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Buy my stuff! - modernist wooden jewellery, award-winning computer accessories and more. Shinium.eu

"Do you realise that every blade of grass is a different shade of green?" - from My Voice Will Go With You

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UK Government planning mass 'coercion' of citizens

(viewed 1173 times)
This image taken from WikiLeaks, a well-respected source of leaked and confidential documents. This document has been verified by them as genuine. You can find more documents from your local country. There's a whole big section just on Iraq, for example.

No2ID have more information on why ID cards are Bad For Your Freedom (not to mention your wallet!)

TheyWorkForYou can help you write to your MP. I strongly urge you to, it's the most effective way to get your voice heard. If your MP is pro-id cards, ask them to explain why, in detail. If they are anti-ID cards, ask them what they're doing about stopping this project.
21st Feb 2008, 14:05   comments (2)

fog

(viewed 1400 times)
last night. close focus, flash, darkness.
19th Feb 2008, 13:15   | tags:,comments (0)

iRex Iliad Review

So, I've been using the iRex iLiad eReader for a few weeks now, long enough I think for any problems to surface, if they were going to. Some pictures feature 35mm film cases, Clipper lighters or my hands for scale. The bottom shot was taken with a 50mm prime lens, macro'd right up so film plane was roughly 150mm from screen - you can just see the pixels in the large version. So here we go:


Hardware:

Hard to fault. Impressive as anything. More dpi over it's current 166 would be nice, but I'm not losing sleep (or, more to the point, getting eyestrain) over that. That will come in later devices, as ePaper gets better. Screen size is perfectly acceptable, easily that of a nice-sized paperback. In fact, I don't think I'd want a bigger one even if one were available.

It's a reflective screen rather than a transmissive one, so it works using incident light instead of generating it's own. This is why I can take photos of the screen in direct sunlight and you can still read it. In some light, at some angles, there is a bit of reflection off the screen making it a bit hard to read - but that's easily solved by slightly moving the unit.

Battery life could be better, but there are still major improvements that can be squeezed out of the existing gear (see below).


Software:

Usable. Not great in terms of UI, but nothing dreadful either. I've heard that early versions of the firmware were awful, but that's certainly not the case now. Some things could be a bit less fiddly, but overall, there's very little actually wrong with the software. That's not to say some bits couldn't be improved though!

iRex really need to keep momentum on development - why is the iLiad still running a 2.4.x kernel, when 2.6.20+ has dynticks? Especially when you consider the possible power-savings of tickless kernel on a device that spends most of it's time doing nothing (and on a 2.4.x kernel, it's doing nothing several thousand times a second). Yes, they implemented frequency scaling (only very recently), but did they patch ondemand using the lesswatts patches? If they didn't, why not?

iRex have been good enough to Open Source most of their software, but are keeping some bits to themselves still, and aren't releasing specs for some other bits. This is non-ideal, but better than nothing. Community developed software - like ports of minimo, or the more-cleverer pdf reader - are available, and people are working on things. Full-blown iLiad OS replacements (including a very pretty one based on Qtopia) are being developed by the iLiad community, I shall be keeping tabs on that, but it's hard to say at this stage how far these will go.


Other goodies:

Web browser, terminal, whole load of other things I could install but just can't be bothered. It's a book, dammit. If I wanted a tablet PC, I'd have bought a tablet PC.


If I had to find things I don't like:

Power connection. It's a big, wide, thin ribbon-like thing located on the bottom of the unit. Any other edge than the bottom would have been preferable - resting the reader on one's leg while sitting is much trickier with a big, fragile-looking connection dangling off it. I'd have used a mini-jack on the top edge of the device.

DRM. This isn't an iLiad problem, it's a publisher one. I'm hoping it will gradually go away, like how DRM on commercial mp3s is.

Some ebooks cost as much as their hardcover print editions. This is taking the piss. I'm sure that'll die down though.

Summary:

Do you want one? If you read a reasonable amount and especially if you travel while doing so - probably. If you read a lot of pdfs (iliad will let you scribble on pdfs and save notes) and other electronic docs - definitely.

Given how much I love reading, and how painful holding books open can be with my rsi, I wouldn't give this device up for anything. This sounds like such a cliche, but it is true - this device has changed my life. If you asked me to choose between my Nikon and my Iliad, I'd have to have a very, very hard think indeed. Then I'd probably run off and hide with both of them - you can have all my other Stuff instead.

--------

See here for high-res versions of these and other iLiad shots.

The Lower Goat

(viewed 1557 times)
Top of Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. I'm sure that wasn't there last time I was there. It's the kind of thing I'd notice.

I forgot to go and check whether there was one by Upper Goat Lane too, sadly.
14th Feb 2008, 12:49   | tags:comments (5)

heart

(viewed 2561 times)
Eaton, near the vets.
14th Feb 2008, 12:48   | tags:,comments (3)

Rotund

(viewed 1614 times)
Elizabethan, restored in the 60's. Wymondham market square.
14th Feb 2008, 12:47   | tags:,comments (12)

I say, I say, I say - my dog has no balls

(viewed 1329 times)
how does he smell? All of antiseptic and that.

Poor thing. All whacked out on painkillers. Must be nice.
12th Feb 2008, 13:34   | tags:comments (16)

last meal

(viewed 1059 times)
because tomorrow morning, it's de-balling time. poor thing has no idea.
11th Feb 2008, 17:14   | tags:comments (11)