LED Bulb Breakthrough

I’m pretty into solid state technology, ever since I studied it at university. I’ve been disappointed however by the poor quality of LED replacements for halogen bulbs. I rather optimistically purchased a set of “warm” bulbs from Homebase a few years ago which turned out to be virtually blue. Not wanting to spend £71/year on 350W of halogen lighting in the kitchen alone, I set out to research the latest advances in LED downlighters. Here are three bulbs – a halogen, the LED bulb from Homebase, and the latest Phillips bulb. See if you can tell which is which.

The one on the left is the halogen, the middle is from Homebase and the one on the right is the latest from Phillips. The key number to look out for is the colour temperature. This is not quoted for most LED bulbs, so don’t buy them. The Phillips bulb is 2,700K, the same as halogen, and it does give a nice warm light. The only problem is the price, however even at £18 each, they should pay for themselves in about two years.

First impressions of Android

I’ve had my new HTC Wildfire S for a few days now. So how does Android compare to iOS (I’ve got an iPad and iPod Touch)?

The Phone

The phone is definitely at the “entry level” end of the market, but the camera is usable, the screen sometimes correctly detects where I’ve poked my finger and is quite bright. The battery life is dire, it’s brand new and hardly makes it through the day – I would guess this is a combination of Android’s architecture and the phone itself, but who really knows. The build quality isn’t great – I’ve already got a tiny chip out of the casing from just leaving it in my bag, and there’s barely a mark on my two year old iPod Touch.

The winning quality is really the price. On Talk Mobile, I get 1Gb of data 200 mins, 200 txts for 12 quid: stunning. That’s just £288 which can’t be much more than the phone cost to produce.


I’m a big fan of iOS, but I’m not a real fanboy of any platform – I use Windows, OS-X and Linux, and like them all. In the premiership, I want all the teams to win – at least until Saints get back into the league. I’ve voted for most of the main political parties and will probably complete a full house next time around. So where Android lacks the fancy animations of iOS and doesn’t feel as squidgey, it takes a more holistic approach. Thus, when it finds two contacts with the same name, it asks you to associate them. You click a link in one app, and it takes you seamlessly to another. You log into Google from a completely new app, and it doesn’t ask for your password. You end up in some strange app, press the back button and you’re back in the previous app. This integration seems to go pretty deep, hinting at fathoms of API coverage. I really want to get into programming Android; I suspect the learning curve will be significant.

So in summary, another good OS to choose from.

Call me Android

I just bought my first mobile! I’ve had a couple of other pay-as-you-go mobiles for emergencies, but they rarely get switched on. This is a proper smartphone, with a real contract and no need to learn predictive texting (I bet successfully on never having to learn that horrible technology). This one has the benefit of being only £12 a month, and because Android can be used as a mobile wi-fi hotspot, I can use it with my iPad. I love it when you can kill several winged animals with a single projectile. Now, on with the hacking.

The black dot virus

Computer security is a bit like climate change. Everyone knows it’s a problem, but it doesn’t affect them. I just did an online training course today about what not to do with your computer. One question was so dumbfoundingly out-of-date that it is worth repeating. It asked what I should do if a black dot appeared on my screen, a clear indication that I had received a “computer virus”. Now, I don’t know if most people realise this, but if your computer gets infected with malware nowadays, it is most likely to financially motivated, and not at all in the malware author’s interest to notify you via a “black dot”. My company should have been warning me about social network based attacks, such as this one.

Also, Apple has convinced many mac users that they are more secure than Windows users. This is not entirely accurate. Now, back in the ’90s just after I installed Windows XP, I got a worm within 5 seconds. I knew exactly what I’d done wrong – I’d plugged the network cable into the modem directly and not into the router – had I been more careful and plugged it into the router, I’d have had firewall protection, which Windows XP lacked. Guess what, OS X ships with a very powerful firewall, but it’s disabled by default. One interesting titbit from the article:

The UNIX design came from a time when security was less of an issue and not taken as seriously as it did, and so does the job adequately. Windows NT (and later OSes) were actually designed with security in mind and this shows. Windows was not such a target for malware because of its poor security design; it is because the security functionality was never used.

I don’t mind which platform I use, they’re all pretty insecure. The weakest link is the human being.

Script to restore files to old directory

I thought it would be a great idea to copy all my RAW files into a single directory. Then I changed my mind and thought it would be better if my RAW and JPG files were all together. Instead of trying to work out where the files came from manually, I made a quick script. Continue reading Script to restore files to old directory