WinGRASS is finally here

Friday, 30 May, 2008

It’s had a quiet announcement (over a month ago actually) but WinGRASS is finally here. Since its inception in 1983, GRASS has never run natively on Windows and this, in part, has limited its application by a wider audience. To be fair, it can run very well on most modern Linux distributions, but its not quite the same. And it can run on Windows under Cygwin, just not natively. Note that, as per Linux releases, odd point increments (v6.3 in this instance) are considered beta versions in preparation for full “even” releases (the upcoming 6.4 and eventually 7.0). So download and have a play as the capabilities are remarkable.

Foxit PDF Read 2.3

Friday, 16 May, 2008

A new version of Foxit PDF Reader has been released and whilst on the face of it it only appears to be an incremental update, the big news is that it now offers full audio/video support for PDFs.

At the Journal of Maps I am keen to promote the wider use of “multimedia” within e-journals and, as a result, we have published several articles containing videos (fly-throughs, micro-simulations, animated flight atlas) and hope to expand this to 3D models at some point (although Foxit can’t currently handle these). Foxit is a small PDF reader (~6Mb) that renders pages quickly and, increasingly, supports a wide range of features. It also requires no installation and can be run directly from a USB stick. So its ideal for quick PDF viewing.

LED IR Pen

Wednesday, 14 May, 2008

As a follow up to the recent blog on the Wiimote interactive whiteboard, you will need an IR LED pen for the Wiimote to track. You can obviously dust off your soldering iron and build your own pen, or follow this painless and easy tutorial!!

Wii-moting

Tuesday, 13 May, 2008

I came across Johnny Chung Lee’s Wii remote projects this week. And, well… they blew me away!! Have a look at the 3 YouTube videos and you will see how understanding what hardware is in the Wii remote, with a little lateral thinking, can develop some astounding results. The fact that no games designers had actually thought of head tracking is amazing because the demo is cool beyond belief. If we don’t see any games on the shelves that use these ideas in the next 6 months then I’ll east my hat! And, from the teaching perspective, having a portable, low-cost, interactive whiteboard is brilliant. I’m building my LED pen as we speak!!

Worst presentation moments?

Thursday, 8 May, 2008

I thought lecturers in HE had some pretty funny teaching moments (I remember one lecturer writing on an overhead projector and then stopping, going white. He had just realised there was no acetate on the projector and he was using a permanent marker!), but anything we can do, Microsoft can do better. Have a look at this page for some really very funny moments in the life of an IT consultant.