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Thursday, 29 September 2011


Some weeks ago, buoyed up with minutes of research under my belt and a recommendation from a friend I ditched my old phone and invested in a shiny new Android powered Samsung Galaxy S2. From there my relationship with my phone has been a happy one, I've very much enjoyed getting to know it and the Social Media apps I can run on it and we've had some fun times together. I'm typing this blog on the Google Blogger App and until now everything has been rosy in the garden.

So what's changed?

Afew weeks before I got my phone I joined Google + and at some point whilst exploring the Android Marketplace I happened upon the Google + App which I installed and almost forgot about along with Google +. Imagine my shock, when logging onto Google + with a purpose for the first time in weeks, to find a copy of every single photo I had taken and stored on my phone, probably since installing the app, also residing in Google +.

Don't get me wrong .. the photos themselves remained private to me and hadn't been shared but I feel really aggrieved that Google by default enabled an option which allowed the Google + app to upload copies of my photos without explicitly asking me.

There are two issues for me here, one of privacy and trust and one of my phones data plan.

Privacy and Trust
I guess it was probably in the Terms & Conditions somewhere to allow Google to do this and the images weren't displayed in my circles but nevertheless they are mine and I will decide where I upload them to be it for backup, storage or display. Organisations must be aware that not only are the words and images of the people who write and capture them their property but may also be deeply personal to the individual who may  not want them shared on any platform no matter how 'private' that platform may be.

Data Plan
Those who know my home city of Bristol will be very aware of the 60ish statues of Gorillas which adorned the city to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Bristol Zoo and it became the summer time challenge of many to visit as many of the Gorillas as possible and have your photo taken with them.

I had been struggling to work out how I was going through so much data on my data plan so imagine my shock when I found copies of dozens of hi-res photos from my Gorilla trail and other adventures on Google +.

It's No Suprise Then .... my view is that Google should NOT be enabling this function called 'Instant Upload' by default. Luckily it can be turned off by doing the following:

Start your Google + for Android App then perform Menu -> Settings and un-check  'Instant Upload'.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


In common with many parents at the moment I have been doing the rounds of the Universities to help my son short-list those he'd like to attend when it's time to go. I've been surprised by our reactions to some of the Universities which has ranged from 'just don't get it' to the 'wow factor'.

One such wow visit was to the University of Bath where, building on what had already been a good day, I went to the 'welcome talk', albeit that it was at the end of the day.

One of the presenters was Microsoft Vice President Neil Holloway . Now I'm no Microsoft fan and I envisaged a Microsoft skewed presentation on something or other but Neil presented a well reasoned and understated presentation on his thoughts about University life, life after University and life planning that really made me sit up and listen.

The phrase that really did it for me was 'have no regrets'. Neil qualified this in terms of how when making any decision you need to know your objective, weigh up the options and make a decision. What ever that decision is, whatever the outcome, don't regret it. I thought this was such a bold and brave or maybe even foolish statement to make. Initially I couldn't imagine not being able to make a decision without having regrets if the decision turned out to be the wrong one or didn't provide satisfactory results, but the more I thought about it the more I realised how much easier our decision making processes and lives would be if we didn't have the risk of regret behind our decisions.

I wonder if this state is really possible to achieve?

At this point, as is often the way when I write a piece like this I have taken a few days off from writing it whilst I process my thoughts in the background. I had a concern that what Neil had said in some way conflicted with 'relationships' or family life or whatever label you'd want to put on it.

In my view the answer to that question is 'no'.

The beauty of Neils point-of-view is that he talks about considering the options before a making a decision and having no regrets once you've made it. This is in pleasant contrast to those who talk about life planning as a roadmap to wealth and success but make no room for others and the considerations that must be factored in where relationships are involved.

To conclude, I'd like to thank Neil Holloway for his considered and inspiring talk but I wonder what your thoughts are on the matter. Do you have a life plan? Is it working? Do you have regrets from making decisions? Does it work for you?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


In my last blog I wrote about how I was simplifying my on-line presence by integrating my blog page with my photography web site. This makes sense as most of my blogs are photography related although I do wander off into other subjects from time-to-time as the fancy takes me.

All the technical work is now completed and I've matched the look and feel as closely as possible to that of the main site whilst removing the other pages I had on the blog as they were becoming irrelevant.

Whilst my old blog URL will still work the new URL, in keeping with the photography site, is .

Look out for the next regular update coming soon and I hope you'll continue to enjoy the blog in its new home.

Friday, 16 September 2011


It will come as no suprise to regular visitors that my blog has been unusually quiet in recent weeks.

Sometimes in life events happen that make you want to reflect on how best to move forward. Sometimes when these events come along one at a time it is difficult enough but when a number of events come together at the same time it can be almost impossible to reflect and choose best paths because of all the 'noise'.

My friend Paula White wrote a blog called 'What Do You Say To The Person In The Mirror' which tells the story of a networking event we attended which included a motivtional talk from Jim McLeod. Jim spoke about identifying and removing influences which prevent you from achieving your aims and happiness and so I set about identifying what those might be.

Having given it some thought I decided on courses of action I need to take but to take all of them at the same time just isn't possible. The next step I took was to put them in an actionable order.

The first action I have decided to take is to simplify my on-line presence to make it more manageable and effective within the time I am able to dedicate to it. I'll do this by streamlining the relationship between my blog and professional website and effectively integrate the two.

This will give me more time to start to action other steps I need to complete to move forward again.

This work includes changing the colour scheme to match that of my professional website and simplify the page layout and give it an integrated look and feel. It may be a bit untidy for a while but once it's finished I hope it will look so much better.

In the meantime, if you have arrived at this page through the Kevin Leighton Photography website and you can't get back by clicking the 'Home' button please use the 'Back' button on your browser. If you didn't and you'd like to go there then please click here.