Pure highway in car DAB radio – time to play with my prize!

What better thing to be done on a day off than play with the Pure Highway DAB radio that I won. So on a sunny afternoon I took the box into the car and unpacked it like a 6 year old unpacking toys on Christmas day.

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So here it is in the box, in the car. Ever get the feeling you’re taking too many photos of things not very interesting? Yeah, we’ll move on then.

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The way it connects to the windscreen holder is clever. It’s a magnet on the holder side. Though quite secure only one thing worries me – putting the holder in my rucksack near my laptop. Hard disks don’t like magnets very much and even though the radio itself is obviously OK I really will have to be careful. I guess the trick is to put the holder under the car seat and only take the laptop and radio with me from the car. I’m sure leaving the holder on the windscreen is just asking to have a window broken in some areas of the country.

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The next challenge is where to put it. First i thought to the right side of the steering wheel but it seemed a little big there.

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Then I thought in the middle which happens to be where my GPS phone lives. It’s OK there but I thought I might be able to find a better position. Both of these positions mean that I’d have to remove the radio every time I left the car in a public place – perhaps there’s a position where I could leave it permanently yet out of site and within easy reach?

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How about the roof? I could live without the sunglasses holder and maybe find an extra long power lead….

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Still not happy, maybe I could stick it to the dashboard above the parrot car kit display? Not there either, it would cover the air vents. OK, time to give up for now. Might as well check it works before I decide where to stick it.

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So, my car has an ‘Aux’ connection in the glove box that looked great when I spotted it but doesn’t actually work very well. I’ve tried connecting a 3.5mm Audio lead to it before from my phone and an iPod. It works sometimes, then sometimes gives audio to one speaker only, then sometimes cuts out completely. The 3.5mm plug fits but perhaps it’s a different size. I did try it again though and the DAB radio played through on the left channel only. So, the DAB works, time to see if the FM transmitter within it will do the job. On the plus side that means only two wires will need to be connected in use – the Aerial and the Power.

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The DAB radio may have been already set to use 107.9 as a broadcast channel. I tuned in and it worked first time. The only catch I found was when I turned it off to find 107.9 is the frequency for KMFM, a local station. The car radio quite happily reported PURE DAB as the station though and sound was crystal clear.

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So, back to the challenge of where to put the unit in the car. Maybe I could fix it above the rear view mirror?

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In the end I decided to mount it in the middle of the windscreen. I fixed the aerial to the left side of the windscreen. The instruction book said about 5 cm away from the side of the windscreen so I followed that advice. Usefully the box contained 5 sticky back cable holders so I fixed those to the windscreen to keep the cable under control. The one thing that I didn’t think so clever was the suggestion that the aerial be hooked to the windscreen mount. The windscreen mount will need to be removed when the car is left in public (at least, in some of the places I go the presence of a holder could be too tempting to a passing opportunist criminal) so that would mean hooking and unhooking the wire every time.

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Amongst the instructions was the very useful warning “Do not operate the unit while driving”. Perhaps that was also in the car radio’s instructions. I’m sure they mean – “don’t fiddle with it while driving, set it up then leave it alone and concentrate on the road”. However, the instruction do mention the need to retune the FM broadcast frequency from time to time on long journeys should there be interference from a local station so I can’t see how you could avoid fiddling with it.

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Finally it’s time to put it to use. I was going to Medway in the evening which is about a 30 minute drive. Radio station wise, I started with birdsong just for fun. It’s a station purely of birdsong, a little heavy on the cuckoo’s perhaps, but probably OK as background sounds. I quickly moved onto Radio 7 and Radio 6, purely because I can’t get them on FM. I settled on Radio 2 which is a bit of shame as I that I could do that using the FM band. At a couple of points on the journey I had to switch to another FM broadcast channel from the DAB unit to avoid interference, although technically I was probably interfering with their broadcast! I wonder how far the unit broadcasts? Maybe any cars passing me had their listening pleasure interupted with my choice of station.

I did find the unit wobbled a lot with the cars normal vibrations. The magnet held it on fine but the holder for my GPS phone is rock solid in comparison. Still, if I’m not meant to be operating it whilst driving I guess it doesn’t matter if it wobbles.

The unit has another plus too in that you can put batteries in it and use it as a portable DAB radio. Perhaps it doesn’t need the aerial when it’s outside the car but our home DAB alarm clock get’s nowhere near as many stations as this one does.

I guess the ultimate question is “If I didn’t win it, and I had the money and the desire to have more radio channel options in the car on long journeys, would I buy it?”. I’ve just looked at the alternatives because I hate the clutter of more things on the dashboard. I already hate to have the GPS phone mount and wires trailing to it. The alternative is to get a replacement for the car radio but to have DAB they seem to be in the order of 130 upwards, whereas Amazon are selling the Pure Highway DAB for 55 at the moment. The other thing I read is that a built in unit will need a new car aerial so it’s not something I’d make the effort to fit – so more expense and more parts to buy. I don’t have the worry about buying one then changing car in a couple of years though, we buy cars and keep them for a long time. So, if DAB radio was really important to me I’d buy a built in unit. However, it’s not. For the occasional long journey 55 is better value for money. So, if I didn’t win it and I had the money, yes, I’d buy it.

I'm still scared of speaking in public

It must be around 4 years ago I first heard about Chaucer Speakers Club. I remember a man named Jim visited the BNI group I’d set up and gave a very confident and clear presentation. He spoke of his involvement with the Chaucer Speakers Club as a place where anyone can visit to learn ways of improving their presentations. You can deduce how well presented that 60 seconds was as I remembered it until I met Jim again when he joined Rotary at the same time as me in March this year.

Last week Jim gave a presentation to our Rotary club on what makes Jim, Jim. He bought with him 3 visitors and those visitors made notes throughout his presentation to give him constructive criticism at a later date. He brought 3 people just to criticise him speaking on a subject he should know well? Yes, and they all came from the speakers club.

So, 4 years after meeting Jim I joined him tonight for a Speakers Club meeting. About a dozen of us met in the Kent and Canterbury Club and I must say it was a very refreshing meeting. There were 3 people prepared for long presentations of around 7 minutes. I say prepared, two were prepared in advance and with specific goals of achievement, for example, one had to present a topic with humour. However, one person had the unenviable task of presenting for 7 minutes on a topic she was to be told just 10 minutes in advance.

After these three had spoken, another three members gave a critique of each presentation. Stating the goals, highlighting good and bad within each part, the critique was like a presentation in it’s own right. Then a short interval and some 2 or 3 minute presentations on a topic given on the spur of the moment. Geoff (who is also a Rotarian with Jim and I) acted as compare nimbly starting a theme of music then responding to details within each presentation to create the next topic. For me (he had asked me if I wanted to speak on a topic before hand, and despite the fact I force myself to do it so often I still have a fear of presenting things) he said in his booming orators voice, “I recently discovered that the Whitstable Players are having trouble recruiting songsters,… Steve, ..tell us why you haven’t yet joined.”.

I thought I made quite a good start. Everyone else had a formal introduction..”Mr Topic Chairman, Speakers, …” and on they went. I figured that I already had an introduction with Geoff’s question and beside I had no idea what title’s were being used so having stood, I looked at some of my audience and went straight in with “Perhaps the reason I haven’t joined the Whitstable Players that I’d never heard of them until now. Now I know about them they’ll have to join a long line of things waiting for me to do. Jim invited me to the Chaucer speakers club some 6 years ago…..”. No one knew the 6 years was an on the spot over estimate and Jim never corrected them (though I guess my impression on him at that meeting was far less than his impression on me!).

I continued into describing my first presentation, which was really a Christmas reading in front of the High Sherif of Kent and how, as I read that for the first time, my knees shook so much I could feel both sides of each trouser leg and how I had begged to do the reading again they year after so I could do it better. I said how I have to work on something until I truly understand it and that I couldn’t join the players until I have some other things completed. I finished with a sentence something along the lines of “On the subject of presentations, I still have to learn to speak slower.”. And then sat down to polite applause.

After everyone had spoken on a topic, a member gave a review of each presentation. I was quite correct that I speak to fast – it’s a known flaw that I’ve been working on for years.

At the end of the meeting another member gave a critique on the meeting as a whole. Picking up things both good and bad with the way the chair had run the meeting, how the critique of the 3 minute topics took 13 minutes when the member knows the goal is to critique in 7 minutes. Analysis was on the verge of over analysis yet at the same time was full of gems, not just “That was poor”, “That was poor because….. try…..instead”. Really useful things to have as feedback. Things in a lot of company people just wont tell you for fear of offending.

It was so refreshing to see the whole meeting honestly review itself in different ways. Some very accomplished speakers were plying their trade. They knew they were good but they were seeking out ways of being better. No skill in life is easy and this club is like a training ground for speakers as a football player will practice penalty shots.

At the end I got more feedback from Suzie who reviewed all the mini topics. In addition to speed, when pushed she identified a limited vocal range. Going so fast also gave me little time to make full use of gestures. This nugget in itself might help me slow down – ensuring a gesture is put to full and good effect. I also found out that of my 2 minute target time (they gave the new boy a smaller target) I spoke for exactly 1 minute and 48 seconds. Not bad! Especially as I didn’t look at their traffic light timing system as no one had explained it to me. It would have been too much to think of anyway.

All in all this was a great meeting to have been to. Everyone supportive, a real fellowship of self improvement at work. Oh, I haven’t mentioned the several hundred page binder they have which sets the challenges and the skills to work on. Turning the art of presenting into a science of subtle but definitive objects.

On reflection, I’m still scared of speaking in public, but I’m better at speaking than kicking a football – The difference is just where I’ve been training myself.

Root Nicknames

We all have nicknames. Some we know of, some we don’t. Some we find fun, some we don’t.

A friend just emailed me on a Rotary topic using “Rootlebaumeisterstuck”. I have no idea how that came to be made up! Within the club I’m often named Rooty simply because there are 4 members called Steve.

Choosing a web browser – why can't I just put up with the default

My first web browser was Netscape 1.1

I remember sitting in the training rooms of GEC Marconi Avionics sometime in the late 90’s, going through the self study ‘How to use the internet’ course. They were good courses, I spent many evenings learning better driving skills (spotting the hazards) and the most time consuming course of all – how to type. Still, now I can type almost as fast I think. The downside of which is my ramblings tend to digress very quickly, so getting back on track, I used Netscape 1.1 to search for ‘porsche’, because that was the suggested search using Altavista. We’re in pre-google days here, Internet explorer may have been around but wasn’t on the work computers.

Then we move to today and the browser of choice is….. well, I can’t make up my mind. I once preferred Netscape, eventually moved onto Internet Explorer. Then Firefox became my friend until the last year or so where it seemed to keep crashing every time I closed it. Now we have google Chrome. So, time to try them all and see what I think.

Start with…. Internet Explorer.
Always there, installed on my laptop. It does the job but I’ve never quite got used to the new layout of IE7. Tabs were a great improvement, it was those that attracted me to firefox a few years ago. I always have more than one window open, and I much prefer to have them all grouped into one program on my task bar.

Firefox
Firefox is great. I prefer the open source angle. I found it easier to use and faster than IE6 (but that could just be perception). I liked the tabs and it was my browser of choice for a few years. Unfortunately it started crashing on exit. Solution was probably just to uninstall then reinstall from scratch but I never got round to it. Still on my list of things to do.

Google Chrome.
Google should stick to making money from searches. The browser is rubbish. OK, a little harsh. The launch marketing was very clever. The design principles are great (single bar for search or URL input was ever so easy to use). The automatic home page creation of most visited sites and recently closed tabs made usability a breeze. Being able to drag a tab into it’s own window even had it’s uses. Unfortunately there are a few bugs to iron out. Like the “view source” command that should show you the source HTML of the page but actually requests the page again so you get a different source. I haven’t got all the plugins working correctly either, both flash and quicktime seem to have issues. Still, for the basic web browsing tasks it’s OK. Comparable to firefox I’d say. It does win the battle on leaving the largest viewable page area, with it’s ultra minimalist interface. When/if they fix issues like the ‘view source’ command it may well become my browser of choice, although by then the other players will no doubt improve too.

Safari.
Mac lovers are taking over the PC world it seems. Apple pushed the download through an iTunes update (only got iTunes for wining an iPod). I’m using Safari this afternoon for this blog post. I find the page a little more blurry than all the others. I think there is some ClearText Font Smoothing (insert correct term here if you know it!) but I haven’t found the setting to reduce it’s smoothing. Coming from the land of Mac, this also has a few things done a little differently to the PC way. Not right or wrong, just different. Like the close button being to the left of the name instead of the right. I’m not a fan of the grey shading style of the browser either, but it’s something I’ll get used to.

So, when it comes to desktop browsers which will I settle on?
None of them. I like things from each so will be keeping them all around for different reasons. Use them all for their strengths and switch between them to avoid their weaknesses.

Rotary – club visit 6 to Strood

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My last post said I was visiting a nearby club but unfortunately I was the only one who arrived. The members had all gone to a special event somewhere else. I did call the club secretary in the morning but I guess he’s away on holiday as I got no reply. I was going to phone others in the club directory in the afternoon but was busy with work. Still, no trouble, the short walk did me no harm.

So, club visit number 6 was actually 30 minutes away in Strood. I grew up in the Medway towns so it was almost like going home. One of the club members is Dennis Spiller, he’s last years District Governor and as I’ve mentioned before was one of my youth leaders when I was a teenager. He hadn’t seen me for years before I joined Rotary and now I keep turning up like a bad penny 🙂

So, with a past district governor in their club, I was expecting good things. In many ways, things were very good, but I left feeling very, very frightened. Me, writing negatively about Rotary? Surely not I hear you cry! Well, yes, if being frightened is negative for you then this will be negative. However, being frightened can also be a force for change, a positive thing, and I’m going to be concious from now on of doing things to prevent my club getting into the current position of Strood.

To begin with, this was the smallest meeting I’ve been too, just 13 people including me. On the plus side this meant I could speak in more detail to everyone so it was still worth going. There were also several people still on holiday (and one member had landed in the UK at 4am in the morning so the members dedication cannot be faulted).

They were proactively planning their version of ‘Do Good Things’, in particular organising chestnuts to be roasted on a stand at the nearby Dickens festival. They raise a lot of money through that and collecting with buckets at the nearby Morrisons. Bucket collecting is something we’ve yet to investigate but clearly effective if you’re in the right place.

All good so far, so why was I frightened? They formed just over 30 years ago and from what I can tell were exactly like us. I can see myself in their position in 30 years time. A club membership who’s average age is in the late 60’s. They have 21 members according to the directory and taking into account illness and holidays their attendance when I there must have been 90%. So why so few in the club?

In fact, they know their age balance is wrong and are working on fixing it. A few years ago a young teacher joined. This year he recruited another 30 year old professional into the club. The club are battling to find the younger people that can join and continue the good things their club is already doing. I’m frightened because if we are not careful our club will be in exactly the same position in 30 years time, or worse, we wont realise it at the time.

They have just moved to a new venue which will give them more space for members to meet, their past venue was described as ‘cosy’ with 16 present. I didn’t find out their growth goals but I hope they’re aiming to be 30 members or more within 12 months.

Rotary – The next level of administration

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I’ve written, lots!, but somewhere along the line I’m sure I’ve mentioned how Rotary appears to be a very good infrastructure for ‘Doing Good Things’. Above each club is the Rotary District. Each District reports to RIBI, Rotary International in Britain and Ireland. RIBI reports to Rotary International. The system is a classic heirachy, rules come down from above and should be implemented. Feedback and ideas come from the ground up and will re-shape the rules from time to time.

Our club’s District is 1120, and the structure is open that even a new Rotarian like me can turn up to the quarterly district meeting to find out whats going on and give an opinion. As you’ve probably guessed I have plenty of opinions! I went to the district evening meeting last month where most clubs were represented, giving a room full of somewhere near 100 people. The structure to handle that number of people was such that most things had already been discussed in separate sub committees and the meeting was essentially a forum for these to report their status and seek approval to do new things or make significant changes to procedures, as well as answer questions from anyone present.

I learn’t two things:

1) That there’s a fine line between; giving a large group of people information as a basis to vote upon, and them all understanding information in order to vote the way they mean. This is especially true when there were more than a couple of Rotarians with a hearing aid or two…

2) This (Rotary at District level) is an organisation that actively looks to improve things and it not, in principle, frightened of change.

The biggest example of this was a brief discussion on the organisation of the District Conference. It has been organised 2 years in advance (it happens each year but takes 2 years to plan) but the suggestion was made it’s organised further in advance by a new sub committee. The reason being there are so few conference venues that can take over a 1,000 people in a single weekend event. Next week I go to this years District Conference being held in Eastbourne, a town not in our district! I booked ‘late’ by Rotary standards, which meant I haven’t got a place at the formal dinner – 1,150 people booked before me and I’ve since found out that some clubs choose to go to local restaurants so there will be a lot of people there. Next year, or maybe the year after – I forget now, the conference will be in Brighton at a large hotel with more space. You don’t have to stay in the hotel but if you can. It’s 350 or so for the weekend with accommodation. Some people in the room took this as you HAD to stay at that hotel in order to go to the conference – out of the budget of many, therefore voted against brighton for the following year and said they’d rather go back to Eastbourne. The idea of planning 5 years in advance seemed to get pushed aside in the end.

For me this meeting also highlighted the pleasure of fellowship. I was on a table with a retired paper salesman. While talking the conversation came around to youth clubs and my involvement with the Air Training Corps (I’m a Civilian Instructor at 1242 Faversham Squadron). It turns out this retired paper salesman was a Cadet in the Air Training Corps in the first few months of it’s formation in 1941. He left to join the air force and flew Mosquito’s over northern france amongst other things. I am constantly amazed by the people I’m meeting through Rotary. I don’t think I should be amazed, after all there were a lot of pilots, and a lot of people have done a lot of different things. I think the difference is I’m taking the time to speak to more people and therefore finding things I’d never have known about before.

Anyway, back onto the topic of district, outside of the meetings I’ve seen lots of email on different subjects continuously developing things. There seems a growing emphasis on recruitment and ‘the missing generation’, Rotarians between the age of 25 – 50. No doubt this was the impetus to our club being formed. At 32 I’m clearly in the missing generation referred to. I’m curious to find out more about what this means (I’ve started asking for the membership statistics) and the history that’s led to this. At the moment I’ve no idea if Rotary is growing or shrinking in size. It’s reassuring to see that at a District and higher level these details are being worked on, so I can concentrate on my roll within the club. It’s also nice that, so far at least, everyone I’ve emailed a question to has been very helpful. I get the feeling that if I emailed the R.I. President for this year, D.K.Lee, I’d get a personal response.

Rotary – Club visit 5 to Chestfield

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Thursday the 2nd October. For some reason I had a spare evening in the week. Best of all Rhonda said I could visit another Rotary club so a quick flick through the district directory and I find the Rotary Club of Chestfield meet on Thursday’s, 7.15 for 7.30. A quick phone call to Hilary who I met when she visited our club – “Hi, is your club meeting tonight and do you think it’s a problem if I come along”. No, come along, we’re meeting at 7.30 for 8.00. Still, at this point I hadn’t realised my mistake!

So, I arrive early ish, meet some people (names forgotten already!) and get myself a drink. I was surprised to see Ruth from our club also there. Then, Jim from our club arrived. “Hello Jim, what brings you along tonight”, cue interesting story of how in his younger years he’d worked in Africa developing agriculture and that prompted his interest in tonights speaker. Tonights speaker? David Mann, speaking on his recent visit to Tanzania and the fund raising for a school that’s been carried out. At this point, I still didn’t realise my mistake.

Then, Jarle, Diane and Lucy arrived. Lucy said “I didn’t know you were coming, you weren’t on the list”. No, I phoned earlier. I had the evening free and this is an evening club so I’ve come along. Then I was told my mistake. Chestfield is a morning club like ours. This was a special evening for the special presentation, held only once a quarter. It just so happened I’d mis-read the directory but the meeting was happening anyway. I was also put in my place for not remembering that this has been in the events folder for the last month. Maybe that was the subconscious prompt that made me find Chestfield in the directory. Anyway – a fortunate mistake on my part! Two things I learn’t from the visit:

1) It really is amazing what one person can achieve when they get on with it. David, two years ago, would never have dreamed of going to Tanzania. He’d never have dreamed he’d raise over 15,000 to build a school following a meeting with a local bishop in Tanzania who was visiting Canterbury Cathederal. As David quipped, there’s no such thing as a free drink so the champagne reception the cathederal hosted is being well repaid! As the fund raising continues to develop he’s been able to call on rotary contacts to formalise things – at the moment it’s not a registered charity so can’t claim gift aid. When he visited he found a need for sanitary towels which he has been promised in the UK but needs to ship them to a specific area. Rotary is finding and providing contacts with knowledge of shipping to make this good thing happen.

2) The president, Andrew, is a farmer and was clearly showing signs of exhaustion from a busy harvest. Speaking to him about the ‘credit crunch’ he confirmed my thoughts that credit has little impact on farming. The fact his grain sells for a third less this year compared to last is all due to how the weather has been around the world. Last year several countries had a poor harvest so grain prices increased. This year the UK harvest hasn’t been so good but most other countries did well. Therefore more grain on the international market means lower prices per tonne. He also commented on storage being expensive – the grain has to be chilled and have a low moisture content to store well and this requires energy input. The longer it’s kept, the more it costs to keep. Rotary continues to be an education.

This is a very fast written post. I’ll correct the spelling later (or maybe leave it here on the pretense that it’s now part of history) but now Rhonda has said I can visit another rotary meeting, this time a little closer to home. 7 minutes to walk there – plenty of time.

Red Mushroom, White Spots, found on my walk through the woods

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Red Mushroom with white spots

I love mushrooms. As an alternative to cheese (one of my other loved foods), I love mushroom sandwiches too. Bread is of course my other loved food. Yes, I’m a cheese sandwhich junkie first, mushroom sandwich junkie second.

Imagine my joy when walking through the woods to find this beauty. I’ve heard it said that most mushrooms in the UK are OK to eat… fortunately I don’t think ‘most’ is anywhere near a good enough probability ratio to experiment with. I did spend 10 minutes on my PDA accessing the internet to identify it but gave up and carried on walking. Having now looked up what this mushroom is, it’s an Amanita Muscaria and the website of “Rogers Mushrooms” give it an edibility rating of “Deadly”.

Perhaps the bright red cap with white spiky bits on top of the red are natures way of telling me “Red is danger, spiky bits mean danger too so you really don’t want to eat me Steve!”, that and I thought it looked like a friendly cartoon mushroom far to good to eat, happily growing in tree dappled sunshine.

Update: Steve in the comments section posted a link to a YouTube video from BBC Worldwide talking about this mushroom

A very lucky week for Steve!

Do you remember the saying that things always come in threes? Well, I really should buy a lottery ticket. Instead the numbers I would have picked had I bought a ticket for Saturday will be 7,11,32, 40,48,49.

Why do I tell you this? Well I believe the odds of me winning the lottery are so far stacked against me I’m not going to spend the money on a ticket. However, I have just won TWO competition prizes. Yes, TWO! Maybe the lottery could be the third…. Oh, hang on, I’ve had THREE prizes this year now, I never got round to blogging about the first.

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So, here they are in order. I won an iPod Touch back in May. This is the second iPod I’ve won, the iPod shuffle came from Ford in 2006. The iPod Touch was won in April after I replied to a survey on out-law.com. 16Gb of music player worth around 200 promptly borrowed on a long term basis by my wife. Well, I wouldn’t use a music player much but it did reveal to me the clever touches an iPhone would have. I can’t have an iPhone because it isn’t as flexible as I need it to be as a PDA organiser and phone – the touch cruise is still a better option for me. However the safari web browser it has built in outperforms Internet Explorer mobile version and Opera mobile so if it weren’t for the application flexibility I like I’d probably be on an iPhone already. Out-law.com is an online legal magazine that reviews ongoing, erm, legal things. I find it well written, informative, impartial and it’s one of the few RSS feeds I have set on my phone.

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Last week a ‘signed for’ package arrived in the post. In it was a prize courtesy MXR Digital. There was a competition in a trade magazine which, for some reason, I decided to enter. I must have had a lucky feeling because I won a Pure Highway DAB Digital Radio for the car. Looking at the prices online, they’re around 70. I wouldn’t choose to buy one though on long journeys I do occasionally wish for some different radio entertainment. However, now I have it I can’t wait to find time to put it together and play with it. It transmits to the car through an FM transmitter built in or through a cable you can plug it into. Hopefully I’ll have some free time in the next week or two to try it out and report back.

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The third prize is a lot more special than this little picture shows. I’ll be telling you all the amazing technical features later when I get to play with it, once it arrives. Today, I got a phone call from the magazine and email from the supplying company to say I’ve won a flat screen, 23″ TV. This, however, is no ordinary flat screen TV. It’s a Bath-o-vision 23″ wall mounted, mirror fronted flat screen TV worth around 1,800. Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor. How on earth can you justify that for a TV? Well, this TV is designed to go in a bathroom, or swimming pool. When turned off it looks like a normal mirror. When turned on, you get to have a decent size TV with a wide viewing angle (178 degrees!), HD Resolution and a built in digital TV tuner. This is not the kind of TV you’ll buy in the supermarket! It’ll be a month or so before this prize arrives, the company are organising for the magazine to visit for photos of them presenting the screen to me.

GPS Logging from my PDA…needs a little work I think

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I spent the afternoon of my day off going for a walk. From my house in Faversham I walked to canterbury via some woodland, old villages and the North Downs way. As my PDA has a GPS receiver built in I thought I’d try logging it’s output to see exactly how fast I’m walking nowdays. Last time I checked, walking without a rucksack on clear footpaths and not too hilly, I walked an average speed of 6km per hour.

Well, my first fast analysis of the log file shows I’m going a little faster. It also shows I need to improve my map reading, I certainly don’t remember passing through customs on my way to Canterbury via South Africa and Germany…. hmmm, perhaps there’s something wrong with those logs.

For completeness, I’ll add my PDA is a Windows Mobile 6 HTC Touch Cruise. The GPS logging software is called Sunset from Kharsim.net. The GPX log file sunset created was uploaded first to http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/ and the analysed view came via http://www.everytrail.com/.

I’ll try and spend a little time finding the flawed data from the log then finding a better way of creating route paths and analysis. Everytrail does look reasonably complete from a fleeting first impression and has the facility of hosting the maps so you can zoom in and out. Now, how to find the error lines in that GPS Log and remove them.

To finish on a high, my average walking speed according to my GPS is 3,758 miles per hour. Must dash, I fancy visiting nipping down to the south of France before tea time, should only take me 20 minutes from here 🙂