Archive for January, 2007

Jan 31 2007

Recycling In Guernsey

Published by under Guernsey News

Since the recent update to Google Earths images of Guernsey I have started creating extra layers. The first of these to be released is recycling points in Guernsey. I’m not certain the recycling points are up to date but it is the best that I have been able to find so far. It currently only covers paper, steel cans, aluminium, glass and textiles but as I get better information I should be able to extend the layer with other materials.

Other layers that I have got in the works include Monoliths/ancient monuments, fortress Guernsey (German, martello towers and other fortifications) and churches (it started as churches with ringable bells).

Just to make sure there is no confusion I thought I’d clarify the license for the recycling kmz file. I have released it under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license. This means that you can download, modify and re-distribute the file for free. So long as you indicate where you got the original from (here!) and that you’re not doing it on a commercial basis. If you do want to use it in a commercial product please contact me and I’ll arrange a dual license.

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Jan 23 2007

Guernsey Gets Face Lift In Google Earth

Published by under General,Guernsey News

I loaded up Google Earth this morning to take a look at where Christchurch Priory is and, as usual, first took a look at Guernsey to confirm that Google still hadn’t updated the imagery for this area. To my complete astonishment Google has updated the images of Guernsey.

Although the images aren’t at a terribly good resolution, at least it is possible to see just about the whole island, rather that it being covered in cloud or cloud shadow. Unfortunately none of the roads are marked, and some of the parish/area names are in the wrong places.

After months of waiting for either Google or Digimap to supply clean images (Google won this race) I can finally start creating all the layers I have been planning.

Open mapping, it seems, is coming to Guernsey

4 responses so far

Jan 18 2007

Cunning Coffee Maker Plan

Published by under General

Last year, just before I moved away from home, my parents neighbour also moved house.  Knowing that I was going to be moving out he very kindly gave me his old coffee machine (newer version).  I say old, it was only a year old and had only been used twice!

Unfortunately it didn’t come with any instructions so I have had to figure out how to use it as I went along.  One of the things I had to figure out is the milk steamer.  To date, when making a cappuccino or latte I have always steamed the coffee in a separate cup or jug.  When I’m going it, this usually results in either the coffee or the milk sitting on the side whilst I sort out the other.  Either that or I sort out the milk whilst the coffee is being made and the cup gets over-filled.

And so here comes the cunning plan.  If I first steam the milk in the cup, then make the coffee into the cup this will 1. Keep the milk warm (as hot coffee will be mixing with it), 2. Not over fill the cup with coffee (I’ve already got the correct amount of milk in the cup), 3. Prevent the coffee cooling down (as the milk is already in the cup.

How cunning is that!

9 responses so far

Jan 18 2007

Too… Much…. Culture!

Published by under Activities,General,Night Life

Well, thats what a certain person close to me thinks I think.  Last Saturday I went to a piano receital at the Guernsey Ladies College.  It was the inaugural concert on the schools new grand piano, and the performing artist was Olga Bobrovnikova who really is a master pianist, especially when you consider she also suffers from MS.  Piano receitals really aren’t my normal cup of tea but it was good and got me thinking that I really should get out and experience more culture on this island.

My second taste of culture this week was going to see Oddsocks performing Shakespears Twelth Night.  I have been to see the Oddsocks company performing at Castle Cornet in the past but this was the first time I have seen them inside, at St James.  Whilst it was a very good performance with their usual apparent improvisation, and had me laughing most of the way through, I felt that they were maybe sticking too closely to the original text and at times this seemed to immede on the performance.  At other times however it seemed to aid the performance, so I guess it is down to the director to try and find a balance that is both in keeping with the companies style whilst also retaining as much of the original text as possible…. something that films makers don’t seem too concerned with!

Unless something else crops up in the mean time, my next taste of culture (if you can call it that) will be watching An Inconvenient Truth, which is going to be screened for free at Beau Sejour on the 6th February.

2 responses so far

Jan 14 2007

Getting A MacBook Pro

Published by under General

I Got A MacBook Pro

Hmm… I wonder what I could be trying to say?

2 responses so far

Jan 12 2007

The Cycle of Synchronisation

Published by under General

My sister recently bought herself a new phone, a Samsung X830, and, as with all thing techie, I said I’d help her and transfer her contacts from her old phone, a Nokia 5210, onto the new phone.  Normally I’d advise people to transfer all the contacts from the old phone onto the SIM card and then, on the new phone, from the SIM into the phone.  However, she has slightly more than the SIM limit of 100 contacts.

Enter the PC and a rather long winded synchronisation process.  I don’t have a Nokia data cable to connect the Nokia to the PC but I do have an IrDA adaptor (the 5210 doesn’t do Bluetooth) so I was able to copy the contacts off the phone with Nokia Logo Manager (NLM).  Because NLM doesn’t work with with the Samsung I had to export the contacts to a CSV file.   I then had to clean up the CSV file using Editplus because NLM appends a “:” to all the phone numbers it exported, which I guessed the Samsung wouldn’t like, I also cleared out loads of other rubbish – I love regular expressions.

Next I tried using the Samsung PC Suite to import the CSV file but it didn’t like that for some reason.  In the end I had to use the Windows Address Book (after exporting and deleting all my contacts) to import the CSV and then export a .wab file.  I could then use the PC Suite to import the .wab file and transfer the contacts to the Samsung X830 via Bluetooth.

Simple!  Now I’ve just got to get her MobiBLU cube setup with some music.  She’s only had it for a year now.

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Jan 12 2007

A Car For Me

Published by under General

My First Car FrontLast night I finally took ownership of a car.  This is the first car I have owned since getting my driving license in 1998 and is quite exciting.  I’ve been vaguely looking for a car since about September and was mostly looking at the Smart car, waiting for one to come up at a good price… until I spotted the MX-5.

I know, everyone has said they’re hairdressers cars, but I don’t care!  It’s my hairdressers car!  It is a 1998 Mazda MX-5 1.8s (140bhp).  When I first spotted the car I didn’t expect to buy it, as I thought the insurance would be sky-high.  However, HSBC pulled through and came back with a quote in the £550 region, well below the lowest local quote of £760!!!

My First Car BackOne thing I need to learn about this car is to not be too heavy with the accelerator.  I’m finding it far to easy to spin the wheels and drift it around corners, and I really don’t want to loose my no-claims discount before I have any!

First impressions are that it’s a fun car to drive and, although it’s only 140bhp, it’s got some go – probably because it’s a fairly light 2-seater.  It may not have a terribly good top end (125mph) but on Guernsey that doesn’t really matter.  Now I just need to get my iPod loaded with the sound track to The Fast And The Furious – Tokyo Drift,  as the car doesn’t have a CD player, and learn to drift it properly and with style!

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Jan 10 2007

Guernsey Press Online Reader

I found out today that the Guernsey Press is testing an online edition of the newspaper.  I don’t mean a new version of, but an online reader for the actual print paper.  Whilst this, at first glance, seems to be a move in the right direction they really need to look at the way they’re doing it.

Firstly, it seems that it will only be available to Internet Explorer users.  I presume they’re going to be using some proprietory ActiveX control for viewing the paper. This is a really bad move if you ask me, whilst IE 7 is an improvement in past version it still falls short of the mark and many people prefer alternative browsers (Firefox, Opera, Safari, Konquerer).

Secondly, it seems that they’re planning on charging £10/month for the service.  Which, if you exclude Sundays, works out at about 36p per day.  This is only 4p less than the physical paper costs.  Quite how they can justify this price when they don’t have to cover the costs of the physical paper (raw materials, distribution, machinery, etc.) is beyond me. 

Thirdly, it isn’t very well written.  On the login page, every time a key is press, when the password box has focus, a javascript funtion is called to see if the enter button is pressed.  This is totally redundant as any half decent browser will provide this functionality for free.  If that is how the login page is written I dread to think what the rest of the site is like.  I have another reason for concern about the programming of the site but I need to contact the developers before I make it public.

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Jan 08 2007

Editing Videos For YouTube

Published by under General

For about three hours last night I was messing about with Sony Vegas Video and VirtualDub trying to get a video, that I recorded with my now fixed IXUS500.  All I wanted to do was rotate a 2Mb AVI file 90 degrees to the left.

Firstly, Vegas Video didn’t want to know anything about the video.  VirtualDub opened the video and I was able to rotate it but I couldn’t get it to save the results for less than 160Mb.

After saving the rotated video in VirtualDub I was able to open it in Vegas Video and finally managed to save it as a 7Mb AVI file which, to me, still seems rather large given the 2Mb original file, at least I was able to upload to YouTube.

This morning, on the spur of the moment, I checked what YouTube help had to say about editing and uploading videos.  Their first tip was about editing software, on Macs use iMovie and on Windows use Windows Movie Maker.  Windows Movie Maker?  Indeed, it comes free with Windows and, as I confirmed for myself in 30 seconds, can easily rotate videos and save them as small WMV files, which YouTube will happily accept.

Now, why didn’t I think of that earlier?

6 responses so far

Jan 07 2007

IXUS500 Shooting Mode Repair

Published by under Photography,Technology

Back cover screw locationsI recent wanted to use my Canon Ixus500 to shoot a video of a Lego Mindstorm NXT robot I built.  When I came to use the camera, however, I couldn’t get the camera to go into video mode, or panoramic or manual mode.  It seemed to be stuck in idiot mode.

The camera is about four years old now, so is well out of warranty.  What do you do with an out of warranty broken camera?  Take it appart and hack about until it works again.   I noticed that it was possible to get the camera to go into video mode by turning the shooting mode switch to video and pressing the button, so that gave me a starting place for my investigation.

The camera screwsThe back was fairly easy to take off as it was only held on by six screws.  If you going to try this make sure you remember where you remove the screws from as they different sizes and putting them back in the wrong place probably wont work out to well.  I’ve included a picture of the screws laid out as they are located on the camera.

Troublesome contact partsOnce the back of the camera is removed I quickly located the problem.  One the back of the shooting mode dial are some little pieces of metal that make a contact with the circuit inside the camera.  After four years of use they have been pushed away from the circuit.  All I had to do was very carefully bend them back in towards the body of the camera so they make a good contant with the circuit,

I put the camera back together and amazingly (for me) it now works perfectly.  Unfortunatly there is now no need for me to get a new camera other than because I want one.  Now, how much was that EOS 20D on eBay?

3 responses so far

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