Archive for March, 2005

Design Council,, launches full beta version

31 March, 2005

Having worked on this for nearly a year now it was a delight to be able to launch the website at the recent Design Council conference in Birmingham, ‘From the inside looking out’.

The site is an innovative online metric – a questionnaire for children to help them rate various aspects of their school environment and for teachers and school managers to be able to use the results to inform their decision making processes. It is beyond anything else a tool to help open the dialogue between children and their schools about a range of issues.

Posted in Ultralab | 2 Comments »

MPEG2 encoders, software MPEG2 encoders, real time hardware MPEG2 encoders

11 March, 2005

It’s never easy, is it.

So many people have asked me recently about what is the best way of encoding footage for DVD that I thought I’d write the minor wisdoms of it here. There are lots of MPEG2 encoders available for computers, and some recent hardware products look like they could be good for some purposes. However, if you are on any kind of budget and need to encode to MPEG2 at a decent quality then you really have only a few options.

On an Apple computer you can use ‘Compressor’, which is decent enough but to my eye produces a washed out look most of the time – a little like a milky film over the top of the original pin-sharp video. Compressor excels in that it is free, can handle most challenges and gives you access to several useful filters and effects. It is based on the QuickTime MPEG component and as such differs little from the quicktime quality (apart from where you can specify more exact settings, etc). Compressor is bundled with Final Cut pro and DVD Studio Pro.

Posted in DVD Authoring | 2 Comments »

LH Cook, Plumber, fitting a shower, tradesmen stories

2 March, 2005

I recently had a new shower fitted in one of my bathrooms (odd house, we have three bathrooms altogether but just two bedrooms!). I was looking for a professional company and one which was recommended was LH Cook, based in Little Hadham, Herts.

Len Cook himself came to do the quote, but his workman for the job was Nick – a very nice bloke and a good plumber too.

During the course of the job we added in a small amount of extra work which made more sense as the job progressed than it did at the time of the quote. Len Cook was clear we would need to pay a bit more than the original quote, and I agreed this was reasonable. The additional work amounted to tiling the bathroom floor and removing an extra piece of timber…

Posted in Tradesmen | 10 Comments »

Dension ICE>link, fitting an iPod into your car, upgrading ICE>link firmware

2 March, 2005

OK – I upgraded!

I had a moment of sheer panic when my ICE>Link stopped working… I think it was because I plugged and unplugged it in too swiftly, causing the device to hang. I upgraded the iPod firmware (kindly supplied by Apple and it started working again after the iPod restarted, but in for a penny in for a pound – I went ahead with the v2.05 firmware for the ‘link’ too… so all back to normal – upgrade worked well.

Why don’t iPods have a power on/off switch? It would have saved a headache on this occasion!

I can report (happily)

Posted in ICE, iPod Accessories | 4 Comments »