Archive for General

Choosing an android tablet, what to look for

Android tablets are proving to be a very popular Christmas gift, trying to make a choice can be confusing and challenging. The following guidelines may be of help when comparing several tablets of the same size.

The following properties need to be considered.

  • Screen size – 7inch and upwards
  • Processor Speed – minimum should be 1GHZ
  • MB of RAM – (This is not storage but memory which will affect how many apps you can run, 1GB of RAM = 1024 MB). Minimum should be 512 MB
  • GB of Storage space – (8GB and up is a good choice)
  • Battery life – this can be tricky to find it is states in milli amp hours (Mah) look for tablets that are 5000 Mah and above
  • Resolution of screen – 800 x 480 and upwards, 1024 screens are lovely but pricey
  • HDMI port – this allows you to plug the screen in to a TV with a HDMI port
  • Reviews – google the name and model number and add the word review to it, look on youtube also for reviews.

Dilbert and Twitter

Great strip on how to use twitter to improve your working day

Reliant Robin Space Shuttle built by Top Gear

A classic clip from topgear and its educational too!!

Converting problematic time coded dvds to mpeg using DVDx

As part of the Upperchurch GAA DVD project I have a number of DVDs whose vob time codes are incorrect. These clips might be 30 mins long but are coded with durations of 16 seconds, 24 seconds etc.

This causes issues for Adobe Premier Pro. VLC media player also seems to have issues converting them aswell.
I have discovered a DVDx which is developed by LabDv and hosted on sourceforge as a GPL project, this app addresses the problem. The input and output setting are comprehensive and little touches such as shutdown when complete are useful for nighttime conversion jobs. The ability to set the size of the output files is very useful as Premier Pro can have problems importing and conforming very large files. I tend to use a file size of 600 MB.
You will need to install the latest Divx drivers as well in order to use this app.

Testdisk – a tool for data recovery for an external usb hard drive

My 120GB Western Digital external USB hard drive is dying a slow death. I have suspected for the past few weeks that there was an issue as it would be detected on a haphazard basis my Windows and Linux.Scandisk and chkdsk had revealed bad sectors and these had been patched so as to not to be used.

Yesterday morning it decided to not cooperate at all and refused to display its contents. I downloaded the Western Digital Diagnostic software for the drive and it confirmed my worse fears when it displayed a status of fail for the hard drive. Extended tests revealed numerous bad sectors.
Some urgent research was carried out a number of apps were downloaded and trialed. Diskgator looked promising as it was mentioned on a website as being free, it worked with the hardware, analysed the file structure and offered to restore the data if I purchased a single app for 69 USD. I decided not to and used stricter search filters to indentify an open source app.
TestDisk by CGSecurity caught my attention, the interface is ms-dos/linux which suited me fine, the app analysed the drive and detected that the boot sector was corrupt but the backup boot sector was fine. I instructed testdisk to copy the backup boot sector to the original which it did. The drive then appeared under windows and I am copying all the files I possibly can from the disk.
I think my trusty western digital drive’s days are numbered and after 2.5 yrs of hard labour it may soon meet its just reward in sector heaven.
Update – Recovery of data is ongoing, have decided to name the task Project Lazerus – bringing a usb external drive back from the dead.

College Laptops review on the Sunday Times

The Sunday times provides a decent review of laptops and their recommendations. Pros and cons are provided as well as sterling prices. Irish residents can do their own price research for the specific models on web sites such as

Surrogates – the movie staring Bruce Willis

Looking forward to seeing this film when it goes on release on Sept 25th

Google car is updating the tele atlas maps for Ireland

I was speaking to a TomTom rep this morning at Stakelums summer promotions, our discussion soon came around to the tele-atlas maps for Ireland which in my own opinion is behind Navteq in their coverage.

He pointed out however that the Google car that has been driving around Tipperary these past few weeks is updating the tele-atlas maps. Google maps uses tele-atlas maps.These updates will be available in 6 months time approx. It is interesting to see that TomTom now offer 12 months of free updates, which is more competitive and realistic.
Coming down the line in 2 yrs time is TomTom live which will use a sim card in the TomTom device to receive live updates. This technology will use analysis of the number of sims/phones attached to a mast. If these phones do not seem to be moving from one mast to another along a stretch of roadway then algorithms will be able to estimate locations and severity of delays.

Channel 4 on LIDL Satellite Dish – Needs to be retuned

It was necessary to retune Channel 4 on my lidl aatellite dish as they have officially launched Channel 4 on FTA. It used to be known as channel 8350 but now it is listed as Channel 4 and has full Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) support.

Select Transponder 10714 and scan for free channels

Transponder Details
10714 Vertical
SR 22000
FEC 5/6

Patrick Alexander Guitar Luthier –

Its not often you walk in to your local pub on a Saturday night and the guy sitting at the bar beside you is a lutheir who has been making guitars for 20 years.

Patrick made his first guitar at 9 years old.  He runs Blackspot
from his workshop in Bristol, UK, to produce guitars that have
the look and quality lost in the mass produced product available today.
We had a fascinating conversation about the timber and techniques used to make guitars.

My mandola was made for me by Mike Regan using recycled georgian mahogany. My guitar was made in Canada by Norman using solid Canadian spruce. The quality of materials will determine the quality of the instrument and Patrick shares this passion. He is a very easy guy to talk to. This is important as the musician must be able to communicate with the luthier the type of instrument they want.

Patrick makes both solid and acoustic models. His guitars have received rave reviews from UK magazines. His acoustic models use a variety of timbers including walnut, spruce and cedar. The different combinations produce different tones and timbre, A cedar top for example produces a warm and sweet tone. You can contact Patrick via