weekend - the original AF model designed for 35mm cameras but working on digital provided they have a motor in the camera body - and it appears to be pretty good - I put my 35mm lens on sale on Sunday because I was already pretty sure the 50mm was OK, and took the 50mm out for a spin today (the weather was crap yesterday). Results were pretty good, I think it's as least as sharp as the 35mm was, and I seem to be able to work much better with it because I can work at a slightly greater distance and it seems to be better for closeup work - I really wish I'd taken extension tubes with me today, it would have been nice to try real macro work, but next time. I've ditched a few duds (mostly of the "did I really cut off the top of that / hold the camera crooked / press the wrong button / move the camera" variety), but still have 45 pictures that seem pretty good out of about 60 I took. I really must look into choosing an optimum ISO setting - I've been using 400 and 800, but if higher speeds will give good results I should really switch to minimize camera shake.

Lots of photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/150868539@N02/sets/72157686356723841/with/37336834321/

Next step will probably be to sell the Yongnuo 50mm for the Canon - I really don't need it now.

I think, on the whole, that I will keep the 18-55 Nikkor; I don't use it often, but it's the widest lens I own and they aren't selling at huge prices, I might as well keep it.
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For various reasons I need to run Windows on my laptop; there's some tethered camera control freeware that is only available in a Windows version, the Mac equivalent stopped working a few versions of OS X ago, and I want to use it for photomicroscopy where the liveview feature would be very useful - needless to say the microscope is in a different room from my desktop PC and too big to fit into my office space, so I have to run it from the laptop. Just in the process of running Bootcamp to install it. So far it's actually going pretty well, knock wood, just completing and didn't run into problems apart from the sheer horribleness of Windows 7 setup, but there's something VERY offputting about seeing Windows screens on a MacBook Pro...

If I was planning to use it often I suppose I'd have to look at installing Parallels so I could run Windows without rebooting, but it will be a once in a blue moon thing so I think I'll go with the less convenient option and save the money.

Later - and it looks like everything works, though I haven't actually tried the camera on my microscope yet - it's certainly working under computer control and displaying the liveview image on the laptop screen, which is what I want.

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