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PlanetsSunday 29th May 2005
There is something else to mark complete on the list of things to do in a life time.

I've just been out to the middle of nowhere with my friend and his relatively new telescope. Where we managed to find, with no aid of star charts or compasses Jupiter and Saturn.

Really amazing is all I can say. Jupiter was so clear, I could see the stripes of the clouds, and 4 of it's moons, including the shadow of one being cast over the planet. Truely amazing. Later on I managed to find (with minimal assistance) Saturn. Even better, seeing those rings round the planet, stunning.

I didn't get to see any Nebulae, but I am hoping I will be able to another day.

Just need to go and see the MilkyWay now (the joys of being a city lad).

Register your phone.Saturday 21st May 2005
What do you do if you lose your phone, or it gets nicked? You tell the Police.

The smart people will have taken a note of their IMEI numbers etc to help them track it. Simple way of storing this information:

The Mobile Equipment National Database

A site where you can mark down all your details (such as serial numbers and IMEI numbers) for your gadgets and phones. This then gives you a one-stop place for all your information. The Police have access to this database too, so in the event they find something, they can tap in the serial number and see who it belongs too.

Not entirely sure what the purpose of the latter is, as people generally know when they have had something stolen. But still, it provides a nice online place to store all your details (just in case the word file with it all written on your computer is also stolen).

Canon A520Tuesday 3rd May 2005
I have very recently purchased a Canon A520 Compact Digital Camera (so if anybody wants my Kyocera S3L let me know). Here is a quick review.

The reason I bought this camera is because of these few key points:
Small (ish)
4 MegaPixels (2272 x 1704)
Full manual control over exposure/shutter/etc
Takes SecureDigital Cards
Runs off x2 AA batteries
A lot of the features (albeit dumbed down a bit) of a Canon SLR
Price (165 from dabs)

After a few plays with it round Longleat on automatic I have decided it's a very good camera. The picture quality from it is superb for such a small camera. Noise is minimal (providing you have a low ISO, high ISO sucks). There are no weird effects similar to my S3L (looked a bit like a Plasma screen).

The delay in pushing the button and the picture being taken is very good without a flash. Not quite upto SLR standard, but good enough for most uses.

Auto-focusing and all the clever things the camera does are superb. Not a thing to complain about them. In fact, there is nothing I can complain about the camera. I could whinge about the noise in high ISO's, but hey, the quality on low ISO's makes up for it. The battery life is insanely superb, I've managed to fill 128MB card, with lots of deleting and showing of pictures to family and it's still going.

Does anything let this camera down? Yes, I'm afraid it's Canon. There are two minor niggles.

Although I got an English boxed camera from an English company. The manual provided, was German. No problem I thought. I will just download a PDF from the Canon web-site. Nooo, silly me, they don't allow you to download them. You have to buy them off one of their partners. Great!

The good thing about large companies such as Canon is they are international. So a quick visit to the Australian web-site presented me with a free, hi-resolution manual for the camera.

The other down side was the supplied batteries. The camera runs off AA batteries. You can get a day's shooting out of these. The camera has a nice little whole for the charger, but they forget to supply a charger. Not a problem, I shoved the batteries into my standalone charger. After a while I investigated why the charging light hadn't come on. Ah ha, non-rechargable batteries. They supply the camera with a single use set of batteries. Another smart move!?

Anyway, I give the camera 5/5. It's great value for money, and it does everything as well as I expect it to. I give Canon 4/5 for a couple of retarded things. Their excellent engineering and features in the Camera redeem them.

General Election.Monday 2nd May 2005
Is it me, or is the general election a popularity contest these days? All the advertising I have seen on TV, Cinema, Bill-boards, etc. has been slating the leaders of the other parties.

In none of them there is anything about what they are going to do for the good of the Nation and it's people. I won't be surprised if they start coming out with 'So and so is gay, my mate said so'.

Democracy, what a funny idea. There is no real choice, we are happy with our form of government because we believe we have the ability to vote in and out the people we want. In reality they are all a bunch of loonys.

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