Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Collections of Tech

After mentioning various bits of tech and how I've been using them to create the last couple of posts, I thought I'd talk a bit more about them ....

The warts, the good, the simples, the annoying, the too complicated to actually work ....

Lots ! Maybe.
Let's start with Comic Con. Two bits of tech there - the phone and the camera.

The phone doesn't do very well at Comic Con. I think it's because there are far too many other phones out there asking for the attention of the limited cell towers, so none of them get any data out and they burn through their batteries trying to get that signal through. You'd probably be better leaving phones in the car, although their cameras are doing better and better now.

Talking of cameras .... I really like my camera. I like it more and more the more I use it. The only problem I have with it is that it doesn't talk to my computers, although that isn't a serious issue because I can just take the memory card out and transfer pictures over that way.

It's a Canon Ixus 265 (disclosure note - I paid for it ! No freebies alas). It's an instant compact digital camera, a few years old now. It replaced a Nikon Coolpix from much longer ago, which would murder batteries at an alarming rate. The Canon is far better (modern efficiency), with the batteries lasting through Comic Con plus half of Lords. One bit of daftness though, it stays on 3 bars out of 3 for a very long time, then goes through 2 and 1 bar very quickly.

It's an excellent camera. Most of the Lords pics were taken at long range, maximum optical zoom (there's a digital zoom too) with the camera braced on my knee. It works pretty well at that, hopefully the picture quality in the Lords post shows that. There must be some kind of stabilisation system in there that stops motion blur. You can also control it from an iOS thingy or Android widget (like my phone) with it hooking up via a wifi signal that the camera broadcasts. Pop the phone on a tripod, retreat to a suitable distance, take picture.

The wifi signal is also how I get the pictures off the camera for broadcasting to Twit/Book on the day. Very effective, works well although it does take a few seconds for the phone to pick up the camera. Far better than the attempt at using Near Field Comms, this didn't want to play at all.

All this work does take it out of the batteries though. The phone battery was down to 30% by the middle of the day. Better than an Iphone but still ... Pretty low.

I now have 3 battery packs. If you get one of these, pay attention to 2 things :
Whether it has charge level lights (very important !)
The mAh (milliAmp hour) rating of the battery.

The charge level lights tell you how much juice to expect out of it, plus they'll tell you if your battery pack is a waste of time or not. One of my 3 battery packs is something useless by the Kit label. It claims 4000mAh but barely put 10% charge into my phone before it died. There are no lights on that to tell you if it has any charge.

That mAh thing is a rating of how much energy is in the battery pack and it's useful to look up your phone to see how much % phone battery charge you can expect out of the pack. My phone is now a Samsung Galaxy S7 with a 3000mAh battery and I picked up a Pebble battery from Lords which claims "2.5 smartphone recharges !" from a 3900mAh battery. Nope. One and a bit at best, on the day the precharged pack took the phone from 30% up to the high 80s. Happy with that. It should do better when I'm not using the phone for Twit/Book, Discord and the camera.

The charge level lights are most important though. Blinky lights are best.

Hmm - what else !

I'm in one of those frames of mind again where I get random thoughts that then disappear as quickly as they arrive.

My old iPhone has been pressed into service as an iPod. It's quite happy doing that in the car again now, after not doing so well when I had two phones connected via Bluetooth in the last car. New car better. Yeah, Bluetooth has impressed me as a connection method. It's far more effective and reliable than the FM retransmitters I used in the cars before. Doesn't get jammed out by commercial radio for a start. If my Airport Express widget that I use for network audio streaming becomes non-viable, I will buy a Bluetooth widget instead. Sorted.

My other phone has a bit of trouble though. It loses text messages ...

This is very bad.

The fix seems to be to clear the cache data and then I start receiving text messages again. For any Google Hunters, it's a Samsung Galaxy S7 having problems receiving text messages and the fix has been to clear the cache data partition. Google will show you sites with the instructions !

Laptop - I've been starting to investigate my next laptop .... I'm actually investigating whether I need a desktop upgrade but I think that can wait. The desktop needs performance, which I'm happy with at the moment. The laptop needs hard disc space and is down to 55GB free out of 250. Because I can't replace the hard disc with a bigger one (it's Apple), filling up the drive with too much music is what would trigger an upgrade. That's a while off because my music library is only up to 95GB.

Only ? :-D.

The next laptop will be something different. Microsoft are going in bad directions at the moment with Windows 10. It started out as an excellent system, a worthy upgrade but it's been getting worse with each forced update (Anniversary ed, Creators update). It is less stable now. Apple are worse, I can no longer talk to devices from the Macbook which it was happy to talk to before. Shame on you Apple. I will not be buying anything more from Apple.

It'll be a Linux machine, which loses some compatibility but offers similar enough applications to the norm to make that not a problem. The main problem is games .... but I rarely play games on the laptop. Music and connectivity to the phone might be an issue that can be worked around through alternate software.

The desktop has to stay anchored to Windows due to games.

Any more tech ?

There's always room for more tech. Later !

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