Android OS Updates

Really interesting article on OS updates comparing iOS and Android phones. This shows the quality user-experience that Apple aims for and keeping users happy with the latest OS version. It also keeps developers happy in the sense that they stick to the “curve” and make sure their products are up-to-date.

Compare that to Android where fragmentation of the OS and out-of-date products as they ship leads to a not entirely satisfied end-user. The moral of the story being, if you are on Android you are betting off rooting your phone as soon as possible and putting on the latest ROM developed by the community.

BOOK NOW LIVE “Geomorphological Mapping: Methods and Applications”

Our book “Geomorphological Mapping: Methods and Applications” is now live on Science Direct for download. The first print copies should be arriving in the country next week. Enjoy!

Kindle 3.3 Firmware

The Kindle 3.3 Firmware has now landed…. not sure what happened to 3.2 unless it was internal and with the release of the new non-keyboard Kindle this has jumped to put them both at the same point I don’t know. Also worth noting that the “branding” is now “Kindle” and “Kindle Keyboard”: ostensibly the same hardware otherwise.

Featurewise there is nothing to write home about….. backing up to the Kindle account of your own documents as well as those from the Kindle store. All part of the cloud based service that the Kindle Fire (aka tablet) is aiming to tap in to. So it makes sense and shifts people in that direction. Not sure if anything else has changed…..

Font management

Font management seems to be one of those things you never get around to if you aren’t a designer (and possibly even if you are). Most people become fairly blinkered to using the standard set of fonts included with Windows and don’t think much beyond Arial, Garamond or Times Roman (or, heaven forbid, Comic Sans!). Yet there is a world of creativity lurking in fonts that can lift and ordinary design to extraordinary. Typography is an essential element of design and Robin Williams’ book is a wonderful entry point for those not party to right-brain creativity (with a very useful section on fonts).

Anyway…. font management. Long and short, is that you may end up with a collection of 1,500 fonts. If you install them all your system will crawl to the pace of ant running through maple syrup, besides the pain of actually trying to work out which ONE font you do actually want to use. Enter the world of font management of which the are a large number of tools available for Mac, Windows and Linux. They all work on a similar premise of viewing selections of fonts on-screen and allowing you to install/un-install them. Beyond that there are quite a few facilities for the serious high-end user. I currently use Nexus Font Manager which is (of course!) free to use. It allows viewing, install and uninstall of fonts, but also runs from a USB stick, grouping of fonts, once loaded all grouped fonts become available on the system (without needing to install them) and tagging of fonts (to allows searching). It’s a reasonably powerful program and is great for the occasional need.

Microsoft Office upgrade…..

I finally took the plunge and upgraded Microsoft Office. Having used Office97 for…. well the best part of 14 years its time to retire it. The single document interface causes some problems along with the lack of proper DOCX file compatability. Perhaps the nail in the coffin was the purchase of the rather used Acer C112 DLP pico projector. This comes with some slightly archaic software to convert PPT files to a series of animated JPGs for onboard playback…. it only works on later versions of Office.

So my brand new version of Office 2003 arrived in the post and is now freshly installed. Yup, Office 2003 is just fine. None of the crap of newer versions, has a multiple document interface and is just a bit more refined than Office97. See if I can make this last 14 years!

SSTL to build SAR

Interesting article by Jonathan Amos about the announcement of SSTL to build a SAR satellite (complete end-to-end at 50M euro). Quite a departure for them and sure to provide a lift to the market. Watch this space as they say.

Back to KAP

I spent a day with Paolo Paron (co-editor of our book on Geomorphological Mapping) kicking off a new kite aerial photography project. Paolo (who works at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft) is looking at monitoring morphological change at a beach in the Netherlands. KAP fits the bill so he is replicating the kit I have used for a variety of projects. Yesterday was a training day (with the UK basking in mid-summer weather!) which we spent running through the kites and ancillary equipment, then on to the rig design/setup, remote control and camera. We did three test flights just to see how it all worked. We were interested in vertical aerials, but inevitably got a few obliques (which are always more interesting to look at). Hope to have some more photography from the Netherlands in November.

Geomorphological Mapping: Methods and Applications

The edited book I have been working on is in the final throes of publication. Titled “Geomorphological Mapping: Methods and Applications” by Mike Smith, Paolo Paron and James Griffiths, its Volume 15 in Elsevier’s highly regarded Developments in Earth Surface Processes Series edited by Jack Shroder. Also available at Amazon.

Summary:
Geomorphological Mapping: a professional handbook of techniques and applications is a new book targeted at academics and practitioners who use, or wish to utilise, geomorphological mapping within their work. Synthesising for the first time an historical perspective to geomorphological mapping, field based and digital tools and techniques for mapping and an extensive array of case studies from academics and professionals active in the area. Those active in geomorphology, engineering geology, reinsurance, Environmental Impact Assessors, and allied areas, will find the text of immense value.