Friday, 30 March 2007

Windows Movie MakerHave been looking at a Windows alternative to GarageBand, not for creating music but as a tool to record podcasts with synchronised still images. Looks like Windows Movie Maker 2 (which is a free download - if you don't already have it - for Window XP and presumably Vista) can do a reasonable job of handling the syncing, but can only export to WMV and DV formats.

Jodix free iPod converterTo the rescue comes a free iPod converter application from Jodix. They also do a converter than can go from WMV (amongst others) to MP3, but that strips out the images.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Here's a good page about geotagging photos with location data for display in Flickr, Google Earth, etc.

"HOW TO GPS Tag Photos: Flickr, Mappr, Google Earth....
Here's the simple, non-techy way of tagging photos with the location of where you took them on planet Earth. There are lots of ways to do this, and I'll write about those later- but this is fun thing to do over the holiday weekend. As an added bonus, I'll show you how to see your photos on a cool Mapping application called Mappr, as well as Google Earth...

MAKE: Blog: HOW TO GPS Tag Photos: Flickr, Mappr, Google Earth....

Actually some of the links in the comments are pretty useful too. For example, the GPSTagr service can automatically tag images you have already uploaded to your account using a GPX track data file from your GPS device:

It doesn't put in any human-readable tags itself, though, so if you want to have 'geotagged' appear in the tag list for the images, apply that yourself when you upload your images. Shame the website's forum is full of SPAM as I'd like to thank the author.

Not sure how safe it is to give pages like this access to my Flickr account...

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Doug Kaye has produced a presentation on MP3 file formats for podcast use.

The Secret Lives of MP3 Files
Podcasters often stumble over the technical aspects of their product: the audio files. At the 2006 Podcast and Portable Media Expo, Doug Kaye, IT Conversation's original host and GigaVox CTO demystifies the geeky part of podcasting. Learn about the differences between lossless and lossy compression, find out which bit rates to use and why, understand that knowing the technicalities can make a better sounding podcast

The Podcast Academy: Doug Kaye

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Friday, 23 March 2007

BBC NEWS | Education | Learning drop-outs could be fined

Learning drop-outs could be fined
Teenagers who drop out of school at 16 and refuse any further education will face fines or prosecution under new plans to raise the leaving age. Education Secretary Alan Johnson said that by 2015, all youngsters in England would have to be in school or some form of training until their 18th birthday.

Typical bully-boy tactics of this Government - instead of threatening people, why don't they just raise the school leaving age to 18 instead of 16?

BBC NEWS | Education | Learning drop-outs could be fined

Sunday, 18 March 2007

"Comeback for 'non-offensive' pigs
Organisers of a children's concert have given the go-ahead for the three little pigs to appear, after they were banned over fears they might offend Muslims. Honley Junior School in West Yorkshire was to perform the Roald Dahl story of Little Red Riding Hood and the pigs - but was told to substitute puppies.

The committee organising the concert decided Muslim children may not want to sing about pigs. However, council Kirklees Council education spokesman Jim Dodds told BBC Five Live the decision had been overturned.

He said: 'There is something barmy going on here and it has happened on my watch. I can tell you now that the three little pigs will be back into the school musical festival. The decision (to ban the pigs) was made by well-meaning people - it was the wrong decision, so let's stick with the traditions.'

The decision to ban them was made by people who had left their common sense at the door.

Muslims all over the world must be be having a good laugh over stories like this.

BBC NEWS | Comeback for 'non-offensive' pigs
Daily Mail | Church school renames Three Little Pigs to avoid offending Muslims

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Friday, 16 March 2007

My agency is now listing the photos I took of the England vs Russia Womens' friendly game at MK Dons' stadium.
Blogger's recent switchover to Google/gmail logins has been a complete disaster for me. Why the hell couldn't they just leave things as they are? Now I can't log in under Firefox at all and the Blog This plugin has been rendered useless because the submit buttons aren't visible in the popup window - even if you resize it.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Mugabe tells critics to 'go hang'

"Mugabe tells critics to 'go hang'
Mr Mugabe said the violence had been started by the MDC
Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe has said Western critics of his rule can 'go hang', in response to accusations of mistreatment of opposition leaders.

I think he was probably speaking literally.

BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Mugabe tells critics to 'go hang'

Friday, 9 March 2007

On the spur of the moment, I covered England vs Russia Womens' international friendly footy last night. You'd have thought that with it being International Ladies Day (Thursday) the papers would have made a little effort to publish a photo from the game today, wouldn't you? Not a sniff.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Big crane
Originally uploaded by hockeyshooter.
...and if you're going to have a big crane, you might as well have an absolute monster! The crane they are using to put this one together is probably as big as has even been on campus. More shots on my Flikr account.

I guess if you're going to have a big lens, you might as well have a really big lens:

"The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of the new APO 200-500mm F2.8 EX DG Ultra-Telephoto zoom lens."

SigmaUser - Sigma announce new Mega lens!

There's no mention of this lens on the Sigma USA website yet, so either this article is a scoop - or a fake.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

"Retailers offer car repair refund
Supermarkets have promised to pay for repairs to cars damaged by a batch of faulty petrol sold in stores across parts of the South East of England. Tesco and Morrisons have asked drivers who suffered problems after buying affected petrol to contact them.

BBC NEWS | UK | Retailers offer car repair refund

Tesco (in particular) realising that to publically refuse liability would harm their image even more have seen the light and are actually encouraging claims against them. So suddendly Tesco are all soft and fluffy - until you read this article, published the same day as their expensive full-page ads in the national press:

"Alcohol seized in Tesco fuel row
Bailiffs impounded alcohol worth £60,000 from a Tesco store after the retailer failed to pay damages to a man in a row over contaminated fuel. The supermarket had failed to pay damages to David Bond, from Swindon, who filled his van with diesel which was contaminated with water in 2003. Tesco could face having the goods sold off at auction after ignoring a High Court order to pay Mr Bond £2,690.

BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire | Alcohol seized in Tesco fuel row

Not so soft and fluffy after all, eh?
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Saturday, 3 March 2007

"Rogue fuel traced to depot tanks
The supplier of unleaded petrol blamed for causing thousands of cars to break down says it has traced the source of the contamination to a depot in Essex. Harvest Energy said 'unusually high levels of silicon' were found in four storage tanks at the Vopak site. It had not been detected before sale at retailers including supermarkets Tesco and Morrisons because routine tests did not look for the substance.

One industry group said the incident could force prices up by 2p a litre.

Oh, right, so we're (drivers) going to have to pay for this. Surprise, surprise. I guess that's par-for-the-course for rip-off Britain. I wonder how much profit these companies returned in the last year...?

BBC NEWS | UK | Rogue fuel traced to depot tanks
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Friday, 2 March 2007

The UK fuel fiasco continues, but at least it looks as though they are closing in on the culprit. But just look at how Tesco have changed their tune in just three days. On Wednesday, we had:

"Jonathan Church, Tesco's media director, said the company was testing fuel from a terminal in Essex. 'We've tested and re-tested including from some of the vehicles that have had reported problems and we actually can't find an issue. So at this stage we can't trace the problem back to Tesco fuel. That said, obviously we're continuing to work with our supplier to see if we can find a problem and if there is one we'll let customers know.'"
BBC NEWS | UK | Inquiry into 'contaminated' fuel

And today, we have:

"Tesco is to empty its unleaded petrol tanks at 150 outlets in the South East, but will refill them with new stocks and continue selling the fuel. Tesco's own tests found 'significant silicon contamination' in its fuel."
BBC NEWS | UK | Firms curb supplies in fuel scare

A bit of a change of tune, don't you think...?

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"Church condemns 'humiliation TV'
TV shows like Big Brother and Little Britain can "exploit the humiliation of human beings for public entertainment", the Church of England has warned. The Church's General Synod, meeting in London, voted unanimously to express concerns over TV standards.

I don't know about "can" exploit - they do exploit - that's the whole point of Big Brother. The programme producers deliberately pick people who are going to piss each other off, get in a strop and therefore create "good" television. But the CofE do need to realise the difference between Big Brother and Little Britain - they're hardly the same thing.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Church condemns 'humiliation TV'

BBC NEWS | Business | Falling into the Vista trap

"Falling into the Vista trap
Microsoft promises to wow people who are upgrading from Windows XP to its new operating system, but with the joys of Windows Vista comes plenty of pain.

Read this if you are foolish enough to be considering an upgrade to Vista. Personally - I wouldn't give it house room.

BBC NEWS | Business | Falling into the Vista trap

Thursday, 1 March 2007

"Oil prices slide to six-month low
Oil prices have fallen to a six-month low of less than $61 a barrel as healthy US fuel stockpiles and reduced tension over Iran have calmed markets. The price of a barrel of US light, sweet crude fell $1.20 to $60.46, its lowest level since 21 March, while Brent crude dipped to $60.47 in London. Prices have fallen $17 since July, when the Israel-Hezbollah conflict sent shockwaves through oil markets.

I guess that explains why my preferred petrol station has raised their prices three times in the last week.

BBC NEWS | Business | Oil prices slide to six-month low
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