Computers


Well  it’s holiday season, so time to catch up with some technology. I’ve put my Panasonic GF1 through it’s paces in Hvar (Croatia). Very pleased with the results. Some 1300 images shot in RAW. No problem with storage today as  SD cards are cheap now. No longer a concern about the cost too. I usedd two Sandisk 16GB (10) type cards purchased from Mymemory.  Paranoid about losing any images, I swapped cards half way through the vacation i.e. to at least save half the images.  I bought the electronic viewfinder for the camera thinking that I would need in the bright sun . In truth (as a spectacle wearer) I still found it easier to use with the LCD turned up to full brightness. OK a few shots were less than perfect but 95%+ were fine and needed a few tweaks such as straightening…. Difficult at a level to see what I might purchase as a replacement camera at this point. Obvious contenders are the new Sony RX100 or the Panasonic GX1. The former gives me the pocket camera that I still hanker for. The latter possibly a slightly better image? The power zoom on the GX1 seem to have had mixed reviews though, so not so sure.

Have had a few small poster prints made from my current on line favourite Pixum. http://www.pixum.co.uk. Results seem pleasing to my eye, fast service and good rates for the mini poster prints.

Recently treated myself to a Galaxy Nexus 7 Tablet. Little to add so far , other than being very pleased . For me it’s just right, I can simply plug into my Windows PC and copy my photos… No eye anything needed 😉  Only niggle is that there’s no SD card slot. This would have been fantastic as a portable browser to view my holiday photographs. I wonder if there’s an app’ that works with the wifi SD cards that are available? Using K9-Mail for IMAP mail, Quick Pic for photo viewing. I used http://www.freemake.com/free_video_converter/ to convert videos from my GF1 to play on the Nexus 7.

I’ve also bought a Raspberry Pi , but had little time to play with. Perhaps in the next post?

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My backup theme continues. Thanks to a generous relative I’ve inherited a modern (but not so green) AMD dual core PC. A lot of watts for normal running (120+) but it has 500G of disk space.  So how about turning into a remote (read out of site) controllable backup drive?

i) The pre-requisites are turning on the PC remotely using Wake up on LAN. A good introduction here:

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/tips/2008/01/25/access_your_computer_anytime_and_save_energy_with_wakeonlan-2.html

ii) Then you need a small application to wake it up, I’ve found this to be neat:

http://www.fusion-online.com.ar/en/products/wol/

iii) I’ve elected to install http://www.tightvnc.com/ as a service in order that I can shutdown the PC when I’ve finished uploading my files using Synback http://www.2brightsparks.com/downloads.html

That’s it really, sound more complex that it really is.

The final part for me is to install in a suitable location? Might need to invoke some networking over mains technology. Best I look back at some of my earlier posts 😉

When shut down the PC draws about 9W , not perfect I admit but better than running all day at 15-20W with the addition of noise and heat.

Thanks to a colleague at Pure Digital for the initial project stimulus.

** Update 17/12/2008

Well it’s installed and running! What’s a little disappointing is that the mains networking (Solwise 85Mbs home plugs runs at only about 16M b/s.  perhaps better than a marginal wifi signal I know but still not as fast as I might of liked.)  In spec I’m assured by the manufacturer  considering the distance covered. But of course these means an average data rate of approx. 2 Mbytes/second. So be careful if you’ve lots of large files to support.

I’ve mentioned this  before, but things are changing. I’ve been playing with on line backup just to get a feel of how it works – http://www.mozy.com offer 2Gbytes of free online secure storage. You load a small application on to your computer and point it that folders you want to backup. That’s it! The benefits are clear, it’s off site and will survive in the event of a fire/flood/robbery… Negatives: It’s relatively slow as in the first instance you have to back up all of your files. You’ve also got to trust them too, typically the data is encrypted before it’s sent. Remember upload speeds on broadband are much lower than download. Typically 256k bit/s . But once you’ve uploaded the program only stores changes. Mozy have a commercial offering if you want to save more and their are other well known players like http://www.carbonite.com of which people seem to speak highly of. I’ve even stumbled across a ‘peer to peer’ type solution where you use disk space from trusted friends, that’s neat. Check out http://www.zoogmo.com/. I haven’t tried yet, but I’m tempted. The next phase is to take the plunge in order that I can store my 10G of photos , well I guess that’s another article. There’s also the media streaming project! How to find the time…

A couple of recent additiions to my XP installation (yep still running!)

‘Send to Notepad’

Copies your paste buffer straight to the Notepad editor.

http://www.onlyutkarsh.com/tools.html

‘Teracopy’

Fast file copying

http://www.codesector.com/teracopy.php

If you use ‘Total Commander’ as I do it neatly installs a couple of ‘buttons’ in the tool bar.

Thanks to lifehacker for the tips and links:

http://lifehacker.com/