Lord Mayor of Birmingham & James B Wong

Chinese New Year 2017 Chinatown Birmingham UK

The Chinese New Year celebration is one of the largest events in Birmingham, attracting up to 30,000 people. Birmingham’s festivities take place in the Chinese Quarter.

Please accept our apologies for any quality issues in this video clip. Filming was done under heavy rain and winds. It rained heavy all day. But that’s typical British weather; it did not stop us having a great time!

James B Wong – Chairman of the
Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham are the wonderful people that put this event together.

The Lord Mayor (Cllr Carl Rice) was the chief guest

Headline Sponsors:

Genting Casinos

Birmingham Airport

#wmcreative30 Sightsavers

WM Creative 30 years in business and the Sightsavers Challenge to celebrate #wmcreative30

This July marks 30 years in business for WM Creative, a Birmingham-based branding & design agency.

I am proud to say I have been part of the wmcreative team for the last ten years – bringing my digital expertise to meet client needs. I have seen the company evolve.

To mark this occasion and to give something meaningful back, managing director Paul Whitehouse is doing the #wmcreativee30 campaign for Sightsavers:

“I have decided fundraise for Sightsavers. Restoring sight is a gift I want to give.

Simply, I’m trying to raise £3000 for a fantastic charity called Sightsavers.

This will help them restore the sight of thirty children. My challenge is doing thirty 10K runs over a three month period. I am looking for all support I can get – all donations large or small are welcome, they are going to a great charity. Or you may want to join me in one of the runs, you’d be most welcome!”

Visit Sightsavers

Get involved

Donate now
JustGiving https://www.justgiving.com/wmcreative30

Text WCAA63 £2 / £5 / £10 to 70070 to donate now. eg WCAA63 £5 

Join in the conversation
Use the Hashtag #wmcreative30 on Twitter and Facebook to join in on the conversation.

Take part
If you would like to take part on one of the 10K runs:

Call WM Creative on:
0121 233 4845

Send an email to:

Or send a message to @wearewmcreative

Sport Relief 2014 Birmingham

Sainsbury’s Sport Relief 2014 event organised by the Birmingham City Council

I was asked to photograph of the ‘The Birmingham Mile’ for Sainsbury’s Sport Relief 2014 event organised by the Birmingham City Council on Sunday 23rd of March at CannonHillPark.

Despite rain, hail and cold weather, many hundreds turned up to do their bit.

Watch the highlights on YouTube

Photographs from the event

Green Screen HD Footage

Green Screen HD Footage

It have been an exciting weekend. I wanted to create a very short clip of video to illustrate how easy it is to use green screen technology in video projects.

To summarise the key things to remember are:

  • You need a green screen.
  • Adequate lighting with no shadows
  • Never get your subjects to wear green, they’ll appear invisible.
  • Do a short screen test first to establish all you setting are correct.

Green Screen technology opens up a whole new world to video and a whole new dimension to still photography. So experiment and have fun.

Is My Site Up

Is My Site Up #IsMySiteUp

Many shared hosting websites and VDS virtually dedicated servers are single point hosting. Meaning your site exists on a single server unlike a CDN Content Distributed Network.

Most web servers  in their SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) state a 99% uptime on your business website.

This equates to more than 3 days of it being down in a year. How much does your business stand to lose in three days?

There is a solution…drum roll…IsMySiteUp.org

IsMySiteUp.org is a cloud-based service that monitors your website 24/7and alerts you when your site is down via email and SMS texted message.

 So you can react within minutes and get your site back online.

Winter Checks for your car, a DIY guide

In this quick guide I will demonstrate how you check your car is ready for winter.

Under the Bonnet

Under the bonnet you will notice things are colour coded.

Checking the Engine Oil

  • Remove dip stick
  • At the end of dipstick you have a marker to check the oil level
  • Unscrew oil cap and put the oil in, one pint at a time, let it settle for a few minutes.
  • Check with the dipstick again until oil is visible.

Break fluid check.

  • Look for the minimum and maximum level
  • This is a visual check only.
  • If you notice the level low, do not drive. Call your mechanic or your breakdown service.

Engine coolant check

  • This is a visible minimum and maximum check.

Windscreen washer fluid

  • A visual check
  • It has a minimum and maximum level
  • Use a third of the solution with water.


After checking under the bonnet the next thing to do is a visual check on the tyres.

You want to check the right side edge for tears and bulges.

Look at tread. The reason you have tread is to remove water from the tyre and it helps the tyre grip to the road and to break safely.

 If tread runs flush with markers then it is time to change your tyres.

 If you have a spare tyre in the boot, be sure to check that too.


Checking your lights is a visible check.

  • Check that they are clean, and not damaged.
  • Put the side lights on and inspect them.
  • Check your dipped lights.
  • Check your fog lights.
  • Check the left and right indicator.

 Do the same at the rear of the vehicle

Do a visual inspection to check they are clean and free from damage.

Get a friend to press the break pedal.

Next you want to check the Windscreen wipers and washer is working.

As you can see I have already topped-up with Windscreen washer fluid.

Make sure your wipers are actually clearing your screen, if not you may need new wipers.

Common Sense

There are a few common sense things you can do before you embark on your journey.

If the weather is particularly bad like heavy snow or dense fog, ask yourself do I really need to drive?

If you are going to drive, then you will need to remember the following:

  1. Check the weather forecast, take a little food and water with you.
  1. Have plenty of fuel at least a quarter level depending on your journey.
  1. Always have an alternative route planned.
  1. Be sure to charge your mobile phone in case you need to make an emergency call and finally subscribe to a breakdown service as be sure to have  your membership card or details with you before you set off.
Video on mobiles

Universal Video Encoding Recommendation for Mobile Phones: iPhone, Blackberry & Android

After many hours of research, trial and error and testing on different mobile devices I have concluded the following universal video encoding for mobile devices to reach the widest of audiences with respect to video.

Video codec: MPEG-4 Simple Profile

Video resolution: 320 x 240

Video frame rate: 24 fps

Video bitrate:  300 kbs

Audio codec:  AAC-LC

Audio channels: 2 (Stereo)

Audio bitrate: 128 Kbs

File type:  .mp4

Total: 428 Kbs (Mobile internet download speeds average just 1.5Mbps)[i]

[i] http://www.computerweekly.com/news/1280097362/Mobile-internet-download-speeds-average-just-15Mbps

MPEG-4 video: up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

MPEG-4 Part 2 (Simple Profile and bvop, including DivX 4) File formats – .avi, .3gp, .mp4, .mov

Video – Up to 320 x 240, up to 800 kbps, up to 30 frames per second

MPEG-4 Simple Profile

  SD (Low quality) SD (High quality) HD (Not available on all devices)
Video codec H.264 Baseline Profile H.264 Baseline Profile H.264 Baseline Profile
Video resolution 176 x 144 px 480 x 360 px 1280 x 720 px
Video frame rate 12 fps 30 fps 30 fps
Video bitrate 56 Kbps 500 Kbps 2 Mbps
Audio codec AAC-LC AAC-LC AAC-LC
Audio channels 1 (mono) 2 (stereo) 2 (stereo)
Audio bitrate 24 Kbps 128 Kbps 192 Kbps


Pass Plus

Pass Plus Scheme for Newly Qualified Drivers

Introduction to the Pass Plus Scheme

First I must say well done you, because if you’re reading this, it most likely means that your have passed your test.

So you may have been presented with the option to take the Pass Plus. I will explain the following:

  • Why you should take the PASS PLUS
  • What you should expect on the PASS PLUS, and the
  • Pass Plus benefit to you

Why you should take the Pass Plus Scheme?

You may be thinking to yourself, “I passed my driving test and I can drive”?

Well that is true you have centrally demonstrated that you meet the level of competence to pass the driving test but what you lack is driving experience.

The Pass Plus is more than just a few extra driving lessons. You are adding to your driving experience under expert supervision and guidance and you will be shown how to deal with driving situations that you may not have confronted whilst learning to drive.

This may include driving in fog, rain, snow and ice, driving in the dark and motorway driving.

After the introduction of the Pass Plus, 17-20 years olds went for being 69.3% to have blame in collision in 1998 to 41.8% in 2002.

That is a 27.5% reduction in total collision for `7-20 year olds and a sure sign that more experience reduces blameworthy crashes.

What to expect on the Pass Plus?

Yu can expect a minimum of 6 hours of tuition of which 5 and half hours will be of in-car driving.

The thing to remember is that some modules may take loner to complete than others and depending on how you are progressing, you may require more sessions.

The Pass Plus Syllabus consists of the following modules:

Module 1 – Town Driving
Module 2 – All Weather Driving
Module 3 – Out of Town Driving & Rural Areas
Module 4 – Night Driving
Module 5 – Dual Carriageways
Module 6 – Motorway

Pass Plus benefits to you?

  • More driving experience under expert supervision
  • Helping you become a more skilful driver
  • Teaching you a develop a positive driving style enjoyable and safe
  • Reducing the risk of you being involved in a road crash
  • Saving you money on your insurance premiums – subject to status, you should check with your insurance company if they offer discounts for pupils who have taken the Pass Plus.

And remember there is no test at the end of the course!

Show Me Tell Me

Show me tell me DSA 19 Theory Questions & Answers

The “show me / tell me” questions or maintenance questions are a series of 19 questions regarding the correct maintenance and safe use of the car. two questions will be asked by the examiner at the beginning of the driving test.

Q. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked?
A. Information in the manufactures guide,use a reliable pressure gauge,check when they are cold and don’t forget the spare.

Q. Show me how you would check the brake lights are working on this car?
A. Operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows or garage doors, etc, or ask someone to help you check.

Q. Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check there is a safe level?
A. Identify reservoir, check the level against the high / low markings.

Q. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check engine coolant level and tell me how you would check the correct level?
A. Identify the high / low markings on the header tank and describe how to fill to the correct level.

Q. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check the engine has sufficient oil?
A. Identify dipstick / oil level indicator, describe how to check level against the min / max markers.

Q. Open the bonnet, identify the windscreen washer reservoir and tell me how you would check the level?
A. Identify the reservoir and explain how to check the level.

Q. Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively, both front and rear screens?
A. Set the relevant controls including; fan, temperature, air direction / source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows.

Q. Tell me how you would check the head & tail lights are working?
A. Identify / operate the switch, then walk around the vehicle, check front & rear.

Q. Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer & wipers?
A. Operate control to wash / wipe the windscreen.

Q. Show me how you would switch on the rear fog lights & explain when you would use them?
A. Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights first) check warning light & explain that they should only be used in fog.

Q. Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear?
A. Apply foot brake, demonstrate by applying the parking brake so that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and its not at the end of its working travel.

Q. Tell me how you would make sure the head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash?
A. Adjust the head restraint so the rigid part is at least as high as your eyes or top of the ears & close to the back of the neck.

Q. Show me how you would check the directional indicators are working?
A. Apply the hazard warning switch (or indicator switch) and check all functioning indicators.

Q. Tell me how you would check the brakes are working before starting a journey?
A. Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. brakes should be tested as you set off. vehicle should not pull to one side.

Q. Show me / explain how you would check the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey?
A. If the steering becomes heavy the system may not be working properly. before starting a journey move the wheel left & right to check for assistance.

Q. Tell me how you would know there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system?
A. A warning light should illuminate if there is a fault.

Q. Show me how you would check that the horn is working?
A. Depress the horn.

Q. Tell me how you check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe for use on the road?
A. No cut and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central 3/4 of the width of the tyre and around the entire circumference.

Q. Show how you switch your head lights from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know main beam is on?
A. Operate switch and check the main beam warning light.