Ipod only last 30min? Replace your own battery.

johnWeeGo.jpgMy gen3 Ipod has served me well on many a long plane trip across the world or within Australia but after several years the battery has lost it lifespan. I had simply assumed it would spend the rest of it life in its dock until I came across this do-it-yourself battery placement kit at Jaycar.

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The instructions were clear, read step 1 before step 2 . I almost stuffed up but laying on it back it is actually quite easy to pop open an ipod. For AU$30 my ipod has new life and is ready for our trip to Thailand.

New lens for the trip…

BronwenWeeGo.jpgOk..couldn’t help myself…we did a dash to the Gold Coast to grab me a new 70-200 f4L IS lens for the trip.

It’s really light and really sharp.  Took a quick snap of the dog at ISO800 and still very sharp.  If you look really close you can see me in his eyeball

Dust on lens sensor – the dilemma

BronwenWeeGo.jpgWe just came back from a weekend in Canberra where i took the opportunity to take some pics in the little spare time we had.  As the Sunday was very grey it showed up lots of “spots” in the some of the pics.  Assumming we’d gotten fluff on the lens I gave them a good clean and then took a few test shots to discover the spots were on my sensor!!!!

So we opened up the camera used the “puffer” and gave it a good blow and wiped the visible dust with a cotton bug (yes I know it’s not recommended). So took a few more test shots at F22 only to discover still had quite a few spots

spots.jpg

So my dilemma is..We leave for Thailand on Friday.  Do i leave the spots as they are since they’re pretty small and not really obvious except when you know they’re there.  Or..do I take the camera to Canon and get them to give it a clean and hope they give it back to me before we leave. 

So what did i decide?  For those who know me will know i’m not the “luckiest” person..so was pretty much betting on Canon ending up with my camera for 3 weeks and if i try to fix it myself I’m likely to make it worse.  So now that there’s only a few spots I took a few shots at f5.6, f8 which are the apetures i use more often.  At this apeture you really don’t see the marks so I’ve decided to live with it till we get back and just be mindfull of taking landscapes at anything about f13 with very plain backgrounds.  Again, if it’s grean and leafy/varied you don’t see it.

spots2.jpg

So hopefully it won’t ruin too many of my photos.  In a conscious effort to reduce the weight of my camera bag which at the moment is heavier than my clothes, I’ve decided to leave my external flash, it’s batteries and battery charger at home.  Heaps more space now 🙂  Now to resist the tempation to buy a new lens..I’ve been eyeing off the 70-200 IS USL L F4…it’ll fit really well now the flash is gone 🙂

2 weeks in Thailand

BronwenWeeGo.jpgjohnWeeGo.jpg For anyone who cares…we’re off to Thailand for 2 weeks on Friday.  When and if we get to and internet cafe or two we’ll be posting our adventrues here…so stay tuned.

Our itinery is posted earlier here.  If you’re only interested in the holiday then best to just read this feed rather than the feed for the whole blog.

Recording demo videos with Windows Media Encoder

BronwenWeeGo.jpgIn preparation for our recent presentation on Virtual Earth I made a few “backup videos” of the demos we were going to show.  We’ve tried a few different screen capture tools before and most of them seemed to kill your pc so made the video pretty useles.

The 2 I experimented with and found pretty reasonable were:

  • Wink – It’s free and simple to use.  It can create PDF’s or output the result to flash.
  • Windows Media Encoder – It’s free and simple to use.  It outputs (funnily enough) Windows Media files so good for upload to things like YouTube, SoapBox etc.

After playing with them a bit I ended up useing Windows Media Encoder.  You can capture whole screen, specific window, or an area of the screen.  You then pretty much hit play and stop.  It flashes a red border around the area you’re capturing just to remind you and so you know it’s recording.  It was super easy to use and didn’t hog my computer resources. Afterwards you can use something like Movie Maker to add commentary, edit it etc.

Virtual Earth for Scalable Applications presentation – complete!

BronwenWeeGo.jpgjohnWeeGo.jpgWe did our presentation of Virtual Earth for Scalable Applications last night.  John spoke tirelessly for 1.5 hours and we only had a few minor glitches and even had an internet connection so we didn’t need the “backup video demos” we’d made just in case.

For anyone who missed the presentation of for those who attended and wanted to see the slides, code or demo again we have put all the content into an article here.

For those who attended, we’d appreciate any feedback (good, bad, indifferent) so we can refine this talk and know what to concentrate on for next time.

Age of User Experience Brisbane Session Feedback

BronwenWeeGo.jpgWe just got back from Age of User Experience Brisbane session.  It was great to see an event in Brisbane.  Overall, I found the session disappointing..felt like it hadn’t been properly prepared and parts of it seemed like it hadn’t been run through at all before.  Maybe some of the presenters were nervous or hadn’t had a good chance to go through what they wanted get across.

I was really interested in the Expression Web and Expression Blend sessions.  I totally missed most of the points being made in the Web session as it jumped all over the place…but it seemed like they’ve improved a lot of the CSS, HTML integration in Visual Studio to make it a bit easier if you prefer to drag and drop etc.

Expression Blend session was good and it looks like it has some very cool features and will be very useful etc. but a few important features are lacking atm (IMHO):

  • No integration with VSS / or TFS checkin policies – So you’d have to get a dev to check out files for you, or have access to directly checkin/out from VSS or also use Visual Studio.  Would work ok if you’re using a source control system like SVN but a bit disappointing from a Microsoft product.
  • No easy way to veryify /  help along the UAT stage.  There doesn’t seem a good way to tell if what the designer/UI designer originally designed actually ended up in the solution.  There’s now a “common language” so makes it easier for the “two sides” to communicate but seems to be still a case of manually checking every screen and user flow. 
  • Changes from Blend etc. can “accidentally” remove develops work.  So the designer person doesn’t like a button so they delete it and add a new one that does something slightly different….Doesn’t tell them that the dev team already went and implemented a lot of functionality.  So it would appear you could easily be left with a whole pile of dead code.

So to me it appears there that for now at least there will still be some sort of intermediate step when changes have to be made to existing forms etc. where the developer will still have to “gate-keep” changes to the ui – check / out, make sure no functionality is lost etc before checking in again.

If we worked as hard as we played…

BronwenWeeGo.jpgJust sitting here looking at my injuries from my “fun” activities for the week…and realised how we simply accept them and think no more of it.  If i got the same injuries at work…would I be so forgiving…don’t think so…

I played soccer and got my toes stomped on with studs at least 2ce in that game.  It hurt, I expressed my pain and went on playing and now look at the big black bruise on my toe and think “that’s why it hurt so much”.  Now if I was at work and a co-worker stepped on my toe in a stilleto shoe, there’s no way they’d be just walking off and me say…”ouch” and go back to work.

When I played volleyball this week I ended up getting a very nice egg on my head from being below a team-mate up at the net blocking, then coming down and smashing their elbow into my head, and apparantly kneeing me and stomping my foot.  I don’t remember the other bits…was too busy trying not to pass out.  After that I was seeing green dots and it’s been painful brushing my hair where the lump is.  After the injury i went into the hall to get some fresh air for about 5 mins and went back and played another couple of sets.  Now if I was at work, and a co-worker lifted something off the shelf and somehow managed to whack me that hard in the head with their elbow…I’m pretty sure I’d be going home to rest for the afternoon.

I’m sure in some environments any injury like that would involve workplace health and safety, doctor’s certificates and probably compo.  Funny how we just accept it when it’s for “fun” hey?

Thailand Itinery

BronwenWeeGo.jpgTrip To Thailand – Plans for far

Date

Details

27 April

Flight: Thai Airways TG984

Depart Brisbane  15:20

Arrive Bangkok 21:40

 

Hotel: Trang Hotel Bangkok

99/1 Wisutkasart Road Bangkok 10200

+66 228114023

28 April

Walking Tour pg 116

Wat Phra Kaew & Grand Palace 250B 8:30-3:30

Wat Pho 20B 8-6

 

Train to Ayutthaya – Northern Line 6, 7:20, 7:35, 7:50pm

 

Bus to Ayutthaya

Victory Monument minivan to Ayutthaya (goes every 30 minutes)(60 baht + luggage, about 1 hour). You then take a tuk tuk from the last stop to the Kraal (about 80 baht).

 

Hotel: Ayothaya Hotel Ayuthaya

12 Moo 4 Tessabarn Sai 2 Road

Rambon Horrattanachai

Amur Pranakron Sri Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya 13000

+66 35 232855

29 April

9:30 – 5pm

 

Elephant Stay www.elephantstay.com

17,100B

34. Elephant Kraal.

30 April

Elephant Stay

1 May

Elephant Stay

 

Hotel: U-Thong Inn Executive Hotel & Conference Centre

210 Rojana Rd. Ayuthaya 13000, Thailand

2 May

Ayuthaya Historic Park.

 

Bus/train to Bangkok

 

Hotel: Howard Square Boutique Hotel Bangkok

3641/10 North-South Sathon Road

(Chareonraj Road) Bangklo bangkoleam

Bangkok 10120

+66 2291 5623

3 May

China town markets / wander around

 

Flight: Thai Airways TH641

Depart Bangkok 17:15

Arrive Chiang Mai 18:25

 

Hotel: Imperial Mae Ping

153 Sridonchai Road, Changklan District, Amphur Muang, Chiangmai 50100 Thailand

4 May

9:30 – 4:00 – Smart Cook Cooking Class – Paid in Full

 

Hotel: Imperial Mae Ping

5 May

7am – Trek

Balance 8590B

6 May

Trek

7 May

Trek

 

Hotel: BP Chiang Mai City Hotel

8 May

8:30-12:30 Home Industrial ,Borsang Umbrella Village Tour CMH1

CMG-Travel ( Chiang Mai Guideline Travel )

53 M.6 Baan Mea A.Sanpathong, Chiang Mai 50120

Tel & Fax: +66 5380 8361

Mobile: +668 1885 9949,+668 6670 2721 +668 1031 2023

Email: info@Chiangmai-guideline.com

600 B

 

Wat Suan Dock Temple – dusk

Wat Chedi Luang – night

 

Hotel: BP Chiang Mai City Hotel

9 May

Wat Phra Sing Temple –  morning

 

Wiang Kum Kan

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – outta town?

 

Hotel: BP Chiang Mai City Hotel

10 May

Flight: Thai Airways TG983

Depart Chiang Mai 10:15

Arrive Bangkok: 11:25

 

Wat Arun 8:30 – 5:30 20B

 

Hotel: Indra Regent

120/126 Rajaparob Road

Bangkok 10400

11 May

Bus to Kanchanaburi

 

From Bangkok to Kanchanaburi province :

take a bus to Kanchanaburi from the Southern Bus Terminal. 100 Baht.

From Kanchanburi bus station take the bus number 8203 for Sai Yok and ask the driver to stop at the temple. 25 Baht; from the bus stop at the temple follow the dirt road (1.5) km all the way to the front gate. The walk takes about 30-40 minutes.

 

Visit Tigers

 

Hotel: River Kwai Hotel

 

12 May

Bridge Over River Kwai

 

Bus to Bangkok

 

 

Flight: Thai Airways TG983

Depart Bangkok 23:40

Arrive Brisbane: 11:25

Like a kid waiting for Xmas…

BronwenWeeGo.jpgI signed up for Cluster Maps the other day and put it on our blog page.  Ever since I seem to find myself checking on the progress of the little dots each day, to see if they’ve changed and grown.

www_soulsolutions_com_au--world.jpg

 I think it’s pretty cool and such a simple idea.  Only problem is it makes me feel like a kid waiting for Xmas.  So anyone else checking their new site, blog etc. to see how it’s growing or am I just weird?

Virtual Earth Version 5 – first look at Download Performance

johnWeeGo.jpgWith Version 5 of Virtual Earth unoffically released as part of the upgrade of maps.live.com I have had a quick look at the performance and it is great news! Compression has been enabled for not only V5 but also V4 seeing that download 1/4 in size! Version 4 just went from 447KB to 106KB while V5 at 581KB will never be an issue as it is compressed to 139KB.

But that is just the start of it, by disabling the download of the ring of tiles not visible to users we see less images tiles downloaded on startup, less KB and more importantly the visible tiles loading first.

Have a look at this comparsion on a simple 400x400px map on Aerial mode with some detailed tiles:

First up is V4:

v4perf.jpg

Now V5:

v5perf.jpg

Notice the difference? 9 tiles compared to 25! and a saving of 430KB!

At this point the keen eye will pick up on something else, where are all the little images for the dashboard? Well check this good idea out:

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I haven’t heard anything about this but it appears that the smart people at Virtual Earth are using a single image, to be cached by your browser, and used in multiple places.

The final scores are:

V4 pre Today: 1155KB (est)
V4: 814KB
V5: 415KB

As a VE developer I press crtl F5 (gets all new files) about 50 times a day (or more if I am working in CSS pixel pushing hell) So i could personally see a saving of 1GB over a month!

 

Local Live and Virtual Earth Updated! 3D in Firefox!

johnWeeGo.jpgToday the VE team released an update to Virtual Earth and have converted http://maps.live.com to the new version. Of particular interest is the support of 3D in Firefox, until now it was IE only.

FF3D.jpg

On the VE side the new features of V5 announced on Monday at the VE seminar were:

  • FireFox 2 support for all modes including 3D (Safari support for 2D only is planned for around May)
  • New shapes object that will have polygons, polylines and pushpins to make things more generic. (breaking change)
  • Download performance improvements. The javascript file is compressed (around 120KB is the guess from close to 500KB). The tile overfetching is disabled by default, this technique made the client download an entire ring of non visable tiles, now the user only downloads what is needed (visible and partially visable tiles) saving in some cases 400KB+ (detailed cities in hybrid mode).
  • All mouse and keyboard events can be captured
  • Birdseye continous panning and minimap as per maps.live.com

    John.