Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Photo Experiment : Pocket Telescope Zoom

Inspired by this photo which turned up on Twitter, I experimented with my pocket telescope (8x21mm) and the camera(3.2 Megapixels) on my phone. The photos below were taken next to Carnoustie Golf course - I should point out it was pretty windy so holding the telescope in place over the lens was not easily to do steadily.

The first picture is taken looking east at the Arbroath cliffs and the second looking out past Barry Buddon. I will definitely try again perhaps with a more powerful lens. I have many pictures of the beach after living there a number of years. Would be good to capture some of the activity out on the water from watersports to wildlife. Dolphins where are you? :-)





Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Music & Poetry at Barry Mill

Back to local history it seems! Next to Carnoustie is Barry and Barry has had a water powered mill for around 5 centuries. More info at wikipedia. Last year a local group managed to 'Save Barry Mill' from closure. This was partly fund-raising but also getting people attending. A number of events were organised including a couple of music nights. Last year was great fun so Marta and I looked forward to a night of 'music/poetry/comedy'. A different format and it worked well. Of course my Flip Camera came along too and below is a collection of highlights of the second half of the evening.

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Friday, 18 June 2010

Shape and the Stylus - My iPad Thoughts

I try and keep this blog relatively geek-free but one tech topic that has come to mind recently is worthy of a wider audience than my 'coder' blog. Yes it is those smartphones and tablets. Don't worry I am not going to drone on about dataplans, signal coverage or apps! This is about shape, price and form factor.

I have used mobile devices and touch screens for many years when I was given an early Palm Pilot at work. These were amazing devices for the day. Remember a decent PC cost you around £1000 and here was something that would fit in your pocket that could run some decent applications for around £150. These devices got me used to using a stylus on a small device.

The iPad looks very nice and a bit expensive. Probably safe to say it will never have a stylus! This is a shame as both can work well together. My Nokia phone is touch most of the time but I can pull out the stylus based on preference (text entry for me). Android seems touch focussed too - I do not know of any stylus based devices for it. It would be nice to grow my iPod touch to an iPad size but only 'nice'.

My dream tablet device would be as follows - 7 to 10 inches, Stylus + touch input, optional keyboard, Wifi only, thin and running a Google OS (Android or ChromeOS). What sparked this imaginary device was watching some people with smartphones. People I saw seemed more comfortable holding the stylus and given the productivity boost and familiarity, I can't see it going away. It has mass appeal.

One other little quirk I have with mobile devices is price. Okay maybe we all are price quirky! I don't like small devices to cost more that the Palm Pilot price of at very maximum £200. There's something uncomfortable about carrying £400 of device in a pocket, sitting it on a table in a cafe or handing it to a child. So I hope a Google device can deliver on the £100 price point.

Okay two techie blog posts in a row. Something very different next time I promise!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Media Management

Just had a good chat room discussion re:iPods and media. It amazes me the efforts some go to manage large libraries with gigabytes to be indexed and backed up. It kinda takes the fun out of it when tagging every last detail of the MP3 tags and comparing bit rates. I don't understand the need to carry ALL your music with you ALL the time either.

Then again I am a big Podcast listener and not very fanatical about music anymore so an 8gig device is more than enough. I have an immense amount of free shows to pick from so high throughput and a 'listen and delete' policy stops things piling up. Daily podcasts can mount up so have to be careful with how many of those you subscribe to! It solves those media management problems and is rather good fun. I'm off to download today's crop of juicey episodes...

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Local History - John Knox

Going by the photo's of a spaniel on the beach on this blog, you would probably guess that I live on the coast. We are lucky enough to have a beach just a few minutes away. Across the water from this beach is St. Andrews - not far as the crow flies but a little bit of a drive via Dundee.

The town of St. Andrews is pivotal in Scottish (world?) history for many reasons. Not least due to John Knox - there is an excellent Wikipedia article about his life.

There is much a modern reader might find objectionable or at least uncomfortable in his life. A man of God carrying a sword, sermons causing riots, meddling in politics, publishing anonymous attacks? However his strong will, radical ideas and example of individuals struggling any way they can against oppressive governments has universal appeal.

So as I stroll along with the sand with Dandy, I try to picture a chained Knox in a French galley rowing away from Scotland. His strong will forming to return to his home country one day and preach the true Gospel of grace once again. For all his mixing with Queens and great minds such as Calvin, his dedication and faith in giving the Gospel to the people were his primary focus and not political reform and social programmes.

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Knox’s grave is in the middle of an Edinburgh car park. This is a scandal. I think Scotland needs a loud, brash and un-PC Knox preacher of today to stir things up but maybe not to riots with a two handed sword!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Want Real Letters Again? Try The Penpal Club



I mentioned previously that I had signed up for a Penpal club through a Twitter contact. You can sign up (for free!) if you would like some real letters again.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Machine Mode Change

Churn churn goes the machine. Yes this blog is feeling rather mechanical so here's a personal post rather than diving into historic documents. I still have not figured out the 'best' way to serialise the Confessions. Working on it :-)

It has been a year of changes so far with a new house, new pets and many other matters coming up. Thankfully almost all positive! I am pondering what to do with this blog and others but this one should not change too much in form. I seem to bounce between specialised blogs and aggregating everything into one place. Trying not to follow that pattern this time.

I have been pushing out to do new things (difficult for a creature of habit and routine like me). One opportunity today is to get back to 'real letter' writing with paper and everything. A Twitter pal prompted me to get back into it with a Penpal Club. You can visit her blog here.

Right that is all. Just and update and ramble to break the silence. Take care.