Friday, 21 December 2007

Christmas Lights

On of our neighbours has put a couple of lights up on their house for the Christmas season. He told me "I've scaled in back this year."
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Saturday, 8 September 2007

...First second-hand iPod Nano sold in Japan!

About 30 mins after getting new video Nano I sold it for a 200 Yen profit to a friend from work! He liked the colour more than me and I'm going to get the iTouch instead!

Friday, 7 September 2007

First iPod Nano Sold In Japan

First iPod Nano Sold In Japan
Originally uploaded by Billius
So... there I was in the Apple Store in Ginza, Tokyo, when a large trolley appeared with lots of boxes of new iPods...

It was impossible to resist the lure of a new shiny video iPod Nano.. when I went to pay for it they all got excited as it was the first new iPod Nano sold in Japan.

I later heard it was out in Japan before lots of other countries (including I think the USA) so maybe it was the first in the whole world!

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Selling SXV M8C Astro CCD

Unused Starlight Xpress SXV M8C CCD, Boxed, as new. £600

I gave it a go selling this in Feb - but after rushing it to buyer sale fell through due to lack of funds at his end - being somewhat disorganized and having a lot of other stuff on my plate I have done NOTHING else to sell this since. A recent tidy brought me eye-to-eye with said wrapped parcel - so - lets try this again :)

Note: sold autoguider seperately already.

M8C Was £1200 new direct from Starlight (March 2005)
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Sunday, 19 August 2007

Crumpler 'Royal Court'


... So I sold my LowPro CompuRover AW and got a new Half-Photo Crumpler bag instead.

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New Laptop, New Laptop-bag

This is the Crumper Belly XL

Original 1000d Chicken Tex Supreme hyper performance accessory fabric. Waterproof ripstop lining.Super strong shoulder straps with two loops for pouch attachment and an adjustable sliding chest strap for fine adjustment. The Dr. Bodenschatz back hugger. 7 smaller internal pockets. Two external side loops for pouch attachments. Fits 15"- 15.4" and 17" laptops.

Large main compartment opening for easy access.
Weasel proof padded laptop pouch with removable sleeve.
Two side pockets; one for waterbottle storage- another with padded pocket for MP3 players or other small electronics.
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Run XP at the same time as Mac OS X

I've just installed Parallels Desktop V3.0 so that I can run XP concurrently with Mac OS X (rather than reboot using BootCamp)

Parallels and BootCamp require a full version of Windows: Vista or XP. Not sure why you'd really want to run Vista as well as Mac OS X... XP is good for compatibility with Windows only programs.


Don't buy an OEM version of Windows if you want to use Parallels - because XP sees a hardware change with Parallels environment it needs to be re-activated - this can be a problem with the OEM version (some reports of not working - some that they managed it..)

Anyway - all up and running now. You can either swap full-screen into XP, use XP within a window (i.e. make your desktop smaller in XP than in Mac OS X - 800x600) or use the 'Coherent' mode where XP windows become native Mac OS X windows.
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A new life awaits you...

So there I was, in San Diego, at the Apple Store. My $2 to the £1 burning a hole in my pocket...

I've been considering getting my own 'personal' laptop for sometime. Obviously MacBooks look great - and OS X is pretty cool too - however I still like playing the odd game and there are the odd Windows program that I use (e.g. astronomy stuff) - and I want good graphics performance too - something which XP machines deal with well - Macs less-so.

However the relatively new 15.4" MacBook Pro 2.4Ghz laptop is fast (with that Core 2 Duo Intel core) and also has an Nvidia 8600M GT with 256Mb of dedicated graphics memory. Coupled with 2Gb Ram, in-built iSight camera, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc....

And as for playing games - easy - I can use the Apple BootCamp beta which allows me to boot into XP instead of OS X.

So... I bought it.

Just loaded up 3dMark06 - and after a slightly cautious install of DirectX 9.0c - it ran pretty damn well.
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New Compact Camera

Recently bought the new Lumix DMC-TZ3.

Here's the specs:

7.2 million effective pixel / 8.5 million pixels total 1/2.35" CCD
10x (28-280mm equiv.) Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom
MEGA OIS image stabilization
Larger sensor for 28mm equiv. angle of view at 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios
Venus III Engine processor
Fast Linear autofocus system
High Resolution (230,000 pixel) 3.0-inch LCD
Movies up to 840 x 480 pixels (WVGA) @ 30 fps
20 scene modes plus Intelligent ISO mode

Basically I wanted something small that I could take on trips (where my D200 would be overkill) that also had good wide-angle support - and would do hi-res video at decent frame-rate. The TZ3 ticks all the boxes.

The one thing I was worried about was the temptation to take and use this places where I would have taken the D200 before - i.e. is this going to usurp the DSLR ??? Well, the picture quality is good - and the features mentioned above (especially the 10x optical zoom with image stabilization are great - but when I compare the photos with the D200 they are noticeably inferior - phew....!
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Monday, 13 August 2007

Close-up of Perseid Meteor trail

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Taken with a Nikon D200 and Nikon AFS VR 105mm Macro on tripod, F2.8, 8 sec exposure. Around 00:54 BST. Some levels and noise reduction processing in Bibble-lite.

Got this shot relatively early - then proceeded to take another 300 shots on auto intervalometer - which only turned up some small, faint trails.

Perseids Meteor Shower

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The very nice Sophie Raworth presented my photo on the BBC One o'clock News on Monday 13th!

Friday, 29 June 2007

First Commute on the Green Machine!


HP Velotechnik Grasshopper Recumbent bike. Fully laden with Ortlieb panniers and water bottles...

Checking for traffic, only 13 miles to go...!
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Saturday, 5 May 2007

Fixies? Oh ... they're so like last year! What you need is a 'bent!

During my first commute for months on my Condor Pista EOM Fixie from Stoneleigh to Blackfriars a month ago, a twinge in my lower back turned into a bulged/slipped disc (L4/L5) - total agony - weeks off work - nightmare.

This Wednesday I bumped into another colleague who has had (upper) disc problems who has just bought a HPV Spirit from Bikefix. I was totally gobsmacked when I saw the 'bent in the office - yes I knew they existed - but hadn't really thought about owning one - suddenly (and after some googling) I could see that this could be an excellent bike which would not wreck my back! And believe me I need to get off the train and onto a bike again.

So... Thursday / yesterday, got the tube to Holborn - an hour later had wobbled down the street on a HPV Spirit THEN on a Grasshopper! Scary as hell but hmm... nice too. (Stuart has a pretty hands-off attitude on the demoing but was very friendly and helpful)

Friday afternoon went to Dulwich Village Park where I met the very helpful Oliver at londonrecumbents who I'd arranged a demo of a Challenge Mistral with.

Another nervous start (this time held upright by running Oliver!) but after a couple of laps of park - really enjoyed myself.

I must say it fills me with trepidation - I'm not a natural balancer - e.g. I've never been able to cycle with no hands! but a trike looks just too wide for filtering and I believe in taking the plunge rather than dipping a toe in...

3 days from knowing nothing - to now knowing next to nothing but seriously considering a Challenge Mistral Deluxe with ASS, 3x9 (SRAM Hub + back derailleur) Gears. Keep empty derailleur post at front for lights etc.

I liked the grass hopper but thought its a bit aggressive/sporty for my commute - so was looking at HPV StreetMachine GTe - but I think I've fallen in love with the looks of the Mistral and the HPV just looks like too much metal at the back now!

Probably going to double check with my Physio that this is not a "Really Bad Idea (tm)" but already day dreaming about multi-day tour up to Peak District (having never done more than 5 hour Oxford->Cambridge ride) :)