Saturday, 31 May 2008

photoOur webCEF project meeting went very well in Helsinki, Finland. Weather was wonderful. Shame I hate flying so much!

Shifting The Paradigm Gears

The Luminous Landscape seems to think that its inevitable that still and video cameras will merge. There are already a number of cameras that can shoot very high quality images at very high frame rates - up to 100fps. But I have to wonder if there really is a need for such high resolution. Unless you're going to be blowing your images up to beyond A3, you simply don't need more than around 8Mpixels. I think its another advance driven by the manufacturers rather than the market.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A broke leg at the football finals on Sunday resulted in an encounter with the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance - an Augusta A109, for the anoraks out there.

The ability to zoom the image in this post proves that its possible to use external JavaScript with blogger. Just remember that if your blog is popular, you will get a lot of hits on the hosting where your JavaScript (and in this case, image) are coming from.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Sadly the OU Vets were beaten by Kingfisher Titans in their cup final this afternoon. But overall they did have a very good season, finishing second in their league.

OU Reserves today beat Impressions 2-1 to win the Knockout Cup final, making it a double as they also won Division 2 of the MKSL.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Got confused by the track files that the ATP Photofinder produces. The KML files that it can export (on request) to the camera's SD card do not contain date/timestamps, so cannot be used to manually geotag your images using other software (should you want to do that). Instead, you have to connect the device itself via its USB-2 port to your computer - you then get access to Magellen .log format files that contain all the GPS data - which you can then convert to GPX format (or whatever) using utilities like GPS Utility.
More on the ATP Photofinder:
We bought ours from for about £80, together with a card reader which you need if you want to tag images on Compact Flash cards. The USB socket on the ATP reader is mini-USB2, so you need to use the included dongle in order to connect most USB card readers.

The ATP does the job, but there are shortcomings:

1. the battery life can be pretty dire. I managed to record about an hour's track with a pair of new alkaline AAAs from Superdrug, but there wasn't enough juice when I got back to geotag the files. I thoroughly recommend the use of top-brand batteries, like Duracell, or get yourself some high capacity NiMHs from the likes of

2. the display is extremely difficult to see. In order to save power, the backlight goes off about about five seconds. If you've taken a lot of photos, the geotagging process can take a long time and without the display on, you have no idea that its still working.

3. time for GPS acquisition from cold is very long - you have to wait a good five minutes before the device will start logging your position.

4. the KML track files that the device creates are not correctly date-stamped. Given the device has such a large storage capacity, you can end up with a lot of track files in the device (which you can then copy to your SD card), but they are all datestamped 1st Jan 2007.

I think the GPS accuracy issue is common to all small, portable GPS devices - they've never going to work that well in built-up environments since the receivers all require a clear view of the sky to operate properly.

So, although it might be a clever product, I'm afraid the "user experience" leaves a bit to be desired.

Here's a gallery of photos I geotagged using the ATP Photofinder. Picasa does a much better job of handling geotagged photos than Flickr, helped by the use of Google Maps, of course.

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Wednesday, 14 May 2008

This clever little device performs two functions. Firstly it records a track of GPS locations, saved every 5 seconds to a KML-format file.

Secondly, and much more clever, is that you can take an SD card from a digital camera, and it will geotag (correctly, in the EXIF header) with the location the photo was taken at the time it was taken.

Like the little Garmin units, it runs off two AAA batteries with an expected life of about 8 hours. Takes quite a while to acquire the GPS signal.

Its quite well built, feels robust, the SD slot and mini-USB2 slot are behind a little rubber flap and the battery cover is a tight fit. Controls are minimal (just three buttons) and there is a tiny LCD display - but this is extremely difficult to read in bright light.

Overall, its an excellent idea and very useful for doing site surveys and the like.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


"Workers accused of theft or damage could soon find themselves blacklisted on a register to be shared among employers. It will be good for profits but campaigners say innocent people could find it impossible to get another job."

How can this be legal? Blacklisted even if an accusation is never proved? This must rate as one of the most serious abuses of civil liberties I've ever read about. Get yourself on this list and you might never work again.

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Bust-up with the boss?

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Mirror Blog

Have installed the Facebook application Mirror Blog to see if/how it can share postings between my Facebook account and my Blogger blog. I tend to post stuff to Facebook more than my blog these days, which is why my Blogger postings have gotten a bit thin on the ground.