OnePlus One

OnePlus One

No, I didn’t have an invite and got mine from AliExpress: 64GB version in December 2014 cost me $430, that meant $80 over the official price tag. Even with that, I think it was a very good deal.

The phone is being heavily used for a couple of months now and I think I can add my voice to praises the phone received in the media (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).

Upgraded lens kit

For a while I’ve been happy about my all-in-one setup with Sigma 18-250 mega-zoom. But after a year of shooting with that lens, I began to look at a better equipment in terms of optical quality but still not sacrificing universality as possible.

Choosing an OS

There is April – the time of “to upgrade or not to upgrade” question for every Ubuntu user. For sure, the 12.04 “Precise Pangolin” release is going to be LTS (Long-Term Support) so perhaps, the answer in another time would be simple and obvious. But for me, things are much more complex now.

This article is mostly negative but I am rather confused than angry. Yes, I know that it makes no sense to bitch about open-source software: the only adequate response would always be “come in and make it better” and I am 100% agreed with that point. But the problem is much bigger than the bugs or missed features or even than controversial design decisions: the problem is an attitude which is much more difficult, if even possible to fix.

Zoom zoom zoom

After a thousand of shots I made with new Canon EOS 600D and its kit 18-55mm IS lens, I’ve got an itch to extend my focal length limits – specifically, at the longer end. So, I needed a telephoto zoom lens.

Until recently, good long-focus lenses (those huge telescope tubes) were the property of professional photographers and few consumer-oriented models available at the market suffered from average-to-poor image quality. Fortunately, the progress in technologies in last few years changed this situation. Now, it’s not a problem for even an amateur photographer to get an affordable, relatively compact telephoto zoom providing pretty decent performance in a focal range up to 300mm at a reasonable price.

Home IT: Media

One of the important tasks of our home server setup is about media. The server hosts our large and old collections of DVD rips, music and photos that lived on our desktop boxes before. The collections are accessible across the home network with Samba/NFS shares and it works great for devices which can understand it: I mean the computers.

The story would end here if we didn’t want to access the media collections also from TV. This brought me to learn about DLNA technology and to get a DLNA-compliant media player, as well as to install and configure special media server software.

Home IT

A dedicated server machine is what I definitely needed for my home IT infrastructure which has grown with years. Two desktops, a laptop and a home theatre system: they all needed to be connected to each other and to Internet. For long, it was my desktop box playing a role of the server in the home LAN, and it caused a lot of annoyances, of course.

The last year, an opportunity to bring myself to do it right is appeared, thanks to two things: First, I got new Core-i7 box as my  developer workstation, so my old good Pentium-4 came out of work. Second, a large roll door closet has been built in the hallway where I reserved a room for the server stuff.

Kubuntu Hardy

Finally moved my main working machine to Kubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron”. Yeah, late a bit, but it is my everyday working environment so I have to take these upgrades very seriously to not put my work into mess even for a day. Fortunately, no bad things were happened and in a lucky weekend I got Kubuntu 8.04 installed with all software I needed.

Home media network

The holiday season is going on and it’s a time to have all sorts of fun. Watching movies and cartoons is not the last item in our family agenda, so I prepared to that with all power of my homebred IT infrastructure.

I should say I hate disks. They are taking a lot of space, cluttering all around, getting scratched and getting lost sometimes. I am too lazy to stand up and find a CD/DVD on a shelf just to get a movie or a song. I already got all my music collection in the computer as MP3 files and used to grab every new audio CD immediately. I’d like to do the same with DVD movies – rip them from the disks, convert them to something like MPEG4 and provide shared access to the media collection in our home network.

Gutsy doubts

Well, there is Gutsy Gibbon on the streets and every Feisty user perhaps already have asked himself a crucial question – to upgrade or not to upgrade?

3G networks

My house is in the area where the best internet is wireless. My main channel is a satellite broadband, it’s fast enough (up to 4 Mbps) and cheap. In general, I like it. The only problem is that it is one-way downlink – it needs an outgoing channel for requests tunneling and uploads.

So far, it was GPRS. Very slow, very expensive and unstable. It’s not a secret that GPRS internet traffic has lowest priority in GSM networks. So, sometimes it shuts down because of voice traffic overload. I was annoyed and was looking for an alternative.