Archive for November 11th, 2008

Operating System stories

If you ever visit Seattle, make sure you visit the SciFi Museum and their airplane/space museum close to Boeing’s factory. So, here are a few interesting tidbits from our vacation in Seattle:

– A lot of people with iPhones in the Seattle airport. iPhone here, iPhone there. But wait! Here’s a person with just a RaZR. Oh, what is he doing? Ah, he’s taking his iPod out of his pocket!

– Virgin America, the airliner we flew with, runs a touchscreen, flash-based system in their per-seat screens. It’s based on a Red Hat Linux 2004 release, it has 256 MB RAM, and it uses a flash-based filesystem. They also use Google Maps for their geo-tracking. Looked impressive and worked well. They even offered video podcasts of Diggnation for viewing. Only thing missing was internet access.

– While in the museum of music in Seattle, we used an interactive key-learning system that tried to teach you how to play a “hook”. I sucked at it, and started playing random keys, and voila! A blue screen of death! It apparently ran Windows.

The same museum ran an automated version of the open source audio editor Audacity too (in the same hall as the interactive demo one).

Review: Kodak M883, sent us the Kodak M883 for a review. It also happened that this weekend we spent it in the beautiful Seattle, visiting museums and friends. What a better way to test these items but by taking them with me to see how they perform and survive the trip!

* Kodak EasyShare M883 8MP 3x Optical/5x Digital Zoom HD Camera
The M883 is a low cost/range 8 MP digicam from Kodak, currently selling below $100. It has a flash, 3x optical zoom, digital image stabilization, video recording capability at VGA resolution and 30fps, a microphone, and a nice, spacious 3″ screen. The camera is physically pretty thin, and stylish.Exactly because the camera is a cheaper one, it has fewer buttons than the $200/$250 range Kodak digicams, but this actually works to its advantage. Switching between video, auto and scene mode is very organic, and the joystick carries through actions like “flash on/off”, focusing, and screen information. Through the main menu you can choose between focusing options, a choice of 4 white balance presets, SDHC formatting, image and video resolution. The main problems with the product is extreme purple fringing, a very mushy look at the upper right side of the image, and complete inability to do macro in any way that’s useful. Adding to that, it takes up to 4-5 seconds to save a JPEG image, which is a rather slow performance. Nevertheless, the “you get what you pay for” doctrine applies here, and the M883 is better than most cameras in that price class. But don’t expect miracles.

FlickR set with Kodak M883 from Seattle, with descriptions.

YouTube video, watch in better quality here.