Repligo Reader

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011

I mentioned a while back that I had purchased Repligo Reader as it is a particularly fast and efficient PDF reader for android. One problem it (and every other reader I have tried) had was dealing with transparent layers… It would render them with solid fills, clearly not the intended result. I load train timetables onto my phone and the net effect was to obscure the train times. I reported this bug at the beginning of january and the minor release last week fixed it. So all credit to Cerience for being active in their development and response.

SAGE Handbook of Geomorphology: Geomorphic Mapping

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011

SAGE Handbook of Geomorphology
Chapter: Geomorphic Mapping (Smith, M.J. and Pain, C.P.

Mapping of landforms is probably as old as the making of maps. Mountain ranges, volcanoes, and plains all appear on early representations of land. Often the mountains were represented as hachures or “hairy caterpillars”…

27,000 degree revisited

Saturday, 12 February, 2011

Another interesting article by Mike Baker over on BBC News about the recent toings-and-froings on university tuition fees. Well worth a read, but in summary, almost all fees are likely to be 9,000 per year in part because the government has pulled so much money out of HE. As a result there is little chance of an educational market. And the net result for students will also marginal. It will be fascinating to see the landscape once universities start publishing their fee schedules for 2012 entrants.

GoPro Hero 960

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011

Well I finally bought GoPro Hero 960. I’ve now been experimenting with shooting time lapse photography to see what sort of results we can get. Video (including the whole trip) is on YouTube; includes 5s intervals/5 frames per second and 30s intervals/3 frames per second

The 5s intervals is quite nice, but one of the “problems” with the Hero is that the resolution of the stills is fixed at 5MP. The battery life is 3.5hrs on time lapse and that generates 4Gb of data. Creates a headache trying to deal with that amount of data without a laptop. Downshifting to 30s intervals creates a much more manageable 500Mb or about 8-10Gb for the trip. So, more than enough space on a 16Gb SD card. At 30s you need to drop the frame rate and 3 fps seems about right, although it could go to 1 or 2. However DivX was finding it very difficult to create the video, probably because each frame was not really related to the last one. MJPEG is simply a “stack” of JPEGs so works well with the data we pull off the camera.

And, for those really interested (I’m not sure there are many though!), I’ve Mencoder to create the videos. These are the command lines for the two videos above:

mencoder “mf://*.jpg” -mf fps=3 -o test.avi -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=msmpeg4v2:vbitrate=1600 vqmin=3
mencoder “mf://*.jpg” -mf fps=3 -o test.avi -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg:vbitrate=1600 vqmin=3

N.B. You might need to use VLC to view the MJPEG video or alternatively just upload to YouTube which does a good job at mp4 conversion and then download them using your favourite Firefox extension for video download!!

Humax HDR T2

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011

I bought a Hummy PVR late last year principally to get HD reception. Of course HD isn’t quite available in my area (strength of crystal palace transmitter just too weak) so just got to wait until april. However the PVR itself is a dramatic upgrade on the previous version. HDMI naturally, but now there is a LAN connection; ok, no wifi, but their generally poor. ethernet over power cables is much better. The already good interface is much better and, with the latest firmware internet tv has arrived. Ok its a bit clunky and slow in parts but it is still noted as beta. BBC iPlayer playback is smooth though. An ftp server has now been added which is handy for moving content around, although DRM is on the recorded content.

Everyone talks about the media centre pc taking on the living room, but I can’t help but think that the PVR has already won the battle.

Sony e-book Reader

Monday, 7 February, 2011

I’ve been testing the Sony Reader…. an ebook reader (doh!) as part of a trial at Kingston in to their use. Having already used the Kindle for reading and marking I was interested to see how Sony’s offering stacked up. At near 200 it’s a fair bit more expensive, but it has a higher quality (aka gorgeous design!) and offers a touch interface. It’s funny because after using my Android phone on a daily basis, whenever I switch to the Kindle I’m expecting to touch the screen to navigate…. it seems just natural. Sony goes for resistive technology on the screen which therefore allows you to make annotations using the stylus…. and because its reisitive you can make accurate handwritten notes. So that’s definitely a benefit, although it requires an extra layer of glass on the device so making it both heavier and reducing the crispness of the image. In practice the latter is noticeable.

How useful is this?? Well if you are researching a topic or reviewing a journal paper then it could be handy; akin to scribbling over the paper version. For student marking? I’m not convinced because you somehow have to translate all the notes in to a format for the students to access. Easier to make them handwritten.

However the biggest gotcha is the PDF reading. Yes you can rotate the screen and view in landscape, but unlike the Kindle, it doesnt maximise it to screen in quite such an intelligent way. That said it does try to reflow the text in to one of its preset zoom levels. I wanted to read somewhere between “Small” and “Medium” but you just can’t do it which means either tiny type or lots of page turning.

It does come with the benefit of an SD card slot, but there is no wifi (and so no web browser) and therefore book buying is a little more convoluted (you need to attached to your PC), although I haven’t tested it.

Those who have tested the Reader will realise that I’m using the PRS-600, not the latest PRS-650. The resistive screen is gone so I would expect the quality of the reading experience to be vastly improved. What all ebook readers need to achieve (for university use anyway) is a far better PDF experience.

ESRIs Essays on Geography and GIS

Thursday, 3 February, 2011

ESRI have just published volume 3 of “Essays on Geography and GIS”. EGG (nice!) is an irregularly produced volume series (almost annual) that accumulates together a selection of papers from ArcNews. Its a nice dip in to topical items in the ESRI world. I couldn’t find a single landing page for EGG, although volume 1 has one. Just use this search.