Charged Up

The whirlwind of excitement of my Blog continues with the news that I’ve bought two batteries this week.

The first was for my TomTom Satnav (a 3 year old Go 530).  I spend a reasonable amount of time on the road, and I generally rely on my TomTom to get me the last mile to my destination (usually a radio station or a university).  For the last year or so my device has to be permanently powered as it only lasts a few minutes without a power cable, but in the last month it has been totally reset every time I have used it – even having to set the time at the start of each journey.  It’s otherwise fine and a new software update via TomTom home has given it a new lease of life, so I didn’t want to shell out for a replacement.  The TomTom models don’t have a removable battery, however you can buy kits (which include some basic tools) to open it up and prise out the battery which is actually stuck on the PCB with some very strong glue.  With the help of the following YouTube video and £8 of bits from Amazon, I completed this:

The other battery related purchase came after I saw a friend who had been camping.  He needed enough power to keep a smart phone and a tablet working through a rainy long weekend without access to mains power.  He bought a Powerocks Stone 3, a very high capacity (7800mAh) battery pack, which is big enough to charge an iPhone five times.  That would be perfect for a few days at a festival, and can charge two devices simultaneously.  It is however a little heavy and I generally need a little boost to my aging iPhone at the end of a day when travelling.  So I’ve bought a Powerocks MagicStick for £17, which at 2600mAh is still enough to charge an iPhone nearly twice, and is compact enough that I could carry it in a jacket pocket during a busy day. It even comes with short iPhone and microUSB cables too.

IBC 2012

I’ve given a lot of thought as to what I should mention about IBC 2012.  As ever, the truly enormous venue at RAI Amsterdam over 14 halls had everything you might possibly require as a broadcaster.  Television, with its massive budgets, does inevitably get all the best toys.  The highlight for the television industry I think came from the demonstration of viable ultra-high definition television.  Wisely, rather than trying to brand it as super-mega high definition, and struggling to define what we call the next highest resolution, some of the next HD standards are known as 4k and 8k.  8k television runs at a resolution of 7680 × 4320 pixels, or around 16 times that of current HD.  Now you might think that may be excessive on a domestic 32″ or 40″ screen, however standard HD still falls down when shown on big screen.  And when I say big, I mean along the lines of Sony’s latest 84-inch monster, or that in a home cinema.  There was a demonstration of huge Sony 8k screen at IBC with content courtesy of NHK, where it was possible to see detail down to a single hair.  It is beautiful, but perhaps not necessary for day-to-day content, but production designers will have their work cut out to get their sets up to scratch.  (I read that the Eastenders set was a nightmare to get right when BBC One HD launched).  Bandwidth of video also means that networking and storage will also have to be looked at very carefully.

It is interesting the the manufacturers of SLR cameras are seeing the growth of their models used as video cameras.  The highest profile example of this was the final episode of the series House being filmed exclusively using a Canon 5D mark II. Admittedly, that is not exactly a cheap camera, but at less than £1500, is incredible value for a full HD television camera.  A whole mini industry appears to have grown from this, and at IBC I saw a whole range of accessories, Steadicams, and even a converted Segway with Steadicam attached, all suitable for SLR use.  Canon revealed that one range of their latest generation of SLR cameras are actually aimed specifically at videographers, and can generate 4k content.  Whilst these are significantly more expensive, they’re still within the reach of amateur film makers.

In contrast, 3D was all the rage when I last visited IBC two years ago.  During my visit this time, there was very little 3D on show, apart from screen makers showing off examples of the London 2012 opening ceremony.

In the radio world, I saw two exciting developments.  Firstly, Telos revealed their latest Axia hardware with some very small mixers – the iQ, DESQ and RAQ, which have most of the functionality of a larger Axia Element system, but at a much lower cost.  They look to be well built, and should give small analogue mixers a run for their money.  The highlight from Axia though was a mixer that is due to be launched “by NAB next year”, the Axia Fusion.

Axia Fusion

Axia Fusion

The Axia Element is a superb mixer, solidly built, and has powerful routing and control features.  However at first glance some radio presenters dislike the fader layout and the feel of the buttons, saying it looks too simplistic.  The Fusion takes the function of the Element, but gives it a polished professional feel, and I think it will certainly help Axia grow market share in the UK.

The next major thing I saw was the presence of Ravenna on several stands.  Ravenna is aiming to standardise the transport of broadcast audio over IP.  This will allow the sharing of audio between different brands of audio equipment: Imagine a large radio studio setup where Axia, Lawo, Studer mixers and Digigram sound cards can all send and receive audio to each other, without dropping audio outside of the IP world.  Finally, we can choose the best hardware for a specific case, without having to change infrastructure elsewhere.

The last thing to note about my trip to Amsterdam?  Cafe De Klos in Kerkstraat has the best ribs in town.

Updating WordPress on Windows

For the last week, I’ve had a notification on my blog admin page that a new version of WordPress is available.

My original WordPress install was incredibly simple, as is the process of installing additional modules, so I clicked Update Now.

Unpacking the update… Could not copy files. Installation Failed.

Ah. Right.  I run WordPress on a Windows server as I write things in ASP.NET, and so far the Windows/WordPress combination has been a breeze.  I’m sure the power of Google will fix this in a moment.

I found there were plenty of people with similar problems, but I found that as the vast majority of people run WordPress on servers running Linux, the advice to run chmod commands to change file permissions weren’t particularly useful.  There are plenty of guides out there of how to do a manual update, but I felt part of the reasons behind using WordPress as a tool was the ease of use.

One particular blog had a posting of how to fix this in the Windows world, and was linked to by several websites, but alas that page reports 404 not found.  So, I took a chance with the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Success!  So in Windows we need to give temporary write access by the IUSR account to the root of the WordPress site, and also to the wp-content folder.

I use the tool WebsitePanel to configure my site, and thought I’d see what options that gives, rather than using remote desktop onto the server and changing the permissions via Windows.

FileManager in WebsitePanel has a padlock icon next to each folder – clicking on it reveals:

I chose write on both the root of the website and the wp-content folders, but not child objects. Returning to the update page once more and:

Hurrah, we’re up to date.  For security I then removed the two write permissions, at least until the next update comes around.