Technology


Just visited the Fox Talbot exhibition at the Science Museum here in the UK. Two pictures below. One shows the queues outside Natural History Museum,  the other the Science Museum. There some what different as you can see. Can you tell which is the Science Museum ? (Answer below)  Perhaps this is more a reflection of the quality of the museum rather than the subject matter.

The left image is the queue outside Science Museum

Came to use the remote on one of my Logitech remote controls the other day. To my slight surprise it wouldn’t turn the unit on. Finally got round to checking the batteries. To my horror one of the cells had corroded (Duracell Alkaline type). The contact was a bit messy as a result but managed to clean up fairly easily with some contact cleaner… The message/warning here is don’t leave those remote’s with batteries in. The years can roll by and the cells, even the better ones can corrode! So let that be a warning. Go and check them now or see below (as an example) of what can happen.

 

Snap 2014-07-28 at 15.09.19

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So time to think about cameras eh. Well just had a few enjoyable days in Paris, grabbed close to a thousand shots! Been thinking about a new camera for my wife. Not hugely keen on photography per se but would like to mimic what I can do with my NEX5N or RX100. Namely shooting in low light without flash , say indoors or night time. I’ve indebted to a colleague that alerted me to the Nikon J1 now been offered for a bargain price on ebay say. One inch sensor in a compact body, what more could you want for £150. Still it’s too big for the wife, she wants a really compact camera. I’ve spotted the Olympus XZ-10, read the reviews it looks good for such a small camera, F1.8 lens to boot. Available today at reduced prices… Hope to pick one up soon and give it a try.

April in Paris, pic above taken with my Sony NEX5N. Comments always welcome.

 

Just bought one of these fine little radios. It’s been well reviewed , see http://goo.gl/LRvUED for example. For those of you not familiar with this little product it’s a WiFi radio without any controls! It makes use of those 3 axis accelerometer gadgets to detect one of four pre-set radio stations as well as allowing you to adjust the volume by tilting the radio itself. For me so far it’s worked seamlessly. I simply plugged it to Window 7 PC, download the app and started. On first power on (after charging) , it offered me a firmware update which I accepted. I was a little phased by the on screen status of my wireless network as I thought the cross mean’t it was working. I believe the cross is simply there if you wish to remove said network from your list of options. I guess most users though will only have one accessible network.

My only real gripe with this product is the on off switch. See attached photos. A tiny slider which isn’t central to the rear of the product. This means for me , each time I wish to turn it on or off I have to literally pick it up and or grope around. Wouldn’t this have been better it was say a central on off switch or maybe something connected to the speaker grill. Still maybe others don’t mind. I’ve put two of my trusted jazz stations on the first two presets and enjoying the music. Enjoy.ImageImage

I’ve been using this on and off over the last few months in parallel with my Logitech Squeezebox Radio. Why you might ask do I need two radios? Well occasionally the Logitech loses it’s station service, I do mean occasionally but it happens. (As you may know there’s a new ‘one way’ upgrade path for the Logitech HE , see earlier post) When the Logitech drops out we switch to the trusty Pure Evoke. I think I’ve enthused about this in an earlier post. New features that work for me:

At last I can now play music stored as FLAC on my NAS box (WD Mybook Live with a hacked install of the Squeezeboxserver. ) The old Evoke didn’t do this.  Of course it’s got DAB radio to boot , my preferred solution for off air listening. This works well as always. One additional feature that I like is the ability to record straight to a USB memory stick. A shame that the interface is on the back of the radio though. Still it works so shouldn’t grumble. The Evoke F4 comes with a blue tooth dongle that allows wireless streaming from an Android or Iphone but haven’t checked this yet.  It’s not quite as intuitive to use as the Logitech and looks a little out of date display wise. (The Logitech has colour).  To be fair the Evoke does a lot more than the Logitech for a similar price, with a great sound too. Well done Pure.

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I’ve been using some Solwise 85Mbs home plugs , providing tricky (WiFi wise) areas of the house with ethernet via the mains. It’s worked non stop for a number of years until the middle of the week 😦 Thanks to a very helpful Steve at Solwise he got my diagnostics up and running. We checked that all plugs had the correct password first of all then got all communicating on the bench. As soon as they were returned to their respective locations around the house they disappeared from the Interllon diagnostic utility. Steve correctly diagnosed by remote that I had a noise generator some where on my mains network. By some elimination and some thinking I’ve homed in on rogue power supply that runs my Squeezebox music server laptop. In truth not an original product but an ‘equivalent’. So up and running again simply by substituting with a known good Asus supply. But nearly a day of time wasted in the process. So there’s the warning , if  all stops don’t necessarily blame the HomePlug unitsf. My thanks to Solwise for some first rate customer support with out of warranty parts!

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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