Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

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X-Mini Speakers
Whilst at Heathrow I picked up some X-Mini Capsule Speakers. These are very small mono speakers that plug in to your mp3 player (aka phone) and run of a a small rechargeable internal battery. The volume and bass they generate is remarkable. Getting very close to the point of not needing a laptop - with my 500 albums on a 32Gb card in the phone and X-Mini speaker it makes a good portable sound system for the hotel. The phone obviously does all the comms and a bluetooth keyboard isn't too bad. Laptop still needed for hitting comms hard.....

posted on: Sat, 25 Feb 2012 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

PDF to Kindle....
Nice catch from Chris Bullett for converting PDFs to the Kindle native format.... the Kindle does an OK-ish job of rendering PDFs but there are problems. Anyway, over to Chris: Thought this might be of interest – PDF to ePUB - it’s free (for a limited time), downloadable software which converts PDFs to Kindle format, making them considerably easier to navigate on a Kindle device – tried and thoroughly recommended (though doesn’t work so well on PDFs with multiple columns per page).

posted on: Tue, 21 Feb 2012 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

First orbiting photo - from John Glen
Great post over at the NASA Earth Observatory on the photo by John Glen, the first human to orbit the Earth. There is something mesmerising about this photo... yes we had had images returned by TIROS and the military CORONA programme, but this was taken by the first orbiting human and there is something personal about it.

posted on: Tue, 21 Feb 2012 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

What's in an APN?
APN, or Access Point Name, allows a data connection for your mobile phone or more specifically (and according to Wikipedia): "It is a configurable network identifier used by a mobile device when connecting to a GSM carrier....

posted on: Fri, 17 Feb 2012 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Travel with SAS......
As a follow-up to that last post, we are pretty well served for flights to Stockholm with Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted all flying out....

posted on: Wed, 15 Feb 2012 | path: /meetings | permanent link to this entry

Swedish PhD Defence
Just got back from a PhD defence at the Stockholm University in Sweden. Never having assessed a PhD outside the UK this was interesting as a process, as well as seeing some new research....

posted on: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 | path: /meetings | permanent link to this entry

Remote sensing: double news day....
Well its double news day today.... the European Space Agency successfully launched its new vehicle, Vega, from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana today. This is a significant development as it is currently a hole in ESAs launch capabilities that they have been using Russian ICBMs for. Anyway, apparently there is a 40% success rate on the launch of new vehicles, so its good to see success here (and I bet the 8 missions launched for free were pretty happy as well). ...and on the same day the US has reduced funds to NASA for planetary reseasrch meaning that the plug is pulled on future joint Martian missions. Greater focus on human exploration and space technology.

posted on: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Sending MMS messages
I have had a hit 'n miss affair with sending MMS messages.... sometimes they work sometimes they don't.... or they just take forever. I've more more less given up using them (not least because there are other free alternatives), however they are occasionally useful. The penny finally dropped (or at least I think so) as to why I'd had so many problems..... MMS require a data (3G) connection and as I tend to leave my data connection off, they never send until I am back online. Real newbie mistake.....

posted on: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Things you probably shouldn't do in a microwave.....
Need I say more....

posted on: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Remote sensing for monitoring EU farmland
Nice article over at the BBC today commenting on the use of remote sensing to monitor farmland across the EU. Those taking my remote sensing classes will know Churn Farm - painfully well. We do a similar classification exercise using NERC ATM data. its an interesting exercise and shows a good application for an operational task. The article also highlights the impact of false positives (so accuracy assessment is important) and the increasing use of drones for smaller scale work.

posted on: Wed, 08 Feb 2012 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

NPP Hemisphere
Great complete Earth hemisphere over at NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day, explaining how it was made and the strips of sunglint visible in each strip of imagery.

posted on: Sat, 04 Feb 2012 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry