22 December, 2010

Adobe Premiere bug

Trying to learn how to work with Adobe Premiere hit myself into a nasty kind of a bug.
On Windows platforms at least, the program saves and recalls it's window position on screen. During work flow I moved most part of the window outside of view, with only the top bar visible, after which i exited from the program. Next time i started.. surprise! The program started as I left it but this time you have that nagging start screen to deal with and you can't even see it. It wouldn't be much of a hassle if the darn start screen would be build from standard Windows elements but it's not except for the exit button cause that's the only thing that can get focus. You can't use tab, you can't use escape and pressing enter just exits the program.

I had to start Adobe Encore application which is build same wise to figure out that the options from the start window (New, Open and Help) have keyboard shortcuts from their first letter (N, O and H).

So getting back to Premiere, hitting O and opening an existing project did the trick and i was back in business. Not a big deal but definitely not an experience a program must put you through.

17 December, 2010

Holux GPSport 245 unveiled

The downside of having waterproof pockets is that if water comes in them, it stays in. So it happened on one of my last mountain trips. What was even worse was that the pockets weren't empty but had my cell phone and the little Holux GPSport 245. At the end of the trip, after a full day of ice cold rain and apparently opened pockets, my little gizmos were drowned in water.

The phone entered hydrophilic coma and died a few days after. On the other side, GPSport was still up and running but wet on the inside display. I tried drying it out on a radiator but it didn't work, the amount of  water inside it was to much so i decided to open it.

Holux GPSport 245 and the tool of dissection
 If you have the right tool, opening it is very straight forward: unscrew the 5 fixing screws on the back of the device with a torx head screwdriver then carefully remove the front cover from the rest. Getting the water out was fairly easy with a hot air gun but since getting it dry was only half the reason i opened it in the first place i took a closer look at it.

Front cover removed
Front cover, main and antenna PCB, battery

The inside construction is pretty carefully designed. Water rubber seal keeps the two halves watertight. The only way water could have came in it was through the USB port flap wish is the only communication between outside and inside. The main PCB is good quality stuff but sadly i couldn't get a peek at the "brain" of this little beast as all the processing horses seemed to be under a metallic screen. The GPS antenna is on a different PCB mounted just above the display and perpendicular to it.

GPS antenna

 When i removed the PCB from the back cover i founded a common cell phone Li-ion battery. That's very handy in case I'll ever have problems with it because it will be easy to replace.

Job done! Put all the pieces back together, screwed the screws and  it's as good as new. I use GPSport 245 as a bike computer, a photo GPS tagger, trip logger and sometimes on the mountain as a compass and orientation device. It's small, easy and pretty reliable. It doesn't have all the fancy features of bigger, more expensive GPS navigation systems like big or color display and map support but it's great just the way it is.

08 December, 2010

Sharp PA-W1410

This is definitely something you don't see every day. While sniffing around in an archive room at my job i stumbled upon what looked like an old computer of some sort.

Sharp PA-W1410 Personal Word Processor closed view

Sharp PA-W1410 Personal Word Processor opened view

After a little inspection it turned out to be an 1984 Sharp Personal Word Processor device. What does this mean? Well.. it's like an electronic typewriter with added functionality. It can either type from the keyboard directly on the paper with a ribbon tape printing system or it can be used as a word processor through it's 80x16 character display.

Sharp PA-W1410 Personal Word Processor user display
It looked to be in quite working conditions so after removing the old style power plug i gave it a try to see if it will power up and.. ta daa! It works! The display is graphical LCD with blue writing on white background. I was writing and printing a document in no time. The ribbon was as expected dried and very fainted but still visible. Letter "e" is missing from the letters wheel, but other than that all seems to be working fine. I can't test the floppy disk functionality as i don't have anymore those old type 3.5'' disks.

Sharp PA-W1410 Personal Word Processor Operation Manual
Next to the unit I also found the original manual in english. Surprisingly on the first page it stated "30 DAYS WARRANTY", i would have definitely expected more from something like this.

I love when i stumble ancient electronic stuff like this and I always end up to pretty much the same conclusion: things were done better in the past, before all this consumerism era.

01 December, 2010

Caminito del Rey

I knew about Caminito from quite some time but i never dreamed of ever getting to see it with my own two eyes yet alone walk on it.

But u never know how the dice rolls so the chance came this summer, with my summer holiday. We got a big discount on some plane tickets Bucharest-Malaga on a low cost airline company, we found a decent hostel and armed with lots of optimism and will to have fun, me and 4 of my friends went out on one hell of a trip. After taking tours of Malaga, Gibraltar and the beautiful Caves of Nerja, last day before return we started on the way to Caminito.

Alora train station
Finding your way there isn't that difficult once you do some digging on the net. We were also lucky to meet in Gibraltar a brit guy that was going to El Choro back to his friends that were there climbing. Our route was by train from Malaga to Alora, a taxi from there to El Choro and a lil hike from the village to the actual site. Of course the pathway is officially closed, of course you do it on your own risk and off course you should only do it if you have previous experiences with climbing and walking at heights.

Initially I wanted to do the pathway freestyle but after huge pressure from my friends I did it with a climbing harness after all. We didn't have the climbing gear with us but you can rent what you need from El Choro which as I've said is a great place for climbing. After doing the pathway i got to the conclusion that, as I expected, climbing gear isn't necessary but sure does good for psychical comfort.

 Reaching the actual pathway is pretty straight forward. Leaving from El Choro train station and heading towards the canyon you take it on a rocky road, go by a church or monastery and reach  some sort of touristic viewpoint. It's located near a train tunnel and next to the cliff face that marks the end of the canyon.

El Choro canyon's exit

From this point there are two ways to get on Caminito. First option is to traverse the cliff face using a number of iron beams located some tens of meters lower than the pathway and then climb to it. The second option, a little safer is to go through the railway tunnel and the next ones till you reach the "inner valley". From there you can see the river on the valley's bottom and parts of Caminito on the other side. The valley is pretty steep but with a little care it's no big deal.

Inner valley
 A headlight would have been great cause there are sections where the pathway is doubled by a parallel tunnel through the rock. We did it without, just with a little help from the camera's flash from time to time.

The views are extraordinary, the heights are breathtaking and it was definitely worth doing.  You get a unique feeling of walking through some ancient ruins even though the place is not that old but just severely degraded. While on the pathway, caution must be given at every step, most of the actual path is made of one layer thick of bricks with some concrete in between. There are places where the bricks collapsed forming holes in the pathway or interrupting it all together.  The support structure is made of railway beams, but they too are severely corroded in some parts of the track.

Now i'm gonna end this short story with some more pictures:

From this trip, you can find more pictures on my facebook album and some videos on youtube: video1, video2, video3.

30 November, 2010

AirZound Bike Horn

Delta Airzound Bike Horn

 Thought of sharing some thoughts on things i find awesome so now i start with AirZound.
Many biblicists don't even know it exists, i only found it by chance while surfing around Amazon but i easily saw it's potential in a heavy-messy traffic like the one in Bucharest in particular and Romania in general. It's easy to set up, eco-friendly, loud like nothing else on the market. "Cons": u need to get used to it - pressing it gently enough not to scare pedestrians and the biggest bummer: it tends to wake up killer instincts in types of driver that find offensive a bike horn that's louder than most car horns.

It comes in many color variations and claims are about different versions  but i couldn't find the actual difference between these so called versions.

No need to make a strong point on how useful this lil bugger is since there are a lot of infos out there already, just google it.

29 November, 2010

Lafuma Danko-2


Since winter was coming and my old ArcticFox gloves were pretty trashed from last season's hard wear, i gave it a try with these initially impressive Lafuma Danko-2 which i found at Ascent store in Romania for about 39$.

I liked the fact that they were long and could really seal the arm when finding urself digging in the snow. What bugged me at first was the "Silicone touchpad on index finger" as they call it. It's a little round rubberish thing sticking out on the index finger that me for one can't find any real use.

Last weekend I had the chance to put them to test. It wasn't much of a trip but i go the chance to see what they're made of, sort2say.

Conclusion: don't like them that much. Fingers have a strip of material that shreds instantly, the touchpad-feature is more annoying than i anticipated, my big thumb doesn't fit like it's supposed to. I still like they're long though :D but not so sure i'd buy them again.

1st post

The inevitable happened.. created my blog

Chose blogger because it said it's the fastest to configure: I needed 5 minutes to figure out my google username and password combination, 15 minutes to find a blog address simple and easy to remember. Not so bad after all.

So.. what about this blog? Well, it's because I don't have time for a full website, it's because I sometimes feel the need to put out stuff like reviews, my projects in electronics, my work as a photographer and who knows what other "relevant content".

But that's about it for now, content soon to come.

have fun