Sunday, 13 April 2014

Don't Turn it On, Take it Apart (a homage to EEVBlog)

Don’t Turn it On, Take it Apart!

So says Dave L Jones, the man behind what I think is the best channel on YouTube, EEVBlog.

If you haven’t paid EEVBlog (which stands for Electronic Engineering Video Blog) a visit yet, you simply MUST.

Dave is (inter alia) an experienced electronic design engineer turned full time Video blogger who happens to live in Sydney, New South Wales Australia.  

 He’s passionate, entertaining articulate, knowledgeable and opinionated, and above all as “Australian” as they come, and rightly proud of it.

His video blogs cover a wide range of subjects including equipment reviews (Dave seems to have a Test Gear fetish!) “teardowns”, tutorials and rants.

His approach might be regarded as rather brash by some, and his language occasionally becomes slightly “colourful”, but I find his no-nonsense-tell-it-like-he-sees-it approach extremely refreshing, and not agreeing one hundred per cent with everything he says is just part of the appeal.

Introducing a “Fair Dinkum Flying Pig”

As an appetiser may I suggest the following viewing for your maximum entertainment?

EEVBlog #39 – Microchip PICKit 3 Programmer Review

Microchip Response to PICKit 3 Review from EEVBlog #39

EEVBlog #41 – Pigs fly at Microchip

Dave admits in his 500th episode – a 5 hour “live” show, when asked by one of his online chatroom colleagues that this series are amongst his own particular favourites of all the shows he has done.

As the man says : “check it out”!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

After the Storm (s) - "Wind Pruning"?

Like a lot of folk here in the U.K. I've been outside catching up with some property maintenance during what appears to be a welcome break in the long sequence of Atlantic depressions we have been suffering from lately.

Fortunately for me (I do not wish to appear selfish but I can only state the facts, as I see them!) in my part of the world, North West England, we appear to have got off lightly compared to our our countrymen in the Southwestern corner of our island, so my "property maintenance" is basically the cosmetic job of tidying up the detritus left by recent storms using a stiff broom and a manual spring lawn rake.

What has been interesting to me is that whereas I have been used to raking and sweeping up last  year's leaves deposited by the wind, nearly all from neigbour's trees and not my own (such is life!), on this and recent occasions, this "detritus" has actually been in the form of small twigs as much as, if not more than dead leaves.

This has caused me to ponder whether, assuming that the weather eventually returns to something like normal, this
    wind pruning
of the trees will ultimately reap some benefit.

Mother Nature has a habit of being very resilient to disturbances in the normal scheme of thing - the regeneration of woodland following forest fires is perhaps a classic example of this - so I wouldn't be all that surprised to see renewed and vigorous growth when the warmer weather returns in a few weeks' time.

If the weather pattern steadfastly refuses to return to anything like "normal" then all bets are off, of course!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

"Misleading" is the politest term I can think of to describe this . . .

For more years than I care to remember, I have been a user of the old "Norton File Manager" application in its various guises (e.g. it was packaged as part of Norton Navigator some years ago).  Back in the days of DOS I used XTREE a lot, and "NFM" seemed to be the logical progression from that.

Now, I have to admit, NFM's days are numbered as it doesn't work reliably under Windows7 - it keeps on crashing with "Smartheap" errors.  Upon look for an alternative I came across something called "WinNC" which purports to be a "Windows Norton Commander Clone".

There was a "try before you buy" download available so I thought I'd give it a go.

Frankly it's far more flashy and cumbersome than NFM ever was, but it seemed to work reasonably well, and eventually I felt tempted by the popup splash screen you get when you start the application :-

Consequently I decided to have a little look at the purchasing options, as just less than 20 Euros was quite tempting.

Upon following the link what I was presented with was this :-

. . .which got me somewhat annoyed!

Trying an alternative route and looking at the GB Pounds options produced this :-

. . . so I really don't think I'll bother, in fact I think I'll uninstall it and look for something else!

I understand perfectly (thinking of a famous quotation my Mark Twain) that taxes are unavoidable, but that isn't the point here.

Which as a shame really, because at the price quoted in the application splash screen I was sorely tempted.