Grace Makes The News

Late last year we all went to see Hi 5 in concert at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre. Grace absolutely loved it, and danced down in the mosh pit for most of the concert. Sarah was a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing, and spent most of the concert asleep with her head in Megan’s lap!

Grace’s enthusiastic dancing even won her a place on WIN TV News that night – watch the video (3.6 MB). Watch for Grace’s dance moves after Charli talks. You may need to download Quicktime 7 (it’s free) to watch the video.

January 5th, 2006

iPod Video TV Playback Problem Solved

For a while now, I’ve been unable to play video from my iPod video through to one of my TVs. Of course, the TV it didn’t work with was the good stereo one in the loungeroom, not the smaller crappy mono TV in the family room.

I finally found some info on the net that helped me fix this. It turns out that the iPod puts video, left audio and right audio onto different leads on an AV cable than what most video cameras use. I was connecting it up using red-to-red, yellow-to-yellow and white-to-white. Seemed sensible to me, but it’s completely wrong.

The technical reason Apple didn’t follow the traditional pinouts used by video cameras was so that you could plug a 3.5″ earphone jack into the same plug as the video jack, and still get stereo sound. If you plug earphones into a video camera’s 3.5″ jack, you’ll get sound in one ear and noise (the video signal) in the other. So it’s an understandable decision, but annoying when you’re not aware of it.

The correct connection setup is:

  • the red lead goes into the TV’s yellow jack
  • the yellow lead goes into the TV’s white jack
  • the white lead goes into the TV’s red jack

If you can’t remember the colour combinations, do it this way:

  • try different leads in different RCA jacks until you get a picture on the TV (none of the lead/jack colours should match, so there are only 6 combinations to try)
  • now plug the two audio leads in (there’s only one combination left where the colours don’t match)

Beauty, now it works!

So, why did it originally work on one of my TVs and not the other? It turns out I couldn’t see the jack colours behind that TV, so I just inserted cables until I got a video picture, and then plugged one of the sound cables into the mono audio jack. I’ve no idea why I didn’t think to try different combinations on the other TV!

4 comments January 4th, 2006

Two Great Christmas Presents

Here are two great presents I’d love to find under the tree this Christmas:

Wouldn’t that combination be wonderful? Hours of fun!

December 23rd, 2005

Site Redesign

This site is now running under WordPress. More content to come soon!

December 21st, 2005

New Web Site: OneStopUnder.com

My newest site, OneStopUnder, is now online. It’s for higher-end photography enthusiasts – the type of people who own (or long to own) digital SLRs, rangefinders, medium format gear, etc.

This site won’t list every new digicam on the market (there are hundreds released every year!). It will link to releases and reviews of new DSLRs, film SLRs, rangefinders, software and other equipment of interest to keen amateurs and working professionals.

OneStopUnder is skewed towards photographers who use digital in some aspect of their workflow (whether it’s capture, scanning, image manipulation, or printing), but it will have plenty of useful info for people who use traditional techniques.

Let me know what you think!

May 15th, 2005

Welcome Hannah Lisa-Marie!

Hannah Lisa-Marie Collins was born today at 5:40pm, in Figtree Private Hospital. She weighed 3.590 kg (7 lb 14.5 oz) and measured 50.5 cm (19.9 in) – our biggest yet, despite being two weeks early!

Megan and Hannah are both doing very well.

Hannah's birth. Megan, Grace, Sarah and Hannah. Megan bathing Hannah.

1 comment April 7th, 2005

Mobile Phone Location

Here’s an interesting site tracking the growth of location-based mobile phone services – mobloc8. It tracks news articles, web sites, etc with a breakdown of posts by category. Very handy if you’re trying to research a specific topic or company. It’s quite new, but looks like one to watch.

March 23rd, 2005

New Designs For My Sites

I’ve redesigned some of my sites using CSS. This new design is cleaner and simpler than the old one, and I think it looks more professional. Please let me know what you think!

Oh yeah, and check out my mate Peter’s new program, InternetOwl. It’s a free Windows application that monitors web pages for you, and lets you know when something changes. Great for keeping track of friends’ sites, waiting for product price drops, etc. And it’s just perfect for monitoring the download or announcement page for software you use, so you’ll know immediately when a patch, security fix or new version comes out!

December 20th, 2004

Bubblegum eBay

I had an interesting experience via eBay this week.

I’ve been selling novelty chewing gum on eBay. A guy from Russia contacted me to ask how much shipping would cost him if he won the auction. No problem. After the auction, he asked if he could send me extra money to buy some extra Australian gum to ship with the auction item. Except he didn’t want the gum, just the empty packets. It sounded weird to me, but it turns out he’s a gum collector.

So he sent me USD$30 via Western Union. I thought it was going to turn out to be a weird eBay scam, but I couldn’t see how collecting the money could cause me any trouble. So I took his reference number in to the post office, and sure enough, they gave me AUD$40.

On the way home from work, I stopped in at my local newsagent. I grabbed one packet of every type of gum they sell. “Having a party?” asked the newsagent. I hadn’t thought how strange this would look.

“No, they’re for a Russian gum collector,” I replied. I didn’t realise how bizarre that would sound until the words left my mouth. I could have just said, “Yes”. He looked at me, not sure if I was making fun of him or just a weirdo.

I explained how I’d met this Russian guy through the internet, and he collected gum, and wanted some Australian gum packets. The newsagent seemed reassured that I was just a harmless weirdo.

As I sat carefully unwrapping all the packets of gum, I realised what a great opportunity I had before me. When I was a kid, I would have killed to have one of every flavour of gum in the shop. Now I could live out that fantasy, and taste-test the lot.

So I sat unwrapping gum and tasting all the different flavours. Hubba Bubba Awesome Apple was by far the worst. Wrigley’s Big Red was the best. It took a while to unwrap it all, and I spent a few more hours on the computer, surfing the net and chewing gum. It’s a sinful joy to be able to spit out your gum as soon as the flavour has gone, and grab a fresh piece from the pile.

As I started packing the wrappers for postage, I read the back of one. I was interested to find out whether it was made in Australia or somewhere else. Under the list of ingredients was the text, “Warning: excessive consumption may have a laxative effect”.

Damn. Shouldn’t that be in large letters on the front of the packet?

2 comments November 17th, 2004

Programming Blog

In addition to my new photography blog, I’ve started a programming blog.

Why the two new blogs? Well, I read a lot of online articles about both photography (my main pasttime) and programming (my profession). I wanted to keep track of interesting articles I come across, so I can read them again one day or look them up and send them to other people in the future. Blogger integrates really easily into web browsers, so when you visit a page you’d like to add to your blog, you just click on a button and type your comments. Then you click Publish, and your blog is updated. I don’t need any special software, so I can do it from whatever computer I’m currently using (Windows or Mac). Easy!

October 31st, 2004

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