What makes a good whisky? Is it prancing about in a kilt?

Ask one hundred people and you will get one hundred answers. It has been said that there are at least 500 brands of whisky in the world – so there seems plenty to have a go at.

There’s certainly plenty here at this local specialist, T B Watson in Dumfries. Click and drag on the image below.

We’ve tried the elusive Glenmorangie Cellar 13, now going up and up in price. And by experts I am told this is (or was) one of the best, being influenced by it’s being aged in barrels close to the sea shore. So the ‘terroir’ and casking is a major part of the magic.

Theories and myths abound, particularly The Angel’s Share, which is the small proportion of the whisky which is lost through evaporation from the barrels. A film was made with this title, and directed by Ken Loach in 2012 and is worth a look.

Apart from the famous 1949 Whisky Galore film, there is also a 1897 Dewars Scotch Whisky film, reputed to be the first filmed advertisement. In advance of their time, some have suggested that the dancers in Scottish kilts are rather the worse for wear whilst they dance in front of a Dewars Whisky sign. Which seems rather harsh!

 

Colour psychology in restaurants

As a restaurant owner, one of the most important factors for your success (after the provision of good food) is often the decor and ambience. But what to choose?

Each restaurant is different and individual, and it has been shown that the colour red, attracts people, stimulates people to talk, stimulates blood pressure and heart rate and most importantly stimulates the appetite. You just need to Google ‘the use of the colour red in restaurants’ to find more about this.

It’s not exactly known why this should be. We’ve got an example below of one that works, The Granite Kitchen, Dalbeattie, Scotland. We had a business meeting here, and talk was free flowing and exciting and we observed a great turn over of clientele. The ambience that is created is good.

Click and drag on the image below. It all tastes as good as it looks.

If you Google ‘The Granite Kitchen Dalbeattie’ then this is what you see on a pc (other devices give similar results), with appropriate imagery. It looks good.

The Granite Kitchen, Dalbeattie AFTER the Google Virtual Tour

The Granite Kitchen, Dalbeattie AFTER the Google Virtual Tour

 

The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie, another fab Google tour

Here we have a very lovely gallery, in Dalbeattie. It provides studio space and workshops for artists and hosts exhibitions. Try clicking and dragging on the image below. This is their Google Tour.

 

Now for some of my favourite shots from the shoot

Totem at The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie

Totem at The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie

 

At The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie

At The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie

 

At The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie

At The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie

 

At The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie

At The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie

It’s always important to show you how things appeared before and after the Google Tour. Here’s before the tour when searching on an iPad (you get similar results on other devices). You would not even know it was a gallery and in fact the image is pointing at a different building!

The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie before the Google Tour

The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie before the Google Tour

Below we have The Nail Factory AFTER the Google Tour. Now there is much more appropriate and inviting imagery. What a difference for prospective visitors!

The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie AFTER the Google Tour

The Nail Factory, Dalbeattie AFTER the Google Tour

A great place for artists and collectors. Go seek it out.

We will be visiting another place in Dalbeattie, and it will be hot…

Gadding about with Google, on your Treks

It comes to something when you can race around the world in a few minutes on-line.

It’s surprising what you can find on Street View or perhaps rather it’s surprising what is NOT on Street View.

I found the world famous Petra on Maps. Just go to Google Maps and search for Petra.

Petra on Google Maps

Petra on Google Maps

Then drop the little man on the map as close to the pin as possible and spin around to see this.

Petra 'Street View'

Petra ‘Street View’

If it’s cold and wet outside you can go to Petra, climb El Capitan in Yosemite, visit Venice and many other amazing places at Google Treks

Treks has a wealth of information, audio and visual to keep you interested. Google have so far covered Petra, Samburu, El CApitan Yosemite (AMAZING), Nepal, Gombe National Park, Pyramids of Giza, Angkor Wat, Colorado River, Churchill, Taj Mahal, Venice, Galapagos Islands, Eiffel Tower, Mt Fuji, Burj Khalifa, Iqaluit, Everest base camp, Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Amazon Basin, Kennedy Space Centre.

Here’s Petra, and you can go right inside. I leave you to explore…click on the image.

Petra Treks

Petra Treks

Virtual Tourism, the Sistine Chapel from your armchair

Well, it still never ceases to amaze me just how well travelled we can be without leaving our home. An internet connection is all we need and we can be a virtual tourist.

The world is responding to our desire for imagery whether that is for shopping or visiting tourist spots or seeing virtual exhibitions. Here’s a small collection of museum and art exhibitions from very well know locations around the world.

Starting with a real exhibition at the Fundacion MAPFRE in Barcelona. The exhibition is called The Triumph of Colour. From Gauguin to Matisse. It features paintings from the collections of the Musee d’Orsay and the Musee de l’Orangerie and runs until 10th Jan 2016. It’s a pity that it’s not on an HTTPS server so click on the image below and a new page will open. When you find a ‘+’ sign this means you can see the painting close up, and look for other icons to find written and audio commentaries. Explore and see what you think. (It’s in Spanish, I did look for other language versions but I could not find any).

Fundacion MAPFRE Barcelona Virtual Tour

Fundacion MAPFRE Barcelona Virtual Tour

Next here’s a Google Street View tour of the Orangerie Museum in Paris from way back in Dec 2011. Pretty cool for those days and still excellent today, it’s one of my favourite exhibitions in Paris. It’s on a HTTPS server so just click on the image embedded below and move around and zoom.

And finally for some real funky stuff, we have The Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome. There is so much detail here, it’s just amazing. The controls are quite ‘sensitive’ and I can easily end up with the picture spinning, but my goodness, it is so beautiful. Again it’s not HTTPS so this will open another window, but with such high resolution you can forgive anything. [Post edit: Please note this tour is in ‘Flash’ which is not supported by Apple iPhone or iPad, which means it won’t work on these. You need to access this on other devices and non-mobile devices such as a desktop or laptop. It would be worth the Vatican re-engineering this into a non-flash version to be accessible to so many more people. I think it’s worth it].

Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Rome, Virtual Tour

Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Rome, Virtual Tour

There’s plenty more to come with virtual reality, watch that space….virtual or otherwise

Go and explore on line.

Perfect for your Christmas Presents!

This place is just perfect for your Christmas presents and stocking fillers. Or at any time really. Takes me back…

Jacksons Models in Wigton, (specialists in model railways and diecast models) the place to spend a while…

Click on the image above and move about the premises.

Jackson Models before the Google Tour on an iPad

Jacksons Models on an iPad Before the Google Virtual tour

Jacksons on an iPad Before the Google tour

Jackson Models AFTER the Google Tour on an iPad. LOVELY.

Jacksons Models on an iPad AFTER the Google Virtual tour

Jacksons Models on an iPad AFTER the Google Virtual tour

 

What a difference a day makes!

 

 

Jewellery by Michael King, photography and Google virtual tours

Following on from our previous post, we were delighted to do some photography for Michael King Jewellery including a Google Virtual Tour, which we start with here. Try click and dragging on the first image below.

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery is one of the most complex and difficult areas of photography, due to reflections on polished surfaces and facets in the jewels themselves. Special lighting helps, but mainly it’s experience plus a fair helping of time and patience to get it absolutely right. We think it’s worth it!

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Michael King has been commissioned for ceremonial crosses for bishops and Elizabeth II, items for films and many other unique pieces of jewellery. They have recently made the designer pieces for the House of Holland consumer experience on the catwalk – see our earlier post.

Jewellery by Michael King, signature piece

Jewellery by Michael King, signature piece

Here’s some more of my favourite shots

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Jewellery by Michael King

Of course we did a Google tour, which you can find for yourself on Google and Google Maps, and now they are presented like this on the web when you search for Michael King Jewellery (for example using an iPad below).

AFTER the Google Tour on search on the web

AFTER the Google Tour when searching on the web

A vast improvement to what went before, I think you will agree (below).

Before the Google Tour on search on the web

Before the Google Tour on search on the web

A pleasure and a privilege to have worked with Jewellery by Michael King. Thank you.

Smart jewellery, wearable tech and Henry Holland

When is wearable tech really cool?

The answer; when it’s a Henry Holland fashion statement.

It all started with a teaser from Henry Holland of House of Holland ‘to create a consumer experience as part of a catwalk presentation showcase’. See Henry Hollands YouTube teaser

When you take your debit card and just wave it at a screen in order to purchase something, you are already doing something pretty smart.

But imagine if you could make a purchase simply with the wave of your hand using a pendant, a ring, a bracelet or just a cuff on your jacket then you can immediately satisfy even the most hardened of shoppers desires.

See now, buy now. Contactless payments.

It’s called NFC or near field communication. In simple terms you bring your special piece of jewellery towards what you want to purchase and hey presto you’ve bought it. London fashion week SS16 was buzzing with wearable purchasing technology in various forms.

It was demonstrated most beautifully by Henry Holland using wearable tech rings that allowed a purchase, in this case, by Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe, of items being worn by models on the catwalk.

We’ve been involved with a photographic project with the company that made the special designer rings for the catwalk show…..more on that later. The jewellery for the catwalk was colourful and oversized in order to be seen. Henry Holland calls his wearable designs ‘connected jewellery’.

Originally devised as a project by Visa Europe Collab, this was to test the feasibility for consumers and it went down a storm.

You won’t be able to buy the miniaturised version in the shops just yet, but you can be sure it’s on its way.

 

Other useful links

http://www.decodedfashion.com/tag/henry-holland/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelarthur/2015/09/20/it-might-seem-like-a-gimmick-but-heres-why-henry-hollands-nfc-payment-ring-matters/

http://www.wareable.com/fashion/wearable-tech-london-fashion-week-september-2015

http://www.wareable.com/fashion/house-of-hollands-lfw-ss16-nfc-rings-shoppable-catwalk-1713

http://www.wareable.com/smart-jewellery/semi-precious-the-best-smart-jewelry-582

Customised virtual tours on-line

So you want something different. Customised virtual tours on-line

This is the fourth in a short run of posts about virtual tours on-line. The first three have been about Google Trusted Tours. But right now I want to turn my attention to non-Google tours, our own customised tours.

These are great if you want something out of the ordinary.

Anyway, to give you an idea of what we are talking about here’s a few that we made earlier. Click on the images in this post to access the tours. You can click on the maps or click on the ‘targets’ on screen, or use the icons at the bottom to move around the businesses. These are virtual tours.

Cockermouth Leisure Centre customised virtual tour

Cockermouth Leisure Centre customised virtual tour

 

Cedar Gallery Windermere customised virtual tour

Cedar Gallery Windermere customised virtual tour

 

Artemis Gallery Cockermouth customised virtual tou

Artemis Gallery Cockermouth customised virtual tour

These are ideal for large establishments, or places with geographically widespread facilities or rooms. It means that there is no need to ramble through plain corridors to get from one room to another or from a swimming pool to a gym area in a large sports complex for instance. 

A customised virtual tour can be designed around what you want to show. They help turn virtual footfall into real footfall and present important value considerations to your potential customers.

Not seeing your virtual tour on FaceBook?

Well, this is a reasonable question. How do I get my virtual tour onto FaceBook?

Sciarts Google tours on customised FaceBook tab

Sciarts Google tours on customised FaceBook tab

The first thing to note is that FaceBook uses https by default. ‘https’ means it has secure browsing which helps to prevent hijacking of your pages by others. It has a higher level of encryption.

The impact is that if you want to reference other media (such as a virtual tour) then that needs to be on an https server too! Many people struggle with this. It means that if you try to embed a tour held on a non secure server it will never ever show up on FaceBook.

How do you know if you have a web site on an https server? Easy, look at your web address. If it says http (before the www) then it is not https! You can also check with your host.

Google Street View Trusted tours is https. So these can be displayed easily on FaceBook. We have many examples on our own customised FaceBook tab of 360 virtual tours (above) that we have completed, and many of our clients have included these tours on their FaceBook pages too. They wanted to integrate their tour with their social media. It makes perfect sense. It’s really great for retailers, galleries, restaurants, gyms…. and anyone wanting to make the most of their social media.

You don’t have to use your tour on FaceBook of course, instead you can embed it in your blog and in web sites whether using http or https.

As ever, it’s horses for courses. For instance, we also do customised tours (see next blog) which don’t go on FaceBook unless someone uses https for their web site.

If your expectation is that you want your tour to integrate with your social media then you need the higher level of security afforded by a Google Tour, (unless you have an https web site already). Don’t waste your money on anything less.

Depending on what is requested by a client, we can produce both sorts of tour, all at the same time, thus saving some time, and giving clients both options and freedom of choice.

Next a little more on those customised tours.