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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Monday, 28 May 2007

Nightshifts and trivial USB pursuits...

A flooded Wardown ParkA whirlwind blog entry for today.. a damp Bank Holiday Monday off work. The wet weekend has, unfortunately, caused the Luton Carnival to be cancelled, which is a shame. Considerning the state of Wardown Park (which is on the floodplain of the River Lea) I'm not really surprised.

I'm currently on a recovery day from my nightshift the night-before-last. I actually got plenty done overnight, and it was a propitous time to move the contents of my desk to the 'specialists enclosure' for my return to work tomorrow.

My decision to delay my sleep until last night was unusual for me, but it meant that I had the full day yesterday to attend to various bits and pieces - the loft now has a fluorescent light (thanks to Freecycle!) but I think I'm paying for it today. The recent record breaking attempt to stay awake for over eleven days makes my thirty-eight hours seem a bit lame, though!

I've been playing with MyChingo today, as a way to leave voice messages on one of the email groups to which I belong. One of my fellow members is having trouble typing at the moment, so it seems like a good way of exchanging messages.

Oddly enough, the Mac Mini doesn't have a microphone input, so I had to improvise with my iriver. I'm quite surprised that it doesn't, what with voice messaging being such a major part of internet communication, but I suppose there are plenty of low-priced usb microphones available that do the job well enough.

I've also been a little distracted by trying to get webcams to work on the Mac. I bought a really cheap Tevion webcam from Aldi (1.3megapixels for about twelve pounds.. a bargain I ended up being unable to resist!) I can't remember if I got it working with the excellent macam open-source Mac OS X webcam driver, but it worked fine with the Logitech and another 'Pixpart' webcam.

However, when I pointed the cameras outside during daytime, the image was completely washed out, almost as if the iris/shutterspeed couldn't be set small/quick enough to compensate for it.

So the idea of monitoring the front of the house with CCTV (in these security conscious days) has had to be shelved, despite having downladed some really rather good image capture and storage products (such as Oculus). The Tevion webcam now lives in the studio, and produces some decent images of quite how untidy it is at the moment! (sample pic to come.. we're going out imminently!)

Posted by james at May 28, 2007 2:33 PM

Comments

Shame about the weather, especially for everyone at the carnival who had no doubt put in so much work.
We had a cheapo genius web cam that worked but when we upgraded to Tiger it stopped though we have jer-jigged it back to mediocrity again.The Intel mac mini has a dual line in/mic socket which wasn't there on our old G4 version.
Didn't the guy doing the 11 days without sleep record mess up in the end. The real record was 10 hrs more than he thought as it's unpublished in the record book to stop nutters...er..other people trying to break it. It was omitted due to health concerns.

Posted by: Emalyse at May 28, 2007 5:18 PM

Hi, I'm glad that you are finding MyChingo to be a useful utility, I am the guy who wrote the application.

Also, your Tevion cam might be a CMOS camera, and those can actually be ruined if pointed at the sun. The other type of camera is CCD, and generally does well in most light conditions.

One of my machines is also a Mac-Mini, and I use a Tascam US122L USB audio computer interface (http://www.newmediacamp.com/index.php?p=8). It works pretty well and supplies phantom power to both of my MXL990 microphones.

Great blog, I'll stop in again to check up on you.

;-)

Posted by: Michael Bailey at June 1, 2007 11:54 AM

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