Thursday, 16 September 2010

Have you a Video Camera?

Having owned a video camera since the early 1980's, yes, one of those very large cameras with an even larger full size VHS "portable" recorder, which needed a flight bag to carry it in. I have moved with the technology through small tapes to a hand-held mini DVD camcorder, which as the format of the moment. But having been so confused with the different types of discs, the different formats to record on with the hassle of transferring to the PC. Seeing a review of the FLIP video camcorder (Flip Ultra 2nd Gen, HD) looked good. After filming some of the Gala this June on the DVD camera, and the hassle of trying to get this shared, I wondered if the Flip was the camera for me. So was I right? Spot on- yes it was, small and compact, simple to operate one botton for record and one button for playback, either direct into a TV via a mini HDMI lead (buy it on ebay, much cheaper) or direct into the Computer using the built in USB connector. Of course for the the best advantage of this was the FLIP software which installs itself from the camera, so easy to use, copy, make movies with sounds etc, string sequences together and auto upload to Youtube if required. So a really great camera. As an advantage, there is a waterproof case available for about £30, it is safe down to about 9 metres. Well we will soon see at Half term when we go to Majorca!!!!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Social Networking

It seems that everyone now who has a computer or a smart phone or an iTouch, is using one of the social networking tools, ie Facebook,MS Messenger, GTalk, Twitter etc. Someone recently mentioned that i was always on line, yes I am in fact, I run all the various logins from my Android Phone. However, it is difficult to manage all the different apps at the same time, so I use 'NIMBUZZ' which is available for all the various media, iPhone/iTouch, Android and PC. It collects all the various logins and my 'friends' and logs me in all at the same time. It also has a status line, which can be linked to a twitter account, so that can be updated as well.       try a download.     An alternative is also available called 'palringo'. which does most of the same logins.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Something for free-great utilities

There are lots of free software available out there, but every now and then you come across one which is is really good, some time ago, I discovered Picasa (now on version 3), one of the best photo organising and simple editing systems. But just recently I have been using 'Dropbox' which is a web based storage system which automatically syncs up to your computers or laptops. Once set up, you can upload files to the storage area via the web, but the most useful aspect is that, a small piece of software can be downloaded so that individual PC's and/or laptops can be auto synced up. That is to say, save a file into 'My Dropbox' directory on your laptop, it saves to the web storage and also is synced up to your main PC immediately. It is very useful in the Thompson household, as we use it to 'drop' docs from the various family laptops to the main PC to access the printer. (Very useful since after my recent re-load of windows, I cannot get the printer sharing to work correctly across the network).  Try it out, it is Free for up to 2Gigs worth of storage, and if you recommend friends they increase your space up to 3G.  You can also set permission so others can access your shared directories if you wish. ... log in via

A couple of other pieces of software to try, this time for encrypting files,  cryptainerLE   and Safehouse, both are supposed to work on a PC and portable data storage however, I could not get Cryptainer to work on my Memory Stick, but otherwise seem to work OK.  Just dont forget the password......Try them out:   &

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow Snow Snow

I suppose it wasn't a surprise when on Tues morning it started to snow....the forecasters got it dead right, (snowing in Leeds starts at 5am)  and there will be 4 inches. So Leeds came to a grinding stop.  However, there was this dilemma, Radio Leeds had not mentioned Abbey Grange in the school closed list, so  do we set of or don't we? Because at every other occasion of snow, Abbey Grange has been one of the first schools to close, usually because the buses can'k get up the hill.  But we 'The Thompson's' managed to struggle to the car and safely got the kid's to the School Bus Stop...and the bus arrived on time.  So the snow came   and came   and came, 4 inches fell in the next 6 hours and guess what, the school closed early and the kids were home by 1.30pm.  Of course they spent the rest of the afternoon in the Garden having snowball fights.

On the news they do say that it is the worst snow since 1978 or so, I think they were right. Although over the last 15 years or so we have had some traffic crippling falls of the white stuff. Call it luck, but it seemed that in that last 15 years, every time we have had a heavy downfall, I have been off work for whatever reasons. I will always remember the day I went to the hospital in 1995, to pick up Melanie and baby Simon James at 1pm. As we walked out of the door of  Jimmy's there was a light flutter, by 5pm, the whole of Leeds was at a standstill.

Mind you we have escaped the drifts for the last few years, so I suppose it was really our turn.