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Thursday, November 14, 2013

My new Kindle Paperwhite WiFi

As you may know, I already own a KINDLE 4 since 2 years and I'm reading almost all of my books on the Kindle.
For the management of my books I'm using the very good freeware CALIBRE on my Mac.

The pro's for reading on the KINDLE instead of a tablet computer with a backlit display are that I can read black on white in the bright sun, on the beach and wherever I want, but don't have the glare and the reflections I'd have on the like iPad device.

The con of reading on the Kindle 4 is that I would need a light o read in the dark or darker ambiance like on a plane, since the KINDLE display is not glowing in the dark and acts more or less like a sheet of paper with all ups and downs.

The new KINDLE Paperwhite now combines the best of the 2 different technologies. It has the e-ink display, that provides a very sharp black on white reading experience plus a backlit on-display film that reflects the light onto the display like it would do if I had a reading light that illuminates the display. This whole ensemble has a touch and feel like backlit display without the downside of itching eyes due to the blinding light of a backlit display.
In a nutshell, I can read in the dark, in the sun and wherever I want with a battery life of 2-4 weeks depending on the reading hours I have.

It's amazing what the KINDLE Paperwhite ca do!

I would love to see the Paperwhite in a non-touch version that allows to read with the reader in my left hand and to turn the pages on the left side of the kindle. Unfortunately it is not possible to inverse the page turning for left handed use on the software side of the Kindle OS.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Runtastic App for iOS

Runtastic is a fitness oriented software for iOS devices.

It monitors your sports activities and is also linked to the runtastic webpage where all of these activities can be logged and listed.

Runtastic can cooperate with facebook, twitter, google+ and further social media in order to post your achievements to your wall or just tweet them to the universe.

The app can be paired with a bluetooth-heratrate-monitor in the pro-version that logs your heartbeats and gives you feedback on your workout and the energy-consumption.
Furthermore the track and its distance are logged via GPS and you can see it on a map while and after the workout.

To achieve the best feedback it is necesscary to set the app not only to your personal data like age, weight, height, sex etc. but also to set it to the sports you are logging, so the energy consumption is calculated correctly.

There are lots of sports to choose from: Running, cycling, mountain biking, race biking, nordic walking, inline skating, hiking, walking, horse riding, sailing, surfing, kite surfing, wakeboarding, kajaking, handbiking, cross skating, skiing, snowboarding, skitouring, cross country skiing, golfing, paragliding, motobiking, american football, baseball, crossfit, dancing, ice hockey, skateboarding, zumba, gymnastics, rughby, standup paddling and "other sports".

It's kind of ridiculous, that exotic sports like standup paddling is available, but rowing is not available.
B.t.w. its is available on the Android version, but not on iOS.

In addition the app does not allow to choose from any indoor sport, or indoor versions of sports, like indoor cycling or running on a threadmill. Shure, you can choose "running" instead, but you would have the GPS engaged for the whole exercise, which unnessescarily drains the battery of your device and shows funny tracks on the map.

Every sport listed shows specific energy-consumption that is calculated with your personal factors involved. That's why choosing the correct sports is so important.

You can also race against friends you are linked with, race against yourself if you run the same tracks again, get motivational messages from your friends, listen to your powersong if needed and lots of other functions.

Plus:
Good app with lots of possibilities and fields ofy application

Minus:
Different endurance sports are missing in the iOS version. Seems easy to add them, but the development staff is not very responsive to ideas and requests of users.
The app is continiously asking for rating it on the appstore, even if you already rated it. That's an absolute no-go for me. That happend to users while a marathon race and eventually killed the log of the marathon.

Alternatives:
The polar "beat" app is an alternative to the runtastic app, but it doesn't allow manual entry of exercises.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Looking for a sturdy, but lightweight tripod

In the past month my interest in photography grew again. I must admit, that I renewed my camera and lens equipment and started  to become a photographer again.
Unfortunately this wasn't the case in the past and I more or less took only point&shoot pictures.

Along with the re-activation of my camera gear came the interest in available light and night shooting.

I aways owned a very sturdy MANFROTTO X055 tripod, that weighs about 2,8 kg (including the ball head) and this led to the fact that it was staying home most of the time.

So I started reading about tripods again, compared a lot of different models and tried to find out the most lightweight and sturdy one that can hold my NIKON D800 + f2,8 Lens for night shots.

The results were't really promising, but eventually I came to the following shortlist:

Target was:
Weight </= 1,5kg ; Folded size </= 40cm; should hold >/=10kg

So the first result was, that it must be made of carbon-fiber i.o. to achieve the weight

Shortlist with Pro's&Con's



Pro's: Lightweight, compact, portable, price
Con's: Very few shops to get a hands on impression, probably not sturdy enough


  • SIRUI T-1204X


Pro's: Lightweight, compact, portable, price
Con's: Very few shops to get a hands on impression, probably not sturdy enough
           A little less compact than the 1205






Pro's: Lightweight, compact, portable, sturdy
Con's: Availability&Price

So this wasn't successful.

But last weekend there was a house trade-fair held by my favorite photo-dealer (BESIER-OEHLING Frankfurt) held in Wiesbaden that i visited. My target was to compare all available tripods that met my requirements.

In a nutshell: It took me 3,5hrs to have a hands-on experience on all of the available tripods and the result was, that I'd either buy a BENRO or a TILTALL tripod.
It turned out, that there a some rebranded SIRUI's and BENRO's sold and that the main elements like tube-diameters, heights, length and weight wre pretty much comparable.
The weight of the SIRUI's is always declared lower, since they always weigh them with the short center-collumn mounted.

Eventually I ended up with the TILTALL C254 tripod.(Most probably a rebranded SIRUI T1204X tripod)

It's weight is 1,1Kg, it holds up to 10kg, folds to 36cm and is a very sturdy, well-thought piece of equipment. The legs can be folded at  3 positions up to 180°, so the ball-head is embedded by the legs while traveling. You can convert the tripod into a monopod if you like, and the center-collumn can be mounted inversely if you a into macro photography.
The price was 290€, which left some space to buy a 330g SIRUI K-10X ballhead.
The whole combo now weighs 1,5kg.

First test-results are excellent.

The decision was mostly taken upon my hands-on experience. It could also have been the SIRUI T-1204X, but I couldn't get a grip to it.