« February 2005 | Main | April 2005 »

Where are we going?

March 23, 2005

I thought I would be telling you about how our ski holiday in Courchevel, France is coming along. But you see, my wife managed to pull off the biggest surprise of my life and I am nowhere near France or Europe for that matter.

On the morning of our departure she confessed. There was no need for ski clothes and they were quickly unpacked. Instead I was given a fat itinerary and a travel guide to study.

Needless to say, I was completely flabbergasted. The illusion of a ski trip had been very real and I had been day dreaming about deep powder snow the last two weeks.

Nobody knew. Not our parents, not our friends. This one will be a tough cookie to beat if ever possible. Touché mon amor!

Good night Tokyo, I am signing off.

Japan, Tokyo and Kyoto photos



Finally a good weekend

March 15, 2005

Most likely because I did not open the work laptop a single time.

Visited the current Lee Miller portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Lee Miller was a (female) model cum photographer during the first part of 20th century.

Through her relationships she came into contact with a range of artists and was able to take many intimate photographs. Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Fred Astaire, Colette and Marlene Dietrich being some of those artists. If you are interested in history of photography the exhibition is worth the £7.

London's Brick Lane is famous for it's many curry houses. A good friend of ours had arranged a charity dinner event at a one such curry house. The event was well organised and a respective sum was collected for the cause but I will not be going back to Nazrul 2 Tandoori and Balti Restaurant any time soon. The food was bad and the service was worse.

Finally caught a flick as well, have been missing the silver screen lately. Les Choristes (The Chorus) is a touching story about group of boys at a boarding school and how a new supervisor changes their lives with music.



Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS Receiver review

March 07, 2005

Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS ReceiverIf you want to get started with GPS navigation and you already own a Bluetooth enabled PDA then the Fortuna clip-on is a good alternative. A bonus is that you will be able to use the GPS device with other Bluetooth enabled devices like smartphones and laptops (notebooks in some countries).

There are many Bluetooth GPS devices on the market but currently only the Fortuna devices supports dual SiRF modes: both the standard low-power SiRF Star IIe/LP chipset and the latest high sensitivity SiRF Xtrac chipset.

SiRF Star IIe/LP mode is good while the unit has view of clear sky. The unit will lock on to fewer satellites and transmit less data resulting in faster scrolling maps and lower battery consumption.

This is great while you have view of clear sky but if you are moving in weaker signal areas such as under heavy leaf cover or between tall buildings older GPS will loose the satellite signal.

With the Fortuna clip-on you can switch to Xtrac high sensitivity mode which can even provide a signal lock while indoors.

I have been using the Xtrac mode exclusively and have found very quick lock-on times and good precision. Since I am using the unit for short trips only, I have never had any problems running out of batteries. Reported battery life is 8 hours in the Star IIe/LP mode.

The major deciding factor whether you will have a great or bad GPS navigation experience is what navigation software you choose. This is another discussion but I am using TomTom 3 and have had only minor problems.

Now it seems that some users have problems connecting their Fortuna clip-on to an iPaq running TomTom navigation software. You need to select the NMEA 0183v2 38400 from the list of selected drivers and choose Bluetooth serial port COM 8 which is the "in" port. Don't forget to place a tick in the little square box on the left hand side of the two settings (driver and com port).

In rare cases the clip-on needs to be resetted and the only way to do so is to remove the batteries for up to 24hrs. This has helped all other users that have had connection problems.

The button to switch between Star IIe/LP and Xtrac modes is tiny and you need a sharp pencil or pin to move it. You can only switch between the modes while the unit is turned of.

Feel free to use the Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS Receiver forum for any questions, discussion or feedback.



Tatabojs Nanoalbum

March 06, 2005

The good news is that you have just stumbled upon a futuristic and gripping concept album 'Nanoalbum' by the group 'Tatabojs'. The bad news is that it is in Czech and you may have a hard time following the fascinating story line.

The story is set in the future and narrated by the robodog HAL9000. He will introduce the listeners to the concepts of nanotechnology, nanogamy and nanopilots. HAL9000 will also talk passionately about his owner iTom who has embraced technology and iTom's sweetheart Elisabeth who is iTom's complete opposite: a technophobic. A schizophrenic professor Dot, his assistant 90-60-90 and the C.V.A.N. (centrum for research and application of nanogamy) complete the cast.

Tatabojs sound is a mix of melodic rock a la U2, a splash of The Cure and a dash of Radiohead. Songs like 'Virtual Duet' and 'To Elisabeth' have become instant hits on radio due to their pop like, upbeat sound. I prefer some of the harder, darker songs like 'The healer' (Lécitel) and 'Ill' (Nemocná).

Nanoalbum is however not about single songs. Instead it is about the change in pace and mood between it's songs and the complete story it tells. A story that can only be described as an utopian novel and from which I get goose bumps while listening to it over and over.

My cousin Rudolf made me aware of this album and it has sparked an interest in me for more local music; be it Czech, Swedish or London underground. A music genre I have neglected just because it's not playing on MTV.



Removing Trillian Basic nag screen

March 02, 2005

Trillian Basic: "It is completely free with no nag screens or built-in ads", it says on the box. Turns out that after prolonged usage, you start getting a nag screen about donating money to the project.

To remove the Trillian nag screen, you have to locate your trillian.ini file and reset the time that you have been using Trillian.

The file is normally located in "C:\Program Files\Trillian\users\default". If you chose to install Trillian in a non-default directory or if you are using multiple profiles, the file will be in a different location. Search for "trillian.ini" to find it.

The value you want to change is "Time=". Open "trillian.ini" with a text editor such as notepad and change the value to something low (the value is in seconds). 1 works like a charm.

Make sure to close Trillian before modifying the ini file and make a back-up just in case you mess something up (ctrl-c, ctrl-v).

The other way to remove the Trillian nag screen is to purchase Trillian Pro.