Long time since the last post, so here is a pile of stuff to make up for it :)
Well folks, I was only actually able to last a couple of months with the iPod mini. Now, I am the proud owner of a shiny black 2Gb iPod Nano :) But I'm not quite as avaricious as one lacking ipoddy goodness may believe; I had the nano awarded to me as a prize for the best paper (on day one) of an internal ICT conference at the lab. Can't complain (though the director seems to have some trouble with my name.. Bunty Gosh??), I never dreamed that I'd end up with a nano before I finished my PhD :)
The only thing it lacks is a sleeve; these are a bit hard to get hold of at the moment, so I'm gingerly carrying around the little bugger so I don't crack the screen. The emphasis here is on little; the nano is absolutely tiny, really not much bigger than the shuffle, very light and absolutely easy to lose.
Mandriva 2006 (warning: explicit geekiness follows)
I got over waiting for the downloads to become freely available and I bought the x86 and x64 versions of Mandriva 2006. It was a big jump from the hacked-up Mandrake 10.1 beta I was running before, especially on my laptop. Whilst I'll always be a command-line freak, KDE 3.4 has proven to be an absolute gem. I'm getting quite used to using folders again, and using the various kioslaves for mounting remote filesystems (notably fish:// for scp) is an absolute joy.
I know it's been around for a while, but USB automounting/unmounting is another thing I'm very pleased with. 4th generation ipods simply mount and unmount without any insane mucking about needed - you just plug it in, and off it goes. Amarok seems to get better with every version; I'm quite happily using it to organise the ton of meta-information that comes with my music collection.
Hardware compatibility has also been quite good; once the system was configured, most hardware worked straight out of the box (though I still have to try out the new laptop-compatible ATI IGP drivers). My only gripe was gcc-4, and a minor one at that - it's so bleeding edge, a lot of our old legacy 3rd-party apps (notably wxgtk-2.4) simply keel over and break under the strain, especially at the linking stage. A quick install of gcc-3.3.6 fixed up that problem for some apps, but it'll be a rocky road upgrading to gcc-4 compatibility in the future.
hugin and panotools
One of the many excellent apps that came bundled with mandriva 2006 was hugin, which I knew nothing of until a recent review of mandriva pointed out its existence. Using panotools, it stitches a series of photographs that make up a panorama into a full panoramic image. There is a lot to say about it, so I won't go into detail about it today (maybe I'll even post up a tutorial in the near future), but the results have been superb. There's nothing quite like generating a seamless image 12-thousand pixels across :)
A couple of examples of some panoramas that I made are below, and you'll need java to view them (they open in new windows). I have used the excellent PTViewer java class to display the images; just pan with your mouse, and use the +/- keys to zoom in and out.
my street 181105 pano 0
my street 181105 pano 1
concord park 191105 pano 0
concord park 191105 pano 1
More to come soon (hopefully with some added extra HDRI goodness) :)