Saturday, 16 November 2013

Microsoft Surface RT 1 year on.

Microsoft should stay the course with the Surface. I bought a Surface RT, not the pro model. It gives me a very light, portable system that runs PowerPoint, Word etc. I use a PC, MacBook Pro ,have an Android phone (Note 2). I love the MacBook pro but with a bad back, I wanted something light to take around campus.

I looked at a MacBook Air, but it was expensive. I considered an iPad because I like Keynote, but I decided on a Surface RT, mainly because of Office and other apps (Halo Spartan Assault).

Let's go beyond apps and discuss functionality. The Surface RT and 2 have a USB port and can take a SD card. I've run large PowerPoint presentations and mpeg-4 videos from a 64gb USB stick. That is functionality. The apps are less of an issue for me. On my Note 2 it's mostly Google apps plus Facebook and Twitter.

I understand at the launch of the Surface RT a lack of apps and a new OS (Windows on Arm?) was not really up to the job. But with Window 8.1 the Surface comes of age. I know it's not perfect, but for me it does the job. I'm writing this post from my Surface.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Motion Capture to MotionBuilder

I thought I would add some notes to the video, Motion Capture to MotionBuilder. First of all the session folder in Vicon Blade holds your motion capture takes including .x2d (raw motion capture video indicated by a blue circle with an x), the .hdf files (this is a blade file and includes any work you've completed on the motion capture, this has a gold B next to the file).  The session folder also includes .fbx files, which are autodesk interchange format which allow you  to work between 3ds Max, Maya and MotionBuilder. You won't see the .fbx files until you add your session folder into MotionBuilder

Export FBX using the pipeline

In Autodesk MotionBuilder you can add favourite paths by right clicking in the asset browser. If you add the session folder you can find the exported  FBX files. 

In the session folder you'll see your .fbx files along with the other blade files.  You can drag them in to MotionBuilder  for editing, adding to your character etc. 

Friday, 5 April 2013

My Thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

I really like Windows Phones. I feel Microsoft is the a underdog right now and I tend to go with the with whoever that is at the time.  I sampled windows phone 7 and 7..8 with a Lumia 710 which was a very good phone.  As tempted as I was to the Lumia 920 the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 really grabbed my eye.  I first suggested one to my wife. As we both get older neither of our eyesight is great, so I recommenced a note 2 for her. Some of the family  including me did warn her it was a big phone, but she went with it on my say so.  Yes it's big, and we had some great laughs about the size but she loves the screen.  Neither of us would make decisions on how many apps a particular phone has, as long as key apps are there.  Windows Phone has enough great apps to keep me happy.  And though Android phones have loads of apps (reminds of the old McDonalds signs  which touted how many burgers were sold) it is not the main the key in my recommending it. 

So once my wife had a Note 2 I decided to make the plunge. Jelly Bean makes a huge difference with the interface.  I previously had a HTC Desire and my wife had a HTC wildfire.  Android is still highly customisable  the play store reminds me of amazon offerings with movies and music alongside apps and games.  But the killer feature is the screen size. Next the basic google apps are great. And one thing not available yet on Windows Phone is Sky Go.  Sky is a satellite service in the UK, and it is excellent.  So now I can watch Sky on my phone.  One app that is sorely missed is Google Listen.  Listen was a simple podcast program that worked solidly.  That was my biggest shock coming back to Android was the loss of Listen.  

More to come on day to day with the Note 2. Google Now telling me what to do and where to be when and how and why.  Plus the camera features look excellent, I'll review those as the weather improves in the UK.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Don't be afraid of the big 8, Windows 8.

2 Weeks with Windows 8. Don't be afraid of the big 8.  There are lots of tutorials and help, and yes I got to grips with it quickly. But what convinced me was watching my lovely Wife use the new OS.  With a few words of encouragement from me and her son she's adapted quickly to the supposedly menacing interface. Metro? no problem, email and photos from everywhere are there. Desktop, browser all launched from Metro so no problems there. I have had to show her how to turn off the pc, but so far so good.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A note to blogger users, the twitter gadgets no longer work. If you want to feed twitter into your blog go to twitter >settings > widgets and create new widget will give you code to create a feed into your blog or website.

A note to blogger users, the twitter gadgets no longer work. If you want to feed twitter into your blog go to twitter >settings > widgets and create new widget will give you code to create a feed into your blog or website.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Hands on with the Kindle PaperWhite

There are plenty of arguments over which is the best E-Reader.  I've been using a Kindle for about a year. So when the Kindle PaperWhite was announced I didn't hesitate and pre-ordered it.  Now that I've had it in hand for about a week, I thought I would share my thoughts on it.

I've had a Kindle DX which hooked me into the Amazon E-Book pipeline.  The display was incredibly easy on my eyes. And being dyslexic it was easier to read. I considered the Kindle Fire, or perhaps and iPad with the Kindle app but having suffered insomnia I wanted to stay away from backlit display as they are known to affect your sleep.

The new Kindle supports Amazon's patented light guide which is a glowing front lit display. This gives you an illuminated screen without the strain on the eyes that backlight tablets have. The text is even nicer to read than the standard Kindle. 

Unlike the original Kindle and my Kindle DX there is no audio or headphone jack. So you could listen to audible books etc on them.  With smartphones with podcast and Audible apps I don't feel I am missing anything. I never listened to anything on the Kindle DX.  
Photo from
The PaperWhite's touchscreen is very responsive, the page turn and screen update are fast. The keyboard works well, and is easy to use. There are some nice interface touches. There are tap zones on the screen to access the tool bar, go forward or backwards a page. The interface also supports swipe to change page. The toolbar gives you access to change the brightness of the display, Kindle store, search and menu and access wifi or 3g depending on your Kindle. The menu is contextual.  So if you're reading a book you change font size, go to a certain page and something new  called x-ray. The x-ray lets you explore what Amazon calls the "bones" of the book, more experimenting is necessary. It's higher resolution,  higher contrast and easy touch interface make the PaperWhite a winner.

The Kindle DX was like holding a hard cover book.  Large screen and all it was heavy. The PaperWhite is light to hold (like other similar sized Kindles) so is much nicer when reading. 

I am being biased in this review because I already like Kindle and Amazon's massive e-book library. However I love the Kindle PaperWhite and can recommend it. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

HTC One series Announced

HTC announced the One series of  phones with  Quad Core powered  phones.  HTC hopes to make it's mark in 2012 with the One series of phones.   HTC One X promises blistering speed with a  4.7" screen.  The One S which HTC says has a "True Digital Camera."  The One X with it's 8 megapixel camera, it   has face focus and smile detection. And finally the One V listed as the essential smart phone.  All the One phones will be running  Android 4.0. These look like a great addition to HTC's Android line up, but can they compete with the new phones from Samsung like The Note? I hope so.